Bill Maurer is Dean of the School of Social Sciences; Professor of Anthropology, Law and Criminology, Law and Society; and the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of
Disruptions in Money
After surveying recent innovations in payment technologies, from Square to bitcoin, this chapter poses the question, how does our understanding of money shift if we focus on the act of payment instead of the means of exchange? Exchange is about drawing equivalences. Payment is about the infrastructures, relationships, behaviors, and meanings associated with money and the act of exchange. The chapter outlines the payments industry, that collection of businesses and networks that facilitate the act of payment today. And it asks, in what ways is money a moral technology?