Blockchain and Value Systems in the Sharing Economy: The Illustrative Case of Backfeed
- • The role of value is discussed in relation to economic systems.
- • Commons-based modalities of value creation are discussed in the information economy.
- • A framework is developed illustrating a new system of value for social sharing.
- • A case study envisions a model of blockchain-based decentralised cooperation.
- • A blockchain-enabled commons-oriented approach in the sharing economy is proposed.
This article explores the potential of blockchain technology in enabling a new system of value that will better support the dynamics of social sharing. Our study begins with a discussion of the evolution of value perceptions in the history of economic thought. Starting with a view on value as a coordination mechanism that defines meaningful action within a certain context, we associate the price system with the establishment of capitalism and the industrial economy. We then discuss its relevance to the information economy, exhibited as the techno-economic context of the sharing economy, and identify new modalities of value creation that better reflect the social relations of sharing. Through the illustrative case of Backfeed, a new system of value is envisioned, comprising three layers: (a) production of value; (b) record of value; and (c) actualisation of value. In this framework, we discuss the solutions featured by Backfeed and describe a conceptual economic model of blockchain-based decentralised cooperation. We conclude with a tentative scenario for blockchain technology that can enable the creation of commons-oriented ecosystems in a sharing economy.