rachel o’dwyer

rachel o dwyer


intro’d to Rachel (i think i actually heard her first at.. platform coop..? – yes – http://platformcoop.net/participants/rachel-o-dwyer) while continuing to dig into – whether or not blockchain could replace server farms.

first google got me to Scott Rosenberg.. second google/dive got me to Rachel.. and this piece:


Blockchain innovations that manage networks, servers or natural resources really do radicalise infrastructure. We’re no longer speaking about monolithic resources with prohibitive barriers to entry, the quintessential server farm housed in some distant industrial estate. Instead, we can imagine infrastructure as something immaterial and dispersed, or managed through flexible and transient forms of ownership. Where powerful servers, channels and processing capacities seem like the primary chokepoint of open networks, the blockchain is a powerful antidote. As Buterin argues in a recent interview:

We would build a decentralised Internet network where all of us would access documents and content..

without going through a server.

It means that you will need zero infrastructure to develop and distribute applications.

without going through a server.. – Vitalik Buterin


from openhere 2014:

Rachel starts at 33 min

sharing isn’t a return to the commons.. shift.. beyond.. to ie: p2p production, commons

the commons fix: Massimo de Angelis

neoliberal plan b: George Caffentzis

neoliberal solutionism: Suzie Cagle

experiences becoming central..

tragedy of the commons – 1960 – commons as inefficient.. but that isn’t so true today.. ostrom, benkler, report by world bank 1992

rachel botsman – what’s mine is y\ours…

sharing no longer exclusively ideology of left.. but mainstay of new forms of capital..

kevin kelly – the new socialism…

ie: sharing in mobile networks… traditionally walled gardens… few companies controlled radio waves..hard to access if not powerful… might share software but not infrastructure……wifi – is exception – free for us to use.. like a spectrum commons…

limitations to wifi… small in scale.. multiple mesh networks

tv white space – spectrum freed up in shift from analog to digital tv… google are big proponents for shared spectrum

4 propositions about sharing economy:

1\ sharing econ encloses positive externalities and shares negative externalities.. wifi is externality.. pos: nature, river, … neg: pollution, debt – wifi really important resource…  if wifi a pos externality.. this loading is producing neg externality

2\ the sharing econ is highly exclusive

3\ the sharing econ is the new rent – in post crisis.. not about profit but about positioning self

4\ sharing isn’t absence of private property or a redistribution of wealth/resources, but a reorganization of property rights where access takes precedence over exclusion..

or could we make some of these.. irrelevant..?


find/follow Rachel:

link twitter

Curator of & Editor of Money, spectrum, blockchain, network infrastructures, P2P


Openhere is a 3-day international festival and conference where online practices such as sharing, peer-production and open source meet real world material economies. The program brings together researchers, artists, engineers and activists to critically engage alternative economic models and digital currencies, open source hardware and ecology, and new forms of peer production and sharing happening at the intersection of digital and real world spaces.

on p2p foundation site


“Rachel O’Dwyer is a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer in the School of Computer Science in Trinity College Dublin. She is the leader of the Dublin Art and Technology Association (www.data.ie) and the initiator and lead curator of Openhere, a festival and conference on the digital commons http://www.openhere.data.ie. She writes about digital media, political economy of communications, and the commons. Her research areas include mobile communications and radio spectrum, open networks and alternative currencies. She is a regular contributor to Neural magazine http://www.neural.it. and the founding editor in chief of the open access peer-reviewed journal Interference: A Journal of Audio Culture http://www.interferencejournal.com

there article i first found on Rachel writing about blockchain/servers.. was on the commons transition site.. more on that site of her:



perhaps ..radical econ ish ness..  a nother way  .. for (blank)’s sake


mar 2016

Say Blockchain in its purest form is democracy implies a very limited idea of democracy @Rachelodwyer #procomunsbcn pic.twitter.com/uWKMtU2pGo

unless it helps us get at our limiting parts of democracy, ie: by redefining decision making.. disengaging from consensus ness.. et al



What Kind of Subjectivity Does Ethereum and the Blockchain Support ? blog.p2pfoundation.net/kind-subjectiv… pic.twitter.com/bst9yGHqcF

proof-of-work is not a new form of trust, but the abdication of trust altogether as social confidence in favour of an algorithmic regulation. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether I believe in my fellow peers just so long as I believe in the technical efficiency of the blockchain protocol.


it also proceeds from a perspective that already presumes a neoliberal subject and an economic mode of governance in the face of social and/or political problems. ‘How do we manage and incentivise individual competitive economic agents?’ In doing so, it not only codes for that subject, we might argue that it also reproduces that subject.”


via Michel fb share:

via Rachel O’Dwyer (from august 2017):

” I’m interested in the blockchain (or blockchain-based technologies) as one tool that, in a very pragmatic way, could assist with cooperative activities—helping us to share resources, to arbitrate, adjudicate, disambiguate, and make collective decisions. Some fledgling examples are La’Zooz, an alternative ridesharing app; Swarm, a fundraising app; and proposals for the use of distributed ledgers to manage land ownership or critical infrastructures like water and energy. Many of these activities are difficult outside of local communities or in the absence of some trusted intermediary. However, I also think that much of the current rhetoric around the blockchain hints at problems with the techno-utopian ideologies that surround digital activism, and points to the assumptions these projects fall into time and again. It’s worth addressing these here.”


This distributed database can be used for applications other than monetary transactions. With the rise of what some are calling “blockchain 2.0,” the accounting technology underpinning Bitcoin is now taking on non-monetary applications as diverse as electronic voting, file tracking, property title management, and the organization of worker cooperatives.

to me.. these are the same as monetary.. they’re B (&b).. and so .. graeber f&b same law

I’m interested in the blockchain (or blockchain-based technologies) as one tool that, in a very pragmatic way, could assist with cooperative activities

let’s try this ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

Fostering and scaling cooperation is *really difficult. This is why we have **institutions, norms, laws, and markets. We might not like them, but these mechanisms allow us to cooperate with others even when we don’t know and ***trust them.

*it doesn’t have to be..  **we wouldn’t need them (institutions/norms/law/markets) .. if we would let go of thinking we have to control everything.. esp.. who we ***trust.. and rather.. assume good.. (also assuming we get back to an undisturbed ecosystem.. where people are themselves)

as it could be..

They help us to make decisions and to divvy up tasks and to reach consensus. When we take these things away—when we break them down—it can be very difficult to cooperate.

yeah.. i think assuming we need to ie: make group decisions, divvy tasks, have tasks even, and reach consensus.. are a big part of the disturbance of our ecosystem.. assuming we need them, to me, is a sign that we aren’t healthy/us

Indeed, this is one of the big problems with alternative forms of organization outside of the state and the market—those that are not structured by typical modes of governance such as rules, norms, or pricing. These kinds of structureless collaboration generally only work at very local kin-communal scales where everybody already knows and trusts everyone else.

1\ again i think it’s the assumptions of how we need to organize (make group decisions, divvy, task, consensus) that are getting in the way  and  2\ i think today we have the means for local kin communal scale at the global scale..  (and perhaps that’s what a tech like bc can help us with.. if we let go.. and focus on data that matters.. data that is legit.. ie:self-talk as data)

It doesn’t stand in for all the slow and messy bureaucracy and debate and human processes that go into building cooperation, and it never will.

good.. because all the slow and messy b and debate.. aren’t what’s needed for coop.. what’s needed is a mech that will first.. listen to every person.. everyday..

There’s zero evidence that features such as decentralization or structurelessness pose any kind of threat to capitalism

only because we’ve never truly tried either.. can’t be part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake