Paper criticism: ‘The Birth of Crypto Place on the Blockchain’

This article was first published on Dr. Craig Wright and we have republished it with permission from the author.

Zhao, B., & Huang, X. (2020). Encrypted Monument: The Birth of Crypto Place on the Blockchain. Geoforum, 116, 149-152.

Zhao and Huang (2020) are junior professors at the Department of Geography at the University of Washington and at the School of Geography at Nanjing Normal University, China. As with previous studies of distributed networks, including the Internet (Lindsay, 2006), many changes in global demographic interactions can be attributed to network effects (Chen et al., 2019). In addition, Zhao conducts research into human geography at the cutting edge of technology, looking at concepts such as location spoofing. Other articles by the same author include integrating contact tracing systems with COVID-19 migration (Yu et al., 2022) and working on labor relations and automation and how they will transform capital allocation (Zhao, 2023) .

On the other hand, Huang has published works on rural migration and urban demography (Xie & Huang, 2022) and concepts such as social inclusion and assimilation of migrants (Zhou et al., 2022). The authors each investigated demographic migration, the influence of pandemics on social movement, and the concepts of technology as it applies to the changing nature of social interaction worldwide. Zhao and Huang (2020, p. 149) use the term “cryptoplace” to describe the integration of encrypted communication with payment technologies developed through a blockchain.

The paper explores the concepts of decentralized locations, immutable entries in a blockchain, and the development of a sense of space in an increasingly virtual world. The paper presents the commemoration of a whistleblower related to the Covid pandemic written into the Ethereum blockchain with the change-seeking political society, noting that “a strong theoretical route in anarchism as a technologist-utopian move to resist or even rebel against sovereign powers of not only authoritarian states, but of modern states in general and by extension of state-based multigovernmental bodies such as the IMF” (Zhao & Huang, 2020, p. 149) offers the opportunity to develop a virtualized location outside government oversight.

Zhao and Huang (2020, p. 151) explore this as a legitimate place consisting of “three fundamental dimensions: the location, locales and sense of place”, creating a concept of a virtualized crypto space based on blockchain- initiated smart contracts. The article presents an interesting range of concepts and summarizes the changing nature of society as it becomes more integrated into digital systems and electronic communications. But like many other writers documenting the growth of cyberspace (Lessig, 2000), the concept of geography relegated to a flat world (Friedman, 2007) captured the nature of human interactions and the requirement that all humans occupy a fixed geographic area. have, radically wrong. place.

Analyzing the isolated case of abstract information stored on a blockchain, the authors failed to understand the nature of revolutionary comments or how the inclusion of comments such as graffiti is an enduring response that has encapsulated political discourse for thousands of years . (Morstein-Marx, 2012). Unfortunately, as with many other authors, the researchers misrepresented the underlying basis of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. The performance is one of cypherpunk crypto-anarchist ideals. Yet, as the author of the Bitcoin system (Wright, 2008), it is possible to note that Bitcoin and blockchain technology as a whole failed to meet the promoted agenda of crypto-anarchy (May, 1994).

Most importantly, the decentralized location disregards the idea of ​​governments restricting access. While information can be stored immutably and time-stamped on a blockchain, the Bitcoin White Paper also included a section on data pruning, where information can be “thrown to save disk space” (Wright, 2008, p. 4). This aspect of Bitcoin and blockchain technology seems to be overlooked. In addition, nodes are not required to serve transactions in a manner analogous to how information on web servers can be geographically restricted. So recording information does not require dissemination at a later date.

While the paper is interesting, the authors have hypothesized that all individuals can access files across time and space based on a premise of immutability promoted without analysis. The other aspect of the document that fails to properly analyze the technology is a false statement that Bitcoin and related systems are encrypted. Although Bitcoin uses digital signatures and hash algorithms, no encryption is required. Here, the authors considered information from media reports and assumed it to be correct. While there are interesting aspects to the article, the shortcomings in describing the nature of the system undermine the work.

Chen, L., Shaheer, N., Yi, J., & Li, S. (2019). The international penetration of ibusiness companies: network effects, outsider liabilities and country influence. Journal of International Business Administration, 50(2), 172-192.
Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat: a brief history of the twenty-first century. Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Limited.
Lessig, L. (2000). Code is law. Harvard magazine, 12000.
Lindsay, J. (2006). Techniques in human geography. Routledge.
May, T. C. (1994). Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities. Timothy C. May.
Morstein-Marx, R. (2012). Political Graffiti in the Late Roman Republic: Hidden Transcriptions and Common Knowledge. Politische Kommunikation Und Öffentliche Meinung in Der Antiken Welt, 191217.
Wright, C. S. (2008). Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic money system. SSRN Electronic Journal.
Xie, S., and Huang, X. (2022). Fluid sense of place: Host city perceptions that influence the urban attachment of rural and urban migrants in China. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 88, 106–118. Scopus.
Yu, Y., Brady, D., & Zhao, B. (2022). Digital Geographies of the Bug: A Case Study of China’s Contact Tracing Systems in the COVID-19. Geoforum, 137, 94–104.
Zhao, B. (2023). Emplacement of the tendency towards automation. Dialogues in Human Geography204382062311514.
Zhao, B., & Huang, X. (2020). Encrypted Monument: The Birth of Crypto Place on the Blockchain. Geoforum, 116, 149-152.
Zhou, C., Zhan, M., An, X., & Huang, X. (2022). Social Inclusion with Migrants in Guangzhou City and Spatial Differentiation. Sustainability (Switzerland), 14(23). Scopus.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learning more about Bitcoin – as originally conceived by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.

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