Transactionary Publics and Crypto-Economic Geographies in Puerto Rico

Authors: Jillian Crandall*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Cyberinfrastructure, Gender
Keywords: cryptocurrency, digital feminist geographies, transactional capacity, urbanization, spatial contestation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper empirically addresses the new socio-technical relationships around cryptocurrency as they are forming on the archipelago of Puerto Rico, particularly in San Juan and Rincón, and how these relationships affect processes of economization, urbanization, and spatial contestation. Digital feminist geographies are centered in comparing male-dominated technopower with largely unrecognized methods of exchange, addressing new transactionary publics called into being around cryptocurrency. How is gendered transactional capacity of publics changing (for lifelong Puerto Ricans, members of the diaspora, new resident crypto-entrepreneurs) whom does it exclude, and how does it affect new and existing markets (particularly real-estate)? The blockchain has even created a market out of geography itself (FOAM’s “Proof-of-Location”). Online digital tools map locations of Bitcoin ATMs, and indicate which restaurants, AirBnBs, hotels, business will accept cryptocurrency for their products and services; but this does not replace insider knowledge and word-of-mouth. The approach to digital geographies is threefold, questioning: one – how online mapping tools and forums impact and enable cryptocurrency transactions in physical space; two – how cryptocurrency brings into being new transactionary publics; three – how reformed transactional capacity reshapes identities and impacts already existing geographies of inequality and crisis; and together how these influence the production of grafted digital/physical space.

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