Blockchain is as ever evolving and changing topic. Get caught up to speed by reading articles written by our team expanding on the uses of blockchain in various industries as well as the financial implications crypto currencies have on a digital economy. 

The Nature of Bitcoin: Can It Be Money, an Asset, or Neither?

Grant Henry, Director of Internal Operations for the KU Blockchain Institute, addressed the topic “Could Bitcoin Become the Next Form of Money”? In this article, Grant gives insight into the nature of money and what key characteristics something must have to be qualified as money. 

*Note: This is not investment advice. Any reference to an investment’s past or potential performance is not, and should not be construed as, a recommendation or as a guarantee of any specific outcome or profit.

KU Blockchain Institute and Spencer Museum of Art Present Blockchain as an Art Medium

Co-hosted by KUBI and the Spencer Art Museum, we present the evolution of blockchain through thousands of years. In tangent with our virtual event, the Spencer Art Museum provided an exhibit on some cultural predecessors and human thinking that inform our conceptions of blockchain technology. Joey Orr, the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Research, director of the integrated Arts and Research Initiative at KU speaks on ledgers through history. Tune in below for Joey’s podcast with Ripple, a leader in the blockchain industry and founders of the University Blockchain Research (UBRI), to drive into how art can be used as a medium of blockchain.

“Beginning with the ancient cuneiform tablets, the most important thing to me was that we understand those tablets as a technology emerging from human cultural practices and understandings. Ledgers pre-existed blockchains by over four thousand years, so what kind of human thinking makes blockchain possible…rather than always asking only what the technology will do to/for us.” -Joey Orr

What does blockchain mean, and what does it have to do with art and culture? This dossier exhibit is the first step on a journey to explore blockchain technology, the practices that produce it, and the cultures it gives rise to. Often described as a decentralized ledger, it is a digital record of transactions, difficult or impossible to hack.

The ledger is an old technology, seen here in ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablets (2334-2154 BCE) and embedded in cultural contexts from Japan to England. These technologies can be transformed under different historical conditions and also shape new cultural perspectives. Born of human design, they sustain the range of values that generate them.

Saul Chernick’s Panagea print explores how technology and culture shape one another, picturing the morphing of recent technologies into icons that both differ from and formally continue older ones. Other works offer narrative meditations on chains of connectivity. Still others explore how art works themselves are authenticated, even if they exist only as concepts. As a culturally-embedded technology, blockchain intersects with many ideas explored in the Museum’s collections.

This IARI inquiry, modestly launched here, will culminate in programming and exhibition in the 2022-2023 academic year in collaboration with artists Simon Denny and Stephanie Dinkins. For questions, queries, and information: [email protected].