Primavera de Filippi: Blockchain Technology as Distributed Governance Tool

Primavera de Filippi: Blockchain Technology as Distributed Governance Tool

By Anissa Jousset

“The modern way in which artists are collaborating and producing is actually going against the traditional conception of copyright.”

Primavera De Filippi is a researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. She is faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is investigating the concept of “governance-by-design” as it relates to online distributed architectures. Most of her research focuses on the legal challenges raised, and faced by emergent decentralized technologies —such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain-based applications —and how these technologies could be used to design new governance models capable of supporting large-scale decentralized collaboration and more participatory decision-making.

De Filippi was the second speaker during the panel on Blockchain: revolution or business as usual? During her talk Blockchain: Technology as a Distributed Governance Tool she presented her most recent research, inspired by the work of art Planetoid (2015) by the French collective Okhaos. Plantoid is a mechanical sculpture that grows according to bitcoin donations which then allows it to reproduce according to its own de-centralized resources. The Plantoid is a material realization of the properties of blockchain and portrays the self-sufficient existence of decentralized autonomous agent.

Beyond being a combination of aesthetics and computer technology, Plantoid represents an alternative model for the art world, in which cryptrocurrencies and decentralized contracts such as ethereum can produce and distribute autonomous artworks. The Plantoid, beyond its aesthetics represents a possible new economic system for the artworld that would be open to decentralized, rather than a hierarchical organization.

The Plantoid indicates how cryptrocurrencies and decentralized autonomous agents can potentially disrupt economies such as the fine art market. The “mechanical looking plant” attracts humans in order to attract bitcoin donations, which in turn allow it to reproduce its own being, making it the first autonomous digital artwork, distributer and dealer.