What the history of linux says about the future of cryptocurrencies


Since Bitcoin’s meteoric rise, hundreds of cryptocurrencies that people now publicly trade have emerged. As such, the question naturally arises: How have cryptocurrencies evolved over time? Drawing on the theory of polycentric information commons and cryptocurrencies’ historical similarities with another popular information commons (namely, Linux), we make predictions regarding what cryptocurrencies may look like in the future. Specifically, we focus on four important historical similarities: 1) support from online hacker communities, 2) pursuit of freedom, 3) criticism about features and use, and 4) proliferation of forks. We then predict that: 1) cryptocurrencies will become more pragmatic rather than ideological, 2) cryptocurrencies will become more diverse in terms of not only the underlying technology but also the intended audience, and 3) the core technology behind cryptocurrencies, called blockchain, will be successfully used beyond cryptocurrencies.



Carvalho, A., Sambhara, C., & Young, P. (2020). What the history of linux says about the future of cryptocurrencies. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 46, 18–29. https://doi.org/10.17705/1CAIS.04602


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