Supporting ideation and collaborative design with location-based smart contracts


Design and HCI researchers are increasingly working with complex digital infrastructures, such as cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers and smart contracts. These technologies will have a profound impact on digital systems and their audiences. However, given their emergent nature and technical complexity, involving non-specialists in the design of applications that employ these technologies is challenging. In this paper, we discuss these challenges and present GeoCoin, a location-based platform for embodied learning and speculative ideating with smart contracts. In collaborative workshops with GeoCoin, participants engaged with location-based smart contracts, using the platform to explore digital `debit’ and `credit’ zones in the city. These exercises led to the design of diverse distributed-ledger applications, for time-limited financial unions, participatory budgeting, and humanitarian aid. These results contribute to the HCI community by demonstrating how an experiential prototype can support understanding of the complexities behind new digital infrastructures and facilitate participant engagement in ideation and design processes.
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