The Byzantine Generals Problem [[bib_235]]

Featuring works by
Anna Ridler, Ben Grosser, Constant Dullaart, DIS, FaceOrFactory, Kyle McDonald, LaTurbo Avedon, Moxie Marlinspike, Nascent, Rhea Myers, Sarah Friend, Sarah Meyohas, Simon Denny, Guile Twardowski, Cosmographia, Sterling Crispin, The Miha Artnak

Date :
Monday, 4 July 2022


An alternative to capitalism, or capitalism at its worst? An emancipatory network economy where everyone has a stake, or a dystopian panopticon where only the best man wins? An opportunity for democracy, or a techno-libertarian wet dream? A new creative economy or a pyramid scheme? A planet saver or a planet burner? Rarely has the debate around a technology been so polarized as with blockchains, web3 and NFTs. We are facing a problem of consensus, trapped within a Byzantine Generals Problem. 

Some generals are besieging Byzantium. In order to avoid catastrophic failure, they must agree on a concerted strategy, but some of them are unreliable. Used to illustrate how consensus is reached within distributed systems, this allegory can be applied to blockchains and to societies as well. Yet, in a peer-to-peer debate with no central authority, consensus is hard to reach for a reason; and the disagreeing general, the unreliable actor, may be our best resource against the common sense of the crypto-yuppies.

The Byzantine Generals Problem is an online exhibition focused on artworks which, while not avoiding to engage with blockchains and crypto culture, do it in a critically constructive way: questioning dominant narratives, raising problems, and sometimes proposing alternative solutions.