Congratulations to Associate Director of the MS SDM, Koray Caliskan, on the selection of his research on cryptocurrencies as a finalist for the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021 in Social Sciences and Humanities. The winners will be announced in the end July. We wish him luck!

“I would like to thank my fellow social scientist colleagues first for nominating and then for selecting my research on cryptocurrencies, their communities and markets as a finalist for the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021 in Social Sciences and Humanities. I congratulate all other shortlisted colleagues for their very exciting research projects:

https://falling-walls.com/breakthroughyear/finalists-2021/

#ScienceReunitesUs

My research sheds new light on the materiality of cryptocurrencies, their communities, blockchains and markets. Locating a historically new money form, the Data Money, the project shows that cryptocurrencies draw on monetizing the right to send data privately on the public accounting spaces of blockchains. Concurrently employing an ethnographical study of one data money community and a macro sociological and longitudinal view of all cryptocurrencies and their global markets, my research analyzes the making of an emergent global socio-economic phenomenon and its power dynamics.

Drawing on ethnographical fieldwork, computational text analysis of a million pages of documents, a big data analysis of all Twitter interaction of half a million handles, and a sociological survey of a global cryptocurrency community, my research presents three core findings. 1) Focusing on the materiality of data money, my scholarship shows how cryptocurrencies are made by monetizing the right to send data privately on a public space, built by blockchains. 2) Contrary to expectations, the research showed that Data Monies are not replacing fiat currencies; they contribute to dollarization and euroization of trading. Furthermore, centralized exchanges are now replacing decentralized blockchains on the ground, creating a need to rethink policy measures surrounding crypto economies. 3) Drawing on a detailed study of a global cryptocurrency community, the project makes visible how these seemingly decentralized financial universes are dominated by sociologically identifiable centers of power in terms of gender, geographical location, development considerations and education levels.” – Koray Caliskan