LANA SWARTZ: Histories and Politics of Payment, Public and Private

CTRL Alt Currency Panel

Where: Paccar Theatre

When: 15:00 – 17:00

In the last few years, payment infrastructure has become an object of interest to Silicon Valley, governments, and activists. Venture capitalists dream of funding the disruptive app that will capture transactional data in real place and time. Putin is working to fight sanctions by developing a National Russian Payment System. Groups with a range of commitments– anarchists, libertarians, radical capitalists– are interested in cryptographic currency systems like Bitcoin. But there is a longer history to the politics of payment. This presentation will examine the history of payment systems, public and private. It will begin with the birth of the modern payment industry– competition between the United States Postal Service and the private expresses for movement of value and information across the American West — and conclude with the advent of PayPal in the 1990s as an overtly anti-state project, a new private express for the “electronic frontier”.