Through netnography and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Milan (Italy), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Arbúcies (Spain), this case study followed the global cooperative FairCoop and a number of its self-organized local nodes. Faircoop functions on the basis of general assemblies driven by consensus or large majorities. It is committed to the principles of integral revolution, horizontal peer-to-peer collaboration, and hacker ethics, and it thus values the liberating potential of computers, free access to information, and privacy protection. FairCoop is especially active in the financial realm, promoting its own cryptocurrency, Faircoin, and an alternative banking service, Bank of the Commons.
The role played by such digital artefacts in enacting an alternative economy illustrates the place of fintech in political prefiguration. And even though FairCoop organizes strongly online, the observation of its local nodes allowed for reflection on the role of physical settings and material infrastructure in the inculcation of militant practices consonant with specific discourses (see Faustino 2022, Lopes 2022).
Image: An assembly at MACAO (Milan, Italy) celebrating the first year of the Bank of the Commons and the official launch of its cooperative (2018).
Source: Bank of the Commons/MACAO
Faustino, S., 2022. Selected tales from decentralized finance. PhD Dissertation in Economic and Organizational Sociology. Lisbon: University of Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG-ULISBOA).
Lopes, D. S., 2022. The common places of alternative finance: assemblages, stoppages, and the political mobilisation of space. Journal of Cultural Economy, 15 (1), 103–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/17530350.2021.1974071.