Mercator Journalist in Residence

Stefan Mey

Mercator-Journalist in Residence, November 2023

Stefan Mey is a freelance IT-Journalist». He studied sociology and journalism in his home town of Halle as well as at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Potsdam. In his writing, he discusses major players such as Alphabet, Meta or Microsoft – but also looks at the non-commercial “counter-world” of projects such as Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Mastodon or Signal.

He writes for various online and print media and gives lectures and workshops for journalists. His first non-fiction book took a closer look at how the darknet operates (Darknet – Waffen, Drogen, Whistleblower. Wie die digitale Welt funktioniert», ( C.H.Beck, 2021 (3rd edition)), his second book gives an overview of the variety of non-commercial digital projects that act as a counterweight to Big Tech. (Der Kampf um das Internet. Wie Wikipedia, Mastodon und Co. die Tech-Giganten herausfordern», C.H.Beck 2023).

Project: Governance Models of Leading Cryptocurrencies

During his time at ZEVEDI, he discusses the governance models of the leading cryptocurrencies. The market capitalizations of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are in the multi-billion range. However, it is hardly known “who” is behind the cryptocurrencies, most of which are organized as open-source projects. Who is able to make the important technical decisions which, after all, can have serious economic implications? Does an individual, a small self-recruited board, or a democratically organized collective make the decisions? Often, companies as well as foundations or pseudo-foundations play a role in the ecosystem of a cryptocurrency. As benchmarks serve other large open source projects which likewise evolved together with and side by side with certain communities, organizations and companies.

The Residency – Input and Effects

■ Article in the AufRuhr Magazine: Alle Macht der Community? Was Bitcoin & Co. mit Wikipedia gemeinsam haben», 11 January 2024 (in German)

Further information on the programme and application procedure can be found on the German language website».