The Lonely Old Bitcoin Miner is a playful experiment in critical making. He is a pitiful amalgam of stolen Disney intellectual property and low-end computer hardware. He is powered by dreams of distributed peer-to-peer networks: first, of striking it rich through Bitcoin, and now, of contributing to the blockchain, a permanent infrastructure of collective memory. Are both dreams equally hopeless? The Lonely Old Bitcoin Miner invites us to ask: what does it really mean to be a peer?
Lana Swartz and Kevin Driscoll
Lana Swartz and Kevin Driscoll are postdoctoral researchers at Microsoft Research New England. In 2016, they will join the faculty of the University of Virginia as assistant professors of Media Studies. Most of Lana’s research is about money as a vector of relations, memory, and culture. Kevin’s research concerns the popular and political cultures of networked personal computing with special attention to internet mythology. He is currently writing a book tracing the pre-history of social media to the dial-up bulletin board systems of the 1980s and 1990s.