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Decolonization in a Digital Age: Cryptocurrencies and Indigenous Self-Determination in Canada

  • Christopher Alcantara (a1) and Caroline Dick (a2)

Indigenous scholars and leaders have long been interested in reducing the role of the Canadian state in their political, economic, and social lives. This paper explores the extent to which digital currencies, such as Bitcoin or MazaCoin, might be used to facilitate Indigenous self-determination, political autonomy, and economic prosperity. Based on our review of the literature, we argue that cryptocurrencies demonstrate some potential for advancing these goals but that there are a number of potential roadblocks as well. Future research should investigate how Indigenous communities might use digital currencies and other related technologies to further their political, economic, and social goals.


Les chercheurs et les leaders autochtones cherchent depuis longtemps à réduire le rôle de l’État canadien dans la vie politique, économique et sociale des Autochtones. Cet article examine le rôle et l’importance des devises numériques, comme Bitcoin ou MazaCoin, dans l’atteinte, par les Autochtones, de l’auto-détermination, de l’autonomie politique et de la prospérité économique. D’après notre analyse documentaire, nous postulons que les crypto-monnaies peuvent contribuer à l’atteinte de ces objectifs, mais qu’elles posent également leur lot de problèmes. De futures recherches pourraient examiner les moyens que les groupes autochtones auraient pour exploiter les devises numériques et d’autres technologies connexes dans l’atteinte de leurs objectifs politiques, économiques, et sociaux.

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C Alcantara . 2007. Reduce transaction costs? Yes. Strengthen property rights? Maybe. The First Nations Land Management Act and economic development on Canadian Indian reserves. Public Choice 132 (3–4): 421432.

G. S Coulthard . 2014. Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

E Helleiner . 1998. National currencies and national identities. American Behavioral Scientist 41 (10): 14091436.

E Helleiner . 2000. Think globally, transact locally: Green political economy and the local currency movement. Global Society 14 (1): 3551.

F MacDonald . 2011. Indigenous peoples and neoliberal “privatization” in Canada: Opportunities, cautions, and constraints. Canadian Journal of Political Science 44 (2): 257273.

M. McCrossan , and K. Ladner . 2016. Eliminating Indigenous jurisdictions: Federalism, the supreme court of Canada, and territorial rationalities of power. Canadian Journal of Political Science 49 (3): 411431.

G Seyfang . 2001. Money that makes a change: Community currencies, north and south. Gender and Development 9 (1): 6069.

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Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société
  • ISSN: 0829-3201
  • EISSN: 1911-0227
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-law-and-society-la-revue-canadienne-droit-et-societe
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