The Collective Mint: Exploring the Production and Trade of Thai Amulets vis-a-vis Tokenisation and Blockchain Technology

共同鑄造: 探索泰國護身符的生產和貿易與記號化和區塊鏈技術的關係

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date25 May 2018

Abstract

This research participates in the construction of theory towards currency innovation, through engagement with Nigel Dodd’s exhortation to “rethink money”. (Dodd 2014) Two cases are considered in which value tokens are produced and circulated in a decentralised way, Thai amulets and cryptocurrencies, furthering understanding of how money can be created collectively, without state or corporate mediation. Such experiences of collective monies production are called here the collective mint. The improbable collision of these two cases helps better understand their common underlying structures, and thus this encounter creates a space where yet other forms can be thought of. To study Thai amulets and cryptocurrencies in a level field, the analysis takes place at the ontological level. To this end the method of Ontological Participation is proposed. Fieldwork study of Thai amulets through this method thus leads to formulate the concept of mindterialism, the ontological condition where noesis (i.e., the mental realm) exhibits properties that the modern subject considers exclusive to physical matter. Mindterialism appears, then, as the ontological condition in Thai-Buddhist culture within which the process of minting the amulets takes place. An abstract model of the collective mint is thus proposed, consisting of two modules: the token production and token verification modules. Furthermore, it is observed that these modules are ontologically independent, forming complementary ontological pairs to meet the conflicting needs of value token production and circulation.