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Playlist "Bornhack 2021"

Peerhood and the Privatisation of Money

Sunniva Sandbukt

In this talk, I introduce the digital ride-hailing apps in Indonesia, Gojek and Grab, and show how they evolved from transport to a broader platform of financial services, including the private issue of ‘e-money’ for their integrated payment systems GoPay and OVO. I examine how they advocate for the expansion of cashless so-called peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems, and use algorithmic labour management to mobilise their driver fleets to facilitate the use of digital money by customers of the app. I argue that promoting the notion of peerhood by the companies both obfuscates how their apps configure users to participate in new hierarchical exchange relationships, as well as minimizes the companies’ role as intermediary, and how the transactional constellation of P2P camouflages the financial interests that these companies have in generating platform activity. Through this work, I show that the exchange of digital money through these ride-hailing apps constitutes far more than the financial transaction and contains much more than can be summarized in an elegant acronym.