Encrypted monument: The birth of crypto place on the blockchain

Bo Zhao and Xu Huang (2020). Encrypted monument: The birth of crypto place on the blockchain, Geoforum 116:149-52.

In this paper, we coin the term “crypto place” to describe an emerging type of virtual place on the blockchain. Using an encrypted monument that was built to memorialize Dr. Wenliang Li, one of the whistleblowers of China’s coronavirus outbreak, we extensively investigate three definitive dimensions of crypto place in terms of decentralized location, immutable locales and transaction-based sense of place. We then reflect upon the complicated social implications of blockchain technology much beyond purely serving as an alternative cryptocurrency, and further examine how place information is stored, disseminated, and incentivized on blockchain. Through this paper, we investigate the relevance of blockchain to geography studies and discuss how it may enrich the concept of place in today’s data-intensive and decentralized world

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