Help us at Future Culture to make use of exiting tech platforms for #intelligentactivism. We’re working on a few cryptocurrency projects that can empower people to contribute to activism causes. Get in touch, let us know your skillset and if you have any ideas, and lets talk about how we can collaborate! #shiftalgorithmsshiftculture
Project Sustained is a model company for a circular economy. We transform stained clothing & other waste stream textiles using natural dyes, mending, embroidery, and other upcycling techniques in our Brooklyn laboratory. We offer pre-stamped mailers for people to send us their items, and we also sell transformed secondhand pieces.
This year we grew natural dye plants indigo, black hollyhock, and black eyed susans in our Brooklyn community garden. We also work with rust (thank you streets of Brooklyn), tea, and fermented organic indigo.
Project Sustained is part of our nonprofit Future Culture where we focus on intelligent activism. All proceeds are reinvested to fund the creation of textile resource banks. Resource Bank: a system for individuals and companies to add or search available resources, negotiate exchanges, and build reputation. They can add their time & skills to work on projects, machinery, space, or programs. People can also search the resource bank to find collaborators, nearby equipment, or laboratory access.
A resource bank is an application of digital ledger technology that networks together individuals and resources for a decentralized and community owned sharing economy. We intend to build search algorithms that prioritize people instead of profit. We intend to build a reputation-based currency system that prioritizes human health and happiness, a complement to the existing monetary system.
This system is a cooperative model for the creation of added value in the economy 2.0. We are interested in partnering with other circular economy companies and eventually developing the system with communities. For example Radix Media is a worker-owned printing cooperative in Brooklyn that helped us with our tags.
We welcome your ideas, suggestions, and possible contributions. We have a slack for discussion of intelligent activism projects if you have time, expertise, or skills to contribute to their creation.
— Future Culture: Economy 2.0 is circular
The Internet paved a digital infrastructure where it is now possible for anyone or any group to issue their own currency and find people who will accept it if they find it valuable. Internet Moneys use an open source protocol with specific rules for how tokens are minted and how they can be exchanged. Instead of issued by a nation state, the tokens are backed by a network of people who find it valuable.
If you work in cryptocurrency you often get the question — so how do I get some. The real answer is that you can earn it, or you can pay someone else who has earned it.
The simple answer can be found by going to an online cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase that will ask you for your banks information so that you can transfer a national currency like USD for bitcoin or ether, the two most popular cryptocurrencies. Other popular exchanges are Kraken, Shapeshift, and Okcoin. But even if you choose the simple answer, the value of the cryptocurrency you decide to hold will be more useful if you read on to understand the reality of the investment that you are making.
If you decide to earn it yourself, you participate in the cryptocurrency community in some way by (1) mining or (2)performing a service.
Mining is a continuous process where anyone can compete to earn freshly minted tokens using their computer to solve hard math problems. Bitcoin and Ether are two cryptocurrency economies that allow people to transfer their tokens by recording the exchange on one central ledger that is located on thousands of computers around the world. No one bank or company like Venmo keeps track of the transfers between people and companies; instead, anyone with internet access can audit the ledger at any moment in time.
Mining is essential to the network because it ensures that the record of transactions is untampered. However it is difficult to mine new tokens today unless you have lots of resources and low energy costs, one of the difficult problems that researchers are trying to solve.*
What do you have that you can offer to the market of cryptocurrency holders? Websites like Coinality can connect you with employers who pay in cryptocurrency. In fact I found a few of ConsenSys’s first hires there .You can also earn it by finding a bug with a code bounty, by participating (and winning) a hackathon, earning funds in a crowdsale, or receiving a grant.
Paying Someone who Earned It
If you pay someone who has earned it, they will usually charge some type of fee because they have already done some work to earn that currency in the first place. Perhaps your friend won’t charge you a fee, but an online exchange certainly will because they are taking on the extra risk of trust.
There is also a time component — If you want to purchase cryptocurrencies using an exchange like Coinbase, the process will feel similar to signing up fro a service like Venmo or Paypal. It will take a few days to get verified, and each time you buy/sell, it will take a few days for the order to go through.
However if you are purchasing from a friend by giving them cash (or another trade that you agree to) in exchange for some cryptocurrency tokens, the transaction can happen as quickly as it can be posted to the ledger of the blockchain in question (anywhere from a few seconds to 12 minutes). You would just need to create a wallet to hold your tokens using a provider like Blockchain, Electrum, or Armory.
Once you create a wallet, you will need to write down your seed in at least 2 secure places that can be accessed offline (think a bank vault and a personal safe). A seed is a really long password that will allow you to gain access to those tokens at any point in the future. If you lose that seed, there is no one else in the world and no computer that will be able to restore access to those tokens for you.
Once you create your wallet, you will have an address (think an email address or an internet IP address) that you can give to others so that they can send you some tokens. You can use that address to receive funds from anyone in the world that you can find to give them to you. Each time you do a new transaction from your wallet, you can generate a new address so that you create more possibility of preserving the privacy of your identity and your transactions. Your wallet stores all of the addresses that you generate and the history of all of their transactions.
What can you do with those tokens for now? You can use them to purchase flights at Cheapair.com, to buy any product on Overstock.com, and you can even get a Visa debit card by linking your Coinbase account. You can use them to take part in fundraisers for new cryptocurrency protocols, like the Ethereum fundraiser in Sep 2014 which was the second largest crowdsale ever at the time and raised $18mil USD. Or you can simply hold onto them in your wallet; thus you are investing in the idea that the particular digital ledger will become the infrastructure for a valuable economy and your tokens will help you participate in it.
Internet Money is just a way for us to send around value to each other by using a trusted source of data, a ledger, that accounts for all tokens in existence and allows them to be transferred only by their proper owners. That ledger is ensured by the particular kind of cryptography unique to cryptocurrency technology. Read on to understand the complexities of ensuring the fairness of that ledger system when extended to global commerce, and how it fundamentally asks us to re-imagine the role currency plays in our society.
The Problem with Cryptocurrencies of Today
*Maybe Satoshi modeled bitcoin as an ideal example of governance by the free market, or maybe he crafted an experiment to show whoever can access the most machinery and energy will gain control of an economy.
The hard limit of resources required to mine Bitcoin has led to the centralization of mining with a few companies in China, meaning that a few companies are minting all the new bitcoins. Check out this Planet Money podcast on the issue.
New mining algorithms attempt to address this problem, but they assume a fundamental limitation (resources or tokens) that will always lead to an unequal distribution and thus control of the currency, especially if we scale them to meet global needs.
Future of Cryptocurrency Value
What happens to the value of cryptocurrencies when we are no longer comparing the price of the cryptocurrency to nation-backed currencies of today?
If Jay Z and Kanye did a release of a song that you could only purchase using bitcoin, they would greatly increase the value of all bitcoins in existence. If the city of Jaipur issued an ethereum-backed local currency, it would similarly drive more value into the Ethereum ecosystem.
But instead of pumping value into a system where the currency is controlled by unknown and hard to regulate miners, industries, regions, and even the international political community will probably issue their own cybercurrencies instead. They will incentivize people who want their transactions to be valid to follow the rules of the issuing body, similar to how taxes work today. This path renders a network of currency systems that are centralized only in the wallets of the users who hold the tokens that correspond to the digital ledgers in question.
Internet Money is fundamentally a political system because it controls the way the community can earn and exchange value. We’ll do best as a society when we own up to the fact that these economic experiments must be implemented in mature ways that pick up where the money of today falls short.
Money of today falls short in its capture of true value — impact on the earth, impact on health, and the impact of inequality on society. Perhaps the opportunity is to rethink our mining algorithms to reflect the communities that we want to build. I’m not an expert in abstract math or cryptography, but I am an expert in practicality and basic human needs, and it seems that we must reconcile the gap between the two if we want to build a currency system intended for widespread human use.
If bitcoin wasn’t an experiment in libertarian idealism, it could be a demonstration of a fundamental right to exchange resources in a way that reflects true value. Our goal is to determine what true value is by reflecting on the future that we want to create, and design a currency system and mining algorithm(s) that captures value accurately and fairly. Instead of proof of work or proof of stake, what about proof of contribution to the community in question? How could that be randomly and democratically assigned and implemented?
That work is already happening in communities across the world already, from Black Lives Matter, to skillshare and barter clubs, to cooperatives and community gardens, to renewable energy initiatives. Blockchains are just another component of future public works that will help us achieve international accountability for our impact on human lives and the planet.
Thanks to Catalin Dragu at ConsenSys for the graphics.
If we use blockchains to identify and govern our devices, what kind of economy would we enable?
First — lets understand how a blockchain system could relocate trust by applying it to the ridesharing industry. This diagram shows the effect of shifting the trust from centralized companies like Uber and Lyft to the customers and drivers themselves.
Now lets add devices themselves as trusted identities into this system.
Using centralized technologies, devices identities must be maintained by centralized service providers who are responsible for the lifecycle of the device and all interactions possible with them. This maintenance is expensive, time consuming, and places the identity of the device in the hands of the service provider. If that service provider goes out of business, potentially the device itself will be lost and any data associated with it.
Instead, blockchains centralize identity with the devices and the peers. Service providers connect devices and people together. Reputation systems and smart contracts govern who can use the devices based upon the rules encoded. The best services are determined by the marketplaces based upon how much value they are adding to the users and the desired intentions of the communities.
5 Blockchain IOT Applications
Cooperatively Owned Self-Driving Cars
Using current technologies, a company like Uber or Google maintains the servers necessary to run a self-driving car.
Using a blockchain-based service, any number of individuals could form an agreement between themselves to purchase a self-driving vehicle and share its maintenance amongst themselves. Each cooperative group could from contracts with other groups and share usage of their vehicles amongst a wider group of peers.
These groups can set their own rules and enforce them using reputation standards. For example a group could create a monthly maintenance checkup requirement that each individual must fulfill at least once per year — if they had not completed that duty, then the car would not unlock for that individual. The community could go a step further and block that individuals access to other services if that was encoded in their rules.
So what are 4 more tangible examples?
In Brooklyn, NY there is an ongoing experiment for a community to use a blockchain to record the production of solar energy and enable purchase of excess renewable energy credits. The device itself has an identity and builds a reputation through its history of records and exchange. People can aggregate purchasing power easier, share the burden of maintenance, and trust that devices are recording actual solar production.
A blockchain system could enable the collaborative ownership and usage of machinery like 3d printers, laser cutters, and woodworking tools that populate maker spaces worldwide. Smart contracts could determine whether the individual had the appropriate reputation to use the laser cutter to craft their embroidery pattern on a leather bomber jacket. The rules of the machine would depend upon the owners agreements between themselves, and the current status of those agreements.
A shared maple sugar processing machine could be controlled by smart contracts that calculate an individual’s ability to use the machine based upon their balance of community credits. They could have earned credits by letting others in the community use another shared resource, like a tractor.
Shared Homes // Space
For coworking spaces to apartment rentals to spare bedrooms, smart contracts could control the ability to purchase or access the rental. For example a vacation sharing service provider could require that the individual must have leased out a space at least 3 times with successful reviews in order to rent another space on the network. Taking the economics a step further, the service provider in question could have a reputation protocol that equated each stay in a 1 bedroom at 1 credit. A technology like slockit could enable the smart contract to open the door if the agreements were satisfied.
Wastewater Catchment Systems
Smart contracts could record the identity of the individual performing maintenance on a shared system. For example, individuals must satisfy 6 maintenance appointments per year, and the machine alerts the community maintenance engineers every time a checkup is required. If an individual has not satisfied maintenance of the system they will be alerted their water will shut off soon or trigger a remediation function.
Moving Towards Collaborative Consumption
These blockchain system connect trusted peers better than centralized systems, which increases the efficiency for sharing, maintenance, and usage of our world’s resources. A diverse range of reputation protocols will also allow for communities to determine fair rates of exchange, creating a transparent and equitable framework to determine resource allocation.
This model is more energy efficient because people are paying per use and only recording necessary data into the blockchain. The models encourages innovation amongst a diverse range of service providers rather than consolidation. The mechanism for the network effect is the reputation of the individuals and the devices, and the value is more equitably shared between the individuals and the service providers.
Security stems from the reputation and identity systems, making it hard to spoof the trust gained by the use of real people. Smart contracts then ensure that people are using devices in a manner that is fair and trusted for the group and thus aligned with their values.
These proposed systems present a facet of the solution to the inequality of resource distribution in our economy of today — however they require proper implementation with diverse communities in order to successfully address it. How can we determine which projects are addressing future business models from the perspective of empowerment?
Cooperative Economy Checklist
Does the project?
-centralize identity and reputation with the individual people and devices?
-give ownership/access of data to individuals?
-create an interoperable protocol for users to port their identity and reputation elsewhere?
-exist to connect trusted peers or help determine a fair rate or provide added value to the peers?
Asking these questions allows us to construct distinctly different economic models that enable collaborative production and cooperative consumption. It’s up to us to decide what we will fund, build, and support with our currencies.
Summer time is officially here. When rooftop parties, cute sundresses, and cocktails take center stage, our carefree attitudes are here to run the show.
In a rushed lifestyle as a 20- something in a big city, it can feel impossible to keep practices that reduce waste on our minds. But lets make sure we’re still remembering to practice sustainable living to ensure the show will go on for generations to come.
Here’s a quick and easy guide (call it a midyear check in) for a few small changes that, if made collectively, can make a big difference.
Covet the Keep Cup
Ditch the Keurig
John Sylvan, a creator of Keurig, even advises against using the pod-based machines. Over 9 billion non-recyclable plastic pods floating around the earth isn’t a pretty picture. Especially when we consider that drip or french press coffee is easy to make, fresher, and more economical = better for the earth and our bodies.
Of course there is no shame in using your method of choice for the monthly cycle. But just give thought to the new kid on the feminine car block: Thinx, the period underwear. They've absolutely changed the game. Zero waste because there is no flushing tampons or wrapping up pads to be disposed of, only a regular laundry cycle. Not only are you minimizing waste, you're also joining the modern female in a revolution by rethinking how we encounter this time of the month.
When we shop at places like Forever21, we are promoting a cycle of textile waste. These clothes aren’t built to last. Their cheap prices promote short-term behaviors, bringing you back to the store only a couple months after the last purchase. It’s not just about money, it’s also about injustice: the cycle of terrible conditions for factory workers and poor environmental practices. One small step we can take is to buy and sell our clothes on consignment. If you dedicate even a portion of your wardrobe budget to second hand clothes, you’re making a big difference. It may be the only time that $5 jeans are acceptable. Or form a swap group with your friends — we love cleaning out our friends closets to help them declutter and create a new bank of goodies for the rest of us.
Don’t ditch — transform with rust dyeing
Reduce, reuse, repair, recycle… Transform. I recently stained my cute cream colored dress. I tried washing, bleach, Oxyclean, etc — looks like it is time for me to throw it out. Pause. Maybe there’s another solution. Millennials aren’t known for our clothes maintenance or mending skills, but that doesn’t mean we can’t evolve.
One great route to transforming stained clothes is to dye them with natural dyes. A really simple method requires supplies you probably already have in your kitchen: vinegar, water, steel wool, and black tea. For a burnt orange effect stick with the vinegar, water, steel wool. For a dark grey color combine tea, steel wool, vinegar and water and soak the item in the bath (crockpots work best). We love DogwoodDyer as inspiration for new techniques.
Let farmers markets be your friend
(okay this one isn’t always so quick and easy… but it makes a big difference!)
Food. Food is the ultimate way to practice sustainable living. When we buy the cheapest produce and most processed options, we are not playing an active role as sustainable consumers. Money has this fickle role in the economy at the moment, where the true value of a product is not calculated into the cost of an item — meaning that although the “conventionally” grown strawberries are two dollars cheaper, they also leave a much bigger impact on the earth that will have to be cleaned up at some point, and an impact on our bodies that may lead to larger healthcare costs in the future. As consumers, switching to more conscious purchasing of organic, local vegetables: especially supporting our farmers at farmers markets, makes a big difference. We are empowering a future economy of real, healthy food.
Let’s face it — none of us are going to be the next “Trash is for Tossers” girl. More power to ya, but when hunger hits and there’s only a kind bar in sight, it’s mine, wrapper and all. We’re not saying we go to extremes. But what we can do is acknowledge our need to make changes and start wherever we can.
By making conscious decisions we create a larger community of sustainable consumers. These easy tips are examples of how we can collectively create a culture that cares for our resources responsibly and works to preserve the beauty of our planet.
from Louisa and Ashley
I buy local, organic food as much as I can. I care about the state of the earth and it’s one thing I can do to embody these feelings. I also like to consider my energy consumption. I think we disregard computing as a source of energetic waste. Large servers and data centers centralize the information we send around.
Data centers and large servers store all of our information.
So what? Am I supposed to stop using email, stop using whatsapp, delete my facebook because I’m concerned about my energy usage? That’s pretty unrealistic. But it is time to consider the growth of servers to store information unsustainable and consider solutions.
Blockchain technology is serverless —
In Brooklyn, there is a community utilizing serverless blockchain technology to maintain a collective solar grid.
Instead of information being sent to a central server, an immutable copy of a digital ledger is held on each device.
Servers receive, amalgamate, and disperse data.
Serverless transactions have multiple benefits:
- Can help mitigate energy problems associated with central data storage centers
- Allow privacy between participants
- Democratize data, allowing a copy of the ledger to be viewed by each participant
There are creative solutions to the energy crisis coming — and blockchain will be an important source of digital infrastructure to allow this to happen.
Last Monday 6 community members on President St in the Brooklyn Park Slope neighborhood created the first local marketplace for renewable energy on a blockchain network. They individually invested in solar panels and created a community to sell their excess energy called Brooklyn Microgrid.
Briefly, Blockchain is….
A blockchain is a decentralized network that allows for exchange of information and value directly between peers without third parties (think banks or tech companies). Each transaction or interaction is transparently recorded and forms a chain of history that cannot be altered in the future. Trust is thus relocated from centralized service providers, those banks or tech companies, to the peers themselves, allowing people to build their reputations as they transact and participate in blockchain marketplaces.
Most people will interact with a blockchain marketplace through an interface that looks similar to most web applications today. The Brooklyn Microgrid community is using an open energy platform, called TransActiveGrid, developed by ConsenSys and LO3 energy.
TransactiveGrid uses the Ethereum blockchain to record the production of each community members’ solar array. TransActiveGrid is comprised of smart contracts (agreements between peers) that exist on the blockchain. The blockchain is a trusted ledger that all members of the community can access at any time. These particular smart contracts transform the excess produced energy into renewable credits that other community members can purchase.
These smart contracts can be verified by anyone with Internet access, ensuring the distribution of trust. Here is a screenshot of the TransActiveGrid contract that I accessed from my web browser. I did not need a special account or special permission to find it. It is written in a computer programming language called Solidity that is intended for writing smart contracts on Ethereum. Much of it is plain English, and it’s pretty simple to decipher at least the most important information (here the contract is defining the parameters of the renewable energy credit).
From Renewable Energy Corporations → Community Solar
Each of these community members were previously using the service Green Mountain Energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Green Mountain and other similar companies market themselves as ‘carbon offset’, meaning they run large wind farms mostly in places like Idaho and Texas, and then sell these credits to conscious consumers (or you can pay a higher price for production from a wind farm in NY). Con Edison contracts Green Mountain as a supplier behinds the scenes, and you still pay a bill to Con Edison.
While it is a step in the sustainable direction, this process is not transparent, not local, and not community-centric. Individuals trust in Con Edison and Green Mountain to actually produce the amount of renewable energy they claim, and produce it where they claim, and no local peer-2-peer market exists.
In the Brooklyn Microgrid community, there is no need for Green Mountain Energy. Community members produce their own renewable energy, and incentive each other to purchase any excess, creating a local marketplace. These six neighbors invested in their solar panels at separate times over the past five years. Today there are two large panels on one roof with smart meters that monitor each of the neighbors portion of solar energy production.
From Money → Mutual Credit Systems
The current implementation uses Paypal for member to send US dollars for the purchase of credits from their neighbor (See the paypal email popup in the photo of the first transaction that occurred on April 11th, a purchase of 195 renewable energy credits). The Brooklyn Micgrod community set a price of their credits based upon the comparable Green Mountain price:
7 cents per 1 credit of renewable energy = 1 kW-h.
However this particular smart contract has an owner who has complete control over adding community members to the marketplace and adding the smart meters associated with each community member. This implementation centralizes the regulation of price and power of the marketplace with one person. In order to develop a viable cooperative economic model, we have to insert a governance component that revolves around human decision making.
Towards Community Governed Resources
When we define the community, the rules, and the regulation of price, then a new model arises. Let’s imagine this community marketplace has quarterly governance meetings to govern resource consumption and build trust amongst the members. The community can exist in a state of credits and debits to one another, without needing the instantaneous paypal transaction.
A community comes together and agrees that their solar production and consumption will constitute a bank. The smart contracts on the blockchain record the transactions, and credit or debit member accounts. At that quarterly time period there will be a netting of accounts. The necessary payments will be issued at that time, and the community members can come up with their own protocol of payments (e.g. paypal, cash, barter, or carrying over all credits & debits into the next period).
In the example below there are five community members that constitute the bank. They have agreed a renewable credit is 7 cents per kw-H in a smart contract. They have decided that the community member who produces the most is allowed to sell first in a smart contract. So Ashley pays 40 x 7 cents, and Joan pays 50 x 7 cents. That amount is distributed first all to Rob, and then the remaining 15 credits to Lucy. Thus Lucy carries over 5 extra credits she is owed into the next time period. The actual transfer of the funds is up to the community members for now. Over time we will build some cool software to improve this exchange process— but the trusted and transparent ledger is the foundation for cooperative economics.
Since no money is required to be exchanged at the moment of transaction, the system incentivizes a greater degree of trust that builds over time. This mutual credit system is tried and tested in communities worldwide over time without blockchain (check out Gwendolyn Hallsmith and her food bank work in Montpelier, VT). It works when the boundaries of a community and the rules of the marketplace are clearly defined.
If trust is present in the community, perhaps there is no need for an additional reputation system to penalize people who don’t pay or break rules. However for larger communities there will be a need for a reputation system that will limit or block the participation of members who do not pay their owed amounts, or that break rules the community has designated.
This community can set rules like :
- community members’ accounts cannot fall below -100 credits
- community members’ accounts cannot rise above +100 credits
- renewable energy credit = X cents
- community members must produce X to be a member
- each transaction builds the users reputation within that community
- more reputation for producing than consuming
- community members must attend 3/4 quarterly governance meetings
- changes to the price of the credit requires 3/4 consensus (possibly using a system like Boardroom)
By having the quarterly meetings we build trust because we know that our transactions have a social component. We know we will be accountable to members of our community for our consumption of resources. And we know the faces of the neighbors with whom we will be sharing our energy consumption. We start building community through our relationships of exchange. These economic models that ensure accountability to our communities are an integral thread of how we move from a world with unsustainable economic consumption practices to one that is considerate of living in accordance with the actual resources we have — equitably.
The Value of a Provable Reputation: Sustainable Business
The cost of solar panel installation for each community member costs around $30,000, but subsidies from the NY State and the Federal Government usually end up in a tax rebate of around $23,000. There is an upfront capital requirement, and a desire to get off fossil fuels as primary motivation, sure. Yet these community members are simultaneously starting to prove their reputation attached to their community identity by participating in a marketplace as renewable prosumers on a trusted ledger. If we imagine a world in which this reputation will start to become valuable, then an incentivize emerges that wasn’t previously available. #untappedvalue
Lets take triple bottom line — people, planet, profit — a popular concept, even in the venture capital landscape. Bcorps, sustainable business, generational investments, and social entrepreneurship are all attempts to capture this value. This proposed community governed microgrid model actually proves reputation of renewable energy producers and consumers in a marketplace. If we agree that triple bottom line is an asset in the marketplaces of today, we can begin to intuit how valuable provable reputation will be in the future.
For now this system can only exist in NYC as a complement to the Con Edison monopoly. The community members are still using Con Edison as a backup when they don’t produce enough or can’t purchase excess credits. But it’s a step towards developing cooperative models for sharing of resources. In this Park Slope microgrid, community members know each other and trust already exists. However the model can be applied to other community economies where trust is not already present by using reputation systems.
Looking into the future, we envision communities of microgrids that start producing their own renewable energy . These communities can then transact between each other, forming larger communities comprised of overlapping and smaller ones.
At Future Culture we’re currently exploring the art of reputation
and developing reputation-based complex barter systems.
This cooperative economic model demonstrates governance of a shared resource with human checkpoints. Our model is based upon multidisciplinary research and taking the first steps towards blockchain implementation, with Louisa and our other activist collaborators in Sullivan County NY. We are continuing to work out the necessary criteria for community economies to ethically exist on blockchain.
Implementation of blockchain for sharing of resources will require experts who understand the technology to work with communities to create their own governance systems, placing the values of each community at the center of each process. Only then can we begin to develop platforms with easy to use templates for communities worldwide, and develop a network of implementation and training experts. The blockchain space will mature only as we begin to consider the human components of an economy that are vital for any proposed system to thrive.
If someone wants to make an announcement to the world, they have every opportunity to. They can tell twitter, they can tell facebook, they can make a snapchat, post onto instagram. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
But where the possibilities end is in the connection. How can you guarantee that the right people will see what you would like them to see? For example, I’m looking for a ride from NYC to DC. How do I touch technology correctly so that the right people get that message? I’d argue that the internet algorithmically, isn’t that helpful to us. We can post all we want, but the ability to search through those posts meaningfully is not effective. The right person is unlikely to see that post, and I’m likely left stranded.
We’re looking at this connection problem with farmers.
Farmers barter. Because the bottom line ($$) for farmers is so minute, to accomplish what they need to accomplish, they cannot rely on money. Instead, they barter. They trade. This form of trade is limited to your network that you speak in person to, phone call, and email. Social media plays a limited role, not just for the search problem described above, but also because farmers do not have time.
Time. Time is of substantial value to all people. We can improve our use of technology with a better understanding of time. There are few technologists looking at this problem critically — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT5rRh9AZf4 — Tristan Harris is one of them. The goal is to add value to peoples LIVES through better time use of the technology. Instead of making peoples use of technology better, let’s let the technology make our lives better. With this principle in mind, we design. We design for community. We design for connection.
Hopefully soon instead of searching 100 different airbnb-esque, crowd sourcing platforms, we all input what we have to share, and can search and connect easily in one place. We input this in a meaningful, searchable way. We input it community by community, until we understand all the overlaps. Each time it’s done meaningfully, inputing our resources for exchange will enrich our community connection and in return, our lives. With privacy in mind, blockchain technology is employed for the construction of this project.
This is the basis for the system being designed by a community in Sullivan county — as translated by myself and my friend Ashley Taylor (cybnography).
Because how we decide as a community to touch technology is so important, let’s make sure we do it right, with intention. It’ll all start with:
— CommunityOS —
As excessive capitalist systems and modern computers meet their limitations, many desire a new operating system for both. The pull is clear (it felt like half of the articles in a recent Bloomberg magazine mention the blockchain). Although many see the blockchain as inherently arbitrary, the primary emphasis is the web of connections it’s able to catalyze.
Ethereum has been called The World Computer. Social systems rooted on this network will become the global shared brain. Scientists are currently mapping neurons in the brain to determine the cartography of consciousness. How does information travel, how are fluid connections created? This research is being translated into creating more efficient computers.
In the next iteration of the Internet the networks between computers become more interconnected. Information will burn new pathways according to the path of least resistance. These automatic flows of consensus will break up the too few concentrations of power and resources. Designing infrastructure that is as open and as shared as possible will promote this organic development.
The future is not the next iPhone App, the evolution of the web browser, or even an intelligent robot. Its an interconnected global community empowered by technology. The transparent ledger of the blockchain provides the necessary infrastructure for cryptographically-secure and user-controlled online persistent identity. It allows us to interweave a reputation layer into the fabric of the Internet that transcends individual apps and companies that build them. Each person can now understand the self as part of ever-evolving community networks that comprise a greater ecosystem.
Liquid institutions will pop-up as needed and dissolve once their purpose is fulfilled. No excess resources are consumed along the way. It forms a web of cooperative economies that can reach a global consensus at the speed of the Ethereum network. It activates the potential to achieve mass scale collective action in any given moment.
The compass to the not so distant future lies in the ability to embody it. By aligning around this shared vision, it will become clear what to build, and how to build it, in every instant.
The future is for everyone, but only if we build it that way.
“’Okay, so they got pictures of us in our bikinis.’ I don’t want them to make, like, $100,000 for a bikini shot.” Taylor Swift revealed her rationale for posting a photo of herself, bikini clad, on her Instagram in January. Swift’s post exposed her entire abdomen, previously kept expertly hidden and severely mysterious. Instead of allowing the ownership of her coveted belly button photo to be in the hands of the paparazzi, she took the reigns and uploaded her own photo to her social media account. An account she controls.
Taylor is a defining character in the global culture at this moment in time. She has a pull, she has a say, people hang onto her every word. From that symbolic post on Instagram, to her affiliation with Jay Z’s music platform, Tidal, which focuses on artist ownership, she has made a stand for being in control of her reputation.
Looking into the future we see people like Taylor defining our cultural shift. A shift that encompasses many realms of life, society, art, and technology. A shift toward a new type of community-based cultural phenomenon related to ownership, reputation, and defining oneself.
We will take a look at people and movements we believe are providing a unique perspective. There are things shifting all around us. To tie a thread between many of them is possible in the context of the culture of the future.