Just for fun, I made some more tag clouds out of writings about different cryptocurrencies. These writings capture aspects of the alternative cultural narratives supported by this generic technology. Earlier I did this exercise for the “introduction” to Bitcoin and Dogecoin.
This week, I have the same word clouds generated by tagzedo. (I’m not suggesting these are significant themselves, but I want to put somewhere so I can find them later.)
Here are some new clouds.
First, the Ur document for cryptocurrencies.
#1. This is the original Bitcoin paper, Satoshi Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. 2009. http://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Very technical as might be expected. Interesting to see the words “Honest” and “trusted”–this is a key part of the technical story, of course.
On top of this dry technical base, many juicy cultural stories can be and already have been built.
Here are some clouds from stories built around cryptocurrencies.
Setting aside the template elements (such as “CNBC”), we can see that this story is clearly about Money.
This is a publication for the community of users and enthusiasts, so the emphasis is not technical.
Like the VMW magazine, this is aimed at the community of users.
Clearly about “Government” as much as Money (“Krona”), in a a very nationalistic context. The article also prominently features large denomination bank notes, symbolizing the inflation overseen by the central bank.
OK, these are scarcely comparable documents, each has a different purpose and design.
Nevertheless, we can see interesting things.
The Bitcoin document is presented as a technical specification, so it has a very constrained rhetorical range. Indeed, some of the most interesting aspects of Nakamoto (2009) is what it doesn’t talk about (the end-to-end technical picture, relationship to existing currencies, regulatory issues).
The CNBC piece is a bit of Wall Street style punditry, telling a story about how to be clever and make boatloads of money (without working very hard). Nothing like flaming the sainted figure of Warren Buffet to get attention to yourself, and claim “cred” as a “bold thinker”. This article also lauds “The rugged beauty of the bitcoin system”, a phrase that will live forever.
The Dogecoin publication talks about “community”, “people”, and even “love”(!). Not apparent in the words, the magazine is heavily illustrated (lot’s of images of dogs). I am not aware of any other cryptocurrency that has inspired such a fan-zine, let alone one with such high production values. Wow! Such narrative!
Mazacoin talks about “community”, too, but even more about “Nation”, as well as “resource” and even “children”(!). Again, the web site has imagery, in this case, a (presumably) Lakota man, and (presumably) Lakota cultural symbols. There may be an “airdrop” of some sort in the future (see below).
Finally, the Auroracoin page is about “Nation” and “Government”. For example, the term “politicians” is found, along with “collapse” and “devaluation”. (It would be interesting to compare the Icelandic and English versions of the text. I speculate that the English has a much more Anglo-American “Libertarian” tone than the Icelandic wording, simply because of the idioms of the languages. But I have no Icelandic, so that is pure speculation.)
A central point on the page is the “Airdrop”, which is the cryptocurrency practice of distributing a new currency widely to boot up the system. In this case, Auroracoin proposed to gift every citizen of Iceland with 31.8 AC. This has not gone as well as it might.