First Advisor

Mrinalini Tankha

Term of Graduation

Spring 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Anthropology






Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Tokenomics, web3



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 53 pages)


The emergence of blockchain technology created an entire industry of innovative new digital assets--or tokens--and diverse new fields of expertise founded on ideological aspirations of a new World Wide Web that reimagines digital value transfer through decentralization and disintermediation. Experimentation in the so-called "Web3" industry produces rich new fields of ethnographic study revealing the experiences of diverse individuals navigating novel technological capabilities which give way to new avenues of identity formation, community building, and ecosystem creation. These exciting new endeavors come with difficult challenges threatening the realization of ambitious visions for digital futures. Ethnographic research conducted through discourse analysis, participant observation, and formal and informal interviewing identified three key challenges stemming from Web3 builder experiences creating ecosystems through token-economic design: the prevalence of scams impedes productive development and mainstream perception, tokenomics--the design and study of token-based economies forming the much of the Web3 industry--is highly complex and under-developed as a field lacking sufficient expertise to meet demand, and regulatory uncertainty prohibitively raises costs and risk for builders. As the industry continues to grow more social science research and interest is needed to shed light on human experiences with these novel technologies.


In Copyright. URI:

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier