Monday, October 05, 2015

Blockchain Financial Networks: Rethinking Risk and Finance with Automated Value Transfer

Internet transfers Information, and now Value
Blockchains are important because they constitute the next phase of the Internet, not just transferring information, but now transferring value: money, assets, and contracts. Blockchains are secure distributed ledgers, which can be implemented as globally-distributed financial networks. Ultimately, blockchain financial networks could automatically and independently confirm and monitor transactions, without central parties like banks or governments.

Fast-moving Crypto-economy

The crypto-economy is evolving quickly and it is crucial to watch and actively participate because 1) the uptake of blockchains could be extremely rapid, particularly by institutions: whereas a year ago crypto-technology was heresy, it is now becoming commonplace 2) blockchains as a modernizing technology have a pervasive reach – including all cash, financial instruments, and contracts in economics and finance, and all legal, legislative, political, and governance operations 3) the decentralized structure of crypto-technology implies a reorganization of the existing financial system

The key benefit of blockchains as a modernizing technology is that they allow assets to be transferred immediately, not taking 3 days to settle (t=0, not t+3). This has a number of efficiency improvements including decreasing counterparty risk, reducing cost, improving liquidity, and instilling trust in the system.

Rethinking Risk
Blockchains, crypto-economics, and decentralization invite an explicit reconsideration of risk. Four risk regimes can be identified ranging from 1) traditional mutuality risk models (Lloyd’s of London) to 2) classical portfolio theory (CAPM, efficient frontiers, trinomial tress, value-at-risk) to 3) black swan risk models (more frequent unpredictable outsized events) to now 4) decentralized risk models. As we rethink the world of science through complexity, now too complexity is a model for rethinking risk. Part of the more robust consideration of risk is moving to a conceptualization of causality that is not exclusively straightforward and linear. Complexity math allows a rethinking of risk in decentralized network models of consensus trust.

Rethinking Finance
An institutional crypto-economy also calls into question the definition of finance. Finance can be seen as a spot and future contingency management system for assets and liabilities. In this definition, blockchains are improved form of contingency management, with greater precision, automation, and lower-risk. The Internet becomes a contingency management system with programmable money, smart contracts DACs, and distributed ledger transactions, all contributing to automated value transfer.

Realizing the Automation Economy
Distributed ledgers allow a more serious move into the Automation Economy, via secure value transfer previously unavailable with the Internet. Internet 1.0, the ‘non-secure’ Internet allowed the automation of several sectors such as news, information, entertainment, manufacturing, and to some extent health. Now Internet 2.0 seen as secure value transfer networks could facilitate the automation of the entire economic, money, finance sectors, as well as government, politics, and legal services. What is at stake is a fair and orderly transition from the Labor Economy to the Automation and Actualization Economy.
Automated value transfer is the bigger project of decentralization, algorithmic trust, and the automation economy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blockchain Crypto-economics: The Actualization Economy of Immanence

Phase I: P2P Economies
There is considerable room for exploration in defining what the new possibility space of personalized, self-defined, emergent economic systems might comprise. Opening up economic systems could have different stages and phases. The first position could be having the same structure of current economic systems, but opening up the parties, interaction types, and business models. The idea of ‘decentralized reddit’ is an example of one such first position. It is still the same Internet pipes, providing the same news items to consumers. What could be different is the hosting, pricing, and business model. The web property reddit could be hosted in a decentralized manner, p2p-hosted by community peers, as opposed to being centrally-served by the company, reddit, Inc. Once the content is hosted by peers, the business model too can change. Instead of indirect advertising-supported centralized models coordinating the serving of eyeballs to vendors, direct pay-for-consumption or freely-contributed content models could go more naturally with a p2p-based content community. This means perhaps leaner economic models with greater price rationalization and value assessment of consumption by users.

Phase II: Rethinking Economic Systems as Coordination Systems
However, what is possible is not just different economic systems from a business model perspective, but something more fundamentally radical, a blueprint for a new economy. All of the first position, ‘decentralized reddit,’ no matter how decentralized, is still in the same structure, in the traditional structure of how economics has been conceived – of some parties producing goods of value consumed by others for some price (including for free in gift-economies). Extending this, the fully-fledged second position challenges and redesigns what is meant by economic systems, and claims that the purpose and value of economic systems is much broader. Markets have been the only application of economic systems, but the concept is more extensive.
Economics is a coordination system, of resources, but more broadly, of reality. 
Economics is a mediating and coordination system of our interactions with reality. Elements of economic theory might still make sense, like inputs, outputs, and resources, within this broader conceptualization of mediating reality. Resources could be more expansively defined, such as 'what resources are needed as inputs to brains being able to have ideas' as opposed to 'number of units of lumber sold.' Economics, instead of being defined as the production and consumption of scarce goods and services, could be reconceived more generally as a facilitation response to reality, concretized as a discovery and interaction process where something is discovered and valorized by a party, possibly in acknowledgement, interaction, and exchange with another party.

Phase III: Crypto-economics Facilitates the Shift from the Labor Economy to the Actualization Economy
Reconceiving economics as the more generalized form of (ontologically) what it is, a coordination system, allows its purpose to be substantially opened. The primary focus of what economics is about can shift. The locus of focus can change from how scarce goods are produced and distributed to instead, something much more generalized, to what our experience of reality is, and therefore to what kinds of responses to reality we would like to facilitate and enable. The notion of reality mediation design is so greenfield that the first question is 'what is important?' Economics can become a greenfield design frame about what might be possible in general in the world.

Yes-and! Abundance Economies of Immanence expand Reality
There are arguably two levels of ‘what is important’ – sustenance and actualization. First, certainly one dimension that is important is a post-scarcity situation for the material inputs required for healthy, flourishing human lives. The blockchain automation economy is making great strides towards this. Second, once basic needs are met, the focus can become one of immanence: open-ended expansion up from baseline survival to actualization in terms of growth, learning, creativity, collaboration, and contribution. True abundance is having these two levels; not just having survival-level needs met but also and more importantly, entering more fully into an existence of immanence, of open-ended upside potentiality - the actualization economy - and spending more cognitive time in this space. Abundance Theory Studies recognizes both of these dimensions: the immanent potentiality upside of existence, together with the baseline-attaining post-scarcity situation for material goods. True Abundance Economies focus on expanding the position of yes-and improvisation energy directed to self-expression, creativity, and novelty; expanding reality in ways that matter.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DIYastronomy Drones and Vertical DAS (Distributed Autonomous Space)

The Planetary Science Institute has announced plans for the Atsa Suborbital Observatory. Suborbital observatories are a new category of infrastructure that fits into the overall landscape of astronomical observational infrastructure between sounding rockets (expensive with only a momentary window for observation) and higher-altitude space-based observatories (Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, Webb). Atsa is airborne-based, in this sense similar to SOFIA, though Atsa is able to access 3-5 minutes of zero-g, and is more modular, flying infrared, ultraviolet, and visible range observational equipment. For perhaps as low as $125,000, you might be able to specify your own commercial observing flight, possibly crowdfunded through Fiat Physica (‘kickstarter for physics’); in a sort of community supercomputing for astronomy.

DIYdrones and Vertical DAS (Distributed Autonomous Space)
The idea of on-demand modular observatories suggests the notion of "distributed autonomous space in space" more generally. Distributed autonomous space (self-delivering pod spaces, like mobile Airbnb for lodging, co-working, etc.) could be terrestrial, and also aerial. There is the idea of airsteading, the vertical analog to seasteading, maybe with self-flying dockable airpods; a potential feature of the future along with the road-steading one might do with self-driving vehicles. Short of funding one’s own concierge observations on Atsa, personalized drones might be employed for DIYastronomy (including via QS mind-controlled rigs). Personalized drone observatories might significantly expand the reach of both professional and amateur astronomers. There is also the possibility of adding astronomical observational nodes to space elevator stations. 3-5 minutes of zero-g time, even if expanded to 9-15 minutes by coordinated Atsa flights from Florida, Texas, and California; essentially a very-large array telescope in space, is still just a few minutes. Instead, modular, ubiquitous space elevator infrastructure might provide continual observational functionality, and other self-financing uses like solar power generation.

Cryptocitizen Decentralization Sensibility: Providing Peer Infrastructure
The emerging mindset of decentralization could include participating in networks by providing infrastructure. Citizen-supported infrastructure could supplement and eventually supplant government institution-provided infrastructure. Resilient community infrastructure and the idea of supplying peer node hosting for network resources was a hope of WiFi mesh networks. The concept of community-provided infrastructure did deploy in peer-to-peer file-sharing with Napster and BitTorrent, and community supercomputing projects like SETI@home and Protein Folding@home, and is now being considered for more kinds of infrastructure. Peer-hosted networks might be more resilient both technically and sociopolitically. Decentralized networks are more technologically sustainable and extensible. There is also a sense of self-empowerment and economic self-determination in peer-provided infrastructure, particularly as an important counterweight to corporate power in the developing blockchain industry.

Some examples of community-supported infrastructure could include self-hosted Bitcoin blockchain full transaction-history nodes (Bitcoind), (decentralized reddit), and personalized drone observation cams. DIYastronomy drones could give the world a mesh network architecture for asteroid watch and the monitoring of other space debris, and also the capture of terrestrial-based events and phenomena. Thus, the sensibility of the digital cryptocitizen could include participating in peer-supported network infrastructure for any variety of affinities; whether DIYastronomy drones for asteroid watch, blockchain ledger hosting, content hosting, decentralized Uber-Airbnb space providing, sustainable foodagtech microgreens hydroponic units, or other activities.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A New Kind of Economic Philosophy: Network Economies of Abundance

Blockchain technology, as revolutionary as it is, is perhaps most revolutionary in exposing the corner of a whole new philosophy of economics that can be formulated as a Network Economics of Abundance. Not just a new economic theory, but a new philosophy of economics is required because the entirety of existing economic theory has been constructed around the assumption of scarcity, and reconfiguring our economic thought around abundance instead as a central parameter requires rethinking economics so profoundly as to be a new philosophical position that is outside the field of economics. Thus, it is timely to articulate a Philosophy of Abundance. Many different pieces have been emerging in the world that can be assembled into a description and future vision for this Network Economies of Abundance (Figure 1).

Click for a bigger chart.

Shifting from the Labor Economy to the Actualization Economy
First considering Paradigms, two positions can be articulated. First is Traditional Economies. We are familiar with traditional economic models where the organizing parameters are scarcity, control, hoarding, hierarchies, and relationships of power being held over others. The definition of economics concerns the production and consumption of goods and services, and success is measured by output (GDP). The goods and services that are valorized and measured in the formal economy are produced by monetary-based labor.

A second position is Network Economies of Abundance where the organizing parameters are completely reversed. This economics is based on abundance, access, availability, yes-and collaborative willingness, and power shared with others. Network Economies of Abundance are measured in fulfillment; though actualization, connection, purpose, and meaning. In a full, liberation economics, the measurement metrics are self-chosen by individuals and groups. The definition of economics has shifted, away from transactions, even if game theoretic, to interactions. Economics can be seen as a facilitation mechanism rather than a transaction mechanism. Economics becomes a discovery and exchange process, one of interaction, acknowledgement, collaboration, and creation.

Evolving Positions in Network Economies of Abundance

Network Economy: Already in the current world, distinctly different economic models have arisen and co-exist alongside the traditional model. This has always been true regarding the informal sector, and is now more recognizable. One feature that characterizes network economies is a free flow of information, and engaging and interacting with that information, and more generally active participation. Another feature is that there is a mindset shift to access rather than ownership, or at least an attunement to different ownership models, and the notions of rights, responsibilities and stewardship attached to each. There are peer-produced commons goods like Wikipedia, sharing economy properties like Uber and Airbnb, and there is a multi-currency society where other currencies such as attention and intention are monetized. Societal shared trust stems from individual identity being known by others.

Resource Grid Economy: This is what is starting to unfold now, the idea of Ubiquitous on-demand Resource Network Grids, which is fundamental in the mindshift to abundance. More and more resources are becoming fully dynamically available, lurking in the background as a resource blanket, to be called forth on-demand for use at any moment. For example, mind-controlled personalized drones could deliver on-demand items from an intention picked up by personalized QS EEG neuro-hacking rigs or smarthome personalized robots like Jibo, or the Nest. Ubiquitous resource grids are practical, and contribute to the ongoing mentality shift from scarcity to abundance. Time is freed for other higher-level cognitive engagement and enjoyment when resources are always-available on-demand, instead requiring cognitive effort to plan for availability. A simple example is having to know the bus schedule (keeping it loaded in memory) versus walking outside, opening up an app and seeing what bus is next. Societal shared trust is a function of agent reputation.

Crypto-Economy: The emerging crypto-economy uses blockchain technology and cryptocurrency tokens like Bitcoin to automate and facilitate human (and human-technology) interaction patterns. Decentralization as a new organizational paradigm extends our capabilities beyond hierarchical organizational models (both practically and values-wise (e.g.; more autonomy for all agents)) into trustless very-large scale models for coordinating world-scale activity. A million cryptocurrency tokens could bloom as the community token of individual cryptocitizens and groups for coordinating local post-monetary economies like basic income initiatives and demurrage programmable currency redistributions. Cryptographic ledgers could coordinate spot transactions (cryptocurrency) and t+n interactions with smart contracts and autonomous dapp, DAO, DAC, DCO, and entities and all physical and intangible assets registered as smart property. Societal shared trust is instantiated though smartnetwork consensus, independently non-totalizingly (integrity-preservingly) signed.

Needs-based Economy: A final position in the Network Economies of Abundance could be one in which the focal point is needs, where the needs of all entities readily surface and can be met. A needs-based economy focuses on the most important aspects and deeper level of what occurs in economic transactions. Each entity (person, group, community, country, technology entity) has needs. Some of the most important needs for humans tend to include acknowledgement, connection, contribution, meaning, and action in the world. Economics is a strategy for getting these and other needs met. Smartnetwork code entity DAOs/DACs could unobtrusively orchestrate patterns of interaction among biocryptocitizen agents to maximize needs-meeting, including by registering needs as smart assets to which token is posted to indicate degree of met-ness (basic income smart needs). Another example could be secure user-permissioned cloudmind collaborations with other human and technology entities for the purpose of problem-solving and creative expression. Societal shared trust is a priori, based on agent capacity, in digital society smartnetworks of the future.

Reference: Swan, M. (2015). Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy. O’Reilly Media.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

VR Chains and DAC Brains: Upload your mind as a VR AI DAC

Blockchain thinkers or DAC Brains are the notion of having DAO/DAC entities running with smart contracts on blockchains for the purpose of conducting thinking operations. The genesis of blockchain thinkers could be organic or inorganic: human mindfile lifelogs and uploads, and any variety of brain emulations and AI ML/DL algorithms (artificial intelligence machine-learning deep-learning algorithms). One idea is to instantiate your mindfile on the blockchain as a lifelogging tracker and standalone ideation tool: your own mind as an AI DAC. Some key enablers are coming together to make personal AI DACs possible. Idea chains (lifelogging your ideas onto a blockchain) could auto-record your ideas through 1) QS (quantified self)-attached gamma wave spike tracking (recording when you are having an idea), together with 2) cortical image recognition and thought identification (what the idea is about), logged into in a 3) personalized blockchain-based VR consensus reality (coordinating ideas into your own ongoing reality view).

Immersive Virtual Reality is Digitized Experience
Immersive VR (virtual reality), like with the Oculus Rift, is not just video games, virtual worlds, or 3-D CAVE environments, it is digitized experience. Qualitatively different, immersive virtual reality is a means of making physical world experiences real in an alternative medium. VR metaverses then, are parallel realities, as distinct from multiple digital worlds. If you and I go into WoW (World of Warcraft) or SL (Second Life) separately, we see the same world. Even if different levels of views are enabled or locked (like Karl Schroeder’s tech locks in Lady of Mazes [1]), they are just different lenses on the same world. However, if you and I construct our own digital worlds, we see and create different worlds, possibly on the same basic platform, but the realities can be fundamentally different, with different participants, events, and historical records.

Reality Unity in the Physical World
Consider the physical world - there is one platform, and we each have varying reality maps or views of the physical reality platform in our heads. There is one consensus reality and historical event record, and conflicts arise out of different views of the consensus reality trying to hew to one (e.g.; “What happened? X punched Y first. No, Y shoved X first.” – we seek a unique consensus reality of events (Probability Moon further explores the notion of societal shared reality)). Centralized virtual worlds have been the same; there is one reality platform, and centralized event engines record the consensus in one shared events ledger, the game history, even in OpenGL self-hosted models. Now, however, with decentralized models powered by blockchains and dapps, DAOs, and DACs, reality multiplicity is possible. There can be simultaneously existing parallel realities. The multiverse exists, and one place it can be created is in cyberspace.

Blockchains enable Simultaneous Multiple Realities
Just as blockchains are the critical enabling technology for digital cryptocurrencies, so too are they a key facilitator of VR multiverses. Blockchains could serve as the backbone infrastructure for multiple parallel realities (VR multiverses) by coordinating the chain of event histories in these multiple realities. The transaction history is not just for transactions, but more broadly comprises the historical event record. Blockchains consensus-generate the historical record, and allow any number of separate and parallel historical records to be created simultaneously. Blockchains are the mechanism for creating and coordinating simultaneous multiple realities. The altcoin space is already an example of simultaneous separate realities.

The Selectability of all Reality Features Blockchains consensus-generate the historical record, and further, make it clear that all parameters of reality can be malleable and selectable: time, participation, reputation, memory, history (historicity), economic models (hierarchical or peer-based), and political operations (governance and decision-making). These are all selectable parameters of a reality environment. One recent revolution in economic liberation sensibility is that blockchains allow individuals and communities to self-determine economic systems. Now seen in the VR multiverse context, blockchains are revealed to be much more: they could enable all parameters of a reality environment to be selected.

Blocktime Time Malleability
One example of reality feature selectability is blocktime. The timeclock in blockchains is blocktime, the time it takes for blocks of transactions to confirm. The easiest way to specify future time moments (t+n) is via the internal time system of the blockchain, blocktime. For example, the term of a certain decentralized dapp loan might be 7000 block confirmations. Blocktime is the clocktime of blockchains. Certainly blocktime converts to physical world time, but differentials could arise and give way to arbitrage opportunities or other divergence-as-a-feature possibilities. The key point is that all reality parameters, including time and space, could become malleable in blockchains and especially in blockchain-coordinated VR metaverses. Further, if blockchains become the mechanism for keeping time and event histories, de facto they become memory, where memory is a critical functionality that feeds back directly into lifelogging and Brain-as-a-DAC idea chains.

A World of Multiple Realities
All of reality can be made malleable, personalized, self-determined, personally-constructed, emergent, and a thing of multiplicity not monolithicity. There can be an end to the tyranny of a sole reality. “End reality tyranny, create your own VR multiverse!” Deleuze's multiple inner views can bloom as described in Proust and Signs. In the new sensibility of VR multiverse reality multiplicity, an imaginable query to alien intelligence could be a Kardashev scale parameter: “To what extent do you have multiple realities in your world?

Right to Self-Determine One’s Own Realities
The earlier positions in human liberation have been the right to self-determination in certain contexts, in different parts of life and the experience of reality. These include the right to self-determination in governance, legal systems, IP protection/sharing regimes, software business models, neural data privacy rights, cognitive enhancement, and most recently, the emerging sensibility of the right to self-determine one’s own economic systems. These are all important steps in the liberty of the individual, but they are all in some sense intermediary positions on the way to the now-visible bigger position which is the right to self-determine one’s own overall reality, and really, realities (plural). A new sensibility could be seeing the right of each individual, entity (human and machine/technology entities), or group to self-define its own personal consensus reality (realities). The central component of the self-determination of organisms could be the operation of its own consensus reality(ies).

Blockchains as a Historicity Mechanism and Collaboration Space 
Blockchains are a means for consensus-generating the historical record (a historicity mechanism) to facilitate reality multiplicity, and they are the means of enabling value flow. In network economic theory, this is beyond the transactional sense of the value flow of currency from me to you, where unleashing the creation and transmission of many kinds of non-monetary value flows is the bigger picture of what is at stake and possible in creating multiple realities. Non-monetary currencies (like universal human needs for connection, contribution, mattering, and understanding) can be registered and tracked as blockchain-based smart assets. One reason for VR realities, what we are really wanting in creating new realities (via VR multiverses) is creating spaces that are free of the limiting constraints of physical realities. These constraints pertain to both the physical world and human limitations, including matter, gravity, time, illness, disability, impairment, sleep, recovery, distraction, cognitive bias, etc.) such that more freedom, exploration, collaboration, expression, creativity, fun, serendipity, progress, and contribution can be enabled. We want to cognitively enhance proximately for a better memory, sure, but ultimately to be 'bigger' in the sense of being more able to grow and participate beyond our initial position of self. We want more of the creative yes-and collaboration space of new energy and idea generation. The ‘economy’ of the future might be measured based on non-monetary value flows like ideation, which could be orchestrated by public and private reality blockchains.

Convergent Integration of Multiple Simultaneous Realities
Now possibly having a situation of multiple simultaneous realities, what is there to do with them? There are several implications for the future of privacy, sharing, and collaboration. For example, there is a question about when and how to cohere and merge VR DAC brain realities. Therefore, within realities, there might be sub-threads or other means of parsing and segmenting sub-realities.
Colored coin threads in your brain DAC could be the way to permission subreddit mind ledgers to cloudmind collaborations
Mindchains could be a means for how to safely mindshare or collaborate in a cloudmind, for example by permissioning your subreddit ledger for ideation related to certain areas as opposed to your full mindfile or meat-brain….“here, let me share everything with you I’ve thought about crowdsourced genomic studies,” or "here, join the mindslack channel for this community."

Blockchain apps could auto-merge shared realities in the way that topical queries are ambiently processed in the background now. There could be situations analogous to Hayek’s competitive currencies where reality views compete. There could be reality ecologies where repetitive threads across individual realities converge into shared group realities (the unobtrusively representative politics of the future). Right now this happens manually with the blunt tools of the physical world; we search for other individuals, groups, and institutions with our own shared values and reality view, and blockchain DACs might facilitate the automatic canvassing and convergence of all of this.

We might know that VR metaverses and the human-machine collaboration are really working when VR NPC DACs self-create in our realities per sensing our human needs (actualization, contribution, growth and learning, exploration, creation). Blockchain-based VR AI DACs could auto-sense and create whatever 'Tuscany houses' are needed to grow an entity (like a human or machine mind) in its progression. For example, in an ideas 'economy,' the most important inputs are anything which facilitates the development of ideas, and attending to this could be one purpose of a an NPC VR AI DAC in your personal VR metaverse, operating via smart contracts on your mindchain. Ideas are the demurrage-redistributable basic income of a blockchain thinker Brain DAC. Blockchain thinker Brain DACs then become another Ubiquitous Grid Resource, an important one, for idea generation, in the overall picture of the future Network Economies of Abundance.

Acknowledgement: This post was inspired by ideas from Maciej Olpinski regarding consensus in virtual reality worlds.

[1] POV HUDs are a mechanism to accommodate multiple levels of technology adoption within a society; e.g.; through my HUD, I see unimproved nature and birds tweeting; through your HUD, you see propositional nanotech 3-D printed finery self-mutating in utility fogs.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Economic Liberation: Network Economics of Abundance

Economics as API: System Design
The possibility of creating true network economies of abundance and designing personalized economic systems raises a host of issues about what kinds of behavior might result from programmed economic parameters. In moving from indirect advertiser-supported models to direct peer-supported models, for example, one first issue might be the business model - which parts of the system should (can) be free and which paid? For any paid parts, certain externalities and artificial behaviors might be created.

P2P Business Model
One of the great values of peer-produced commons goods like Wikipedia is that it is group-generated content, in part because participation has been free and easy. Further, peer-production not only powers the generation of commons resources but also flexibly shapes them into better products per multiple voices and crowd-structuring of the content. The ethos and objective of crowd-based content has been towards more participation not less. One risk is that the introduction of p2p economic system parameters might inhibit peer production by asking payment for actions that were formerly free, even if users gain more control over how their own personal data is used. Donated resources in p2p networks, freely contributed gift-economy content and hosting, are already the norm and this could persist.

Hybrid Economic Systems (economics as a system parameter)
Personalized economic systems are an equality technology and an illiberty eradication strategy, reversing the lack of liberty of not being able to self-determine one’s own economic reality. Instead, there could be greater empowerment for all individuals in being able to choose and design the economic models in which to participate. As individuals and communities, we might now be able to select the economies that correspond best to our own value systems. This could include specifically selecting a centralized or a decentralized web property or software platform. The floodgates are only just starting to open on the degree of economic system experimentation that might happen before specific models in the decentralized space become standards. Hayek advocated for each financial institution having its own currency as a market barometer of health and competitiveness (The Denationalization of Money (1976)), and this could be extended such that each individual and community has its own currency too.

Migration Plan to Hybrid Economies – Icons identify Economic System
For existing web properties, there could be a strategy to test and explore decentralized models, and ways to incorporate centralized and decentralized economic models simultaneously. This could lead to a propitious migration over time from centralized to decentralized models. One way that this could work is that the landing page of a news website could have the usual content modules of a headline and a few lines of text. This could be accompanied by two (or more) icons at the upper right of the headline identifying the economic system, for example centralized and decentralized. The user could then decide, if wanting to read the full content, whether to click for free content knowing that their data might be monetized however the site wants in the backend, or having control that their data is not going anywhere (confirmed via an inspection of the open-source software) and peer-supporting the content with a micropayment in a pre-specified and known amount. The key point is an overall sense of parameter malleability and feature-selectibility in economic systems, where the user has the freedom to decide. Users can now select economic system like any other parameter in content consumption.

Community-Voted Multi-tier Programmable Economic Systems
Economic system as a selectable parameter might be applied at different levels. For example, at the level of the content item, web property community or vertical (like Stack Exchange or Stack Overflow’s hundreds of communities), the overall website, or the collection of websites in a media consortium (all the ‘Yahoo properties’ or ‘Google properties’ have a certain economic model, for example). Each newly launching sub-property could have its own economic model, specified by the overall site owner, community moderators, facilitators, or organizers, or the community itself. Why not enroll community votes to select the economic model, or maybe launch with one model and then vote at certain liquidity intervals (e.g.; the community now has 100 or 1000 members) regarding economic model to allow different community economic models and preferences to develop over time.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Network Economies: Economic System as a Configurable Parameter

We personalize everything else, why not economic systems too? Starbucks selectability comes to economic system participations! Some interesting implications for personalized economic system design arise per a recent post about ‘Decentralized Reddit.’

The New World: Network Economies of Abundance (chart)
There are two archetypal economic systems. First is the usual indirect model that we are used to as consumers: content is free to consume, and supported by advertising, where personalized data might be sold in the backend to other parties in any number of undisclosed ways; this is true for radio, TV, and Internet content. Second is the direct model of content producers and consumers existing in a network where users (content consumers) might pay for content or for certain premium actions they can do with content like up/down-voting it. The business model is that consumer micropayments support content providers and the cost of content-hosting – this is a true peer-to-peer network ecology. The direct model is now possible due to having large and available liquid networks where supply and demand can meet in an automated auto-discovered way. Examples of decentralized p2p network concepts have been Tor, Napster, the Internet itself, and also now Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology. One way to implement the direct model is through micropayments, where users click on icons to allocate pre-specified amounts of Bitcoin or token to take community actions. The central issue in decentralized p2p content systems to be prototyped and tested is user willingness to micropay for content operations.

Economic System as a Configurable Parameter is engaged in developing a software platform for decentralized content hosting communities. Conceptually, this could be like a standalone decentralized reddit. The software platform could also be deployed by existing centralized content communities (like Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow) as an offered parameter at the launch of new communities. Community participants or facilitators could choose the economic model for their community, either 1) advertising-supported (the centralized indirect model), or 2) peer-supported (the decentralized direct model). Other web properties could experiment with this platform to test both kinds of economic models, for example offering private-labeled decentralized versions of Instagram, Twitter, etc. Already-existing blockchain-based decentralized versions of social networking properties like Diaspora, Twister, Gems, Reveal, and BitCloud could further extend their functionality with the decentralized content-hosting platform.

What is decentralization?
In this potentially burgeoning era of personalized economic system design at every level ranging from individual agents to group participations, there is a questioning and defining of key parameters. For example, an ongoing question is ‘What is decentralization?’ Decentralization is more than peer production. While peer production and peer participation might be a feature in decentralized economic systems, true decentralization connotes that the model itself should be decentralized, with decision-making made in a flat, non-hierarchical manner. For example, ‘peer production properties’ like AirBnB, Wikipedia, and Reddit are still centrally organized, hosted, and coordinated, and users or community participants are not able to participate in decision-making, for example about how the content they contribute is monetized, or if some of that monetization could be returned to them as content creators. The content is produced by decentralized peers, but decisions about the economy are centralized.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Personalized Economic Systems: Self-Determination and Economic Theory

In addition to blockchain technology, another clear node of current innovation is in self-determined economic systems. Increasingly, as individuals, we are consciously examining the economic systems into which we were born by default, and questioning their validity, utility, and reach; and proposing alternatives. In some sense capitalism is the new feudalism and there is a finally starting to be the conception and realization of a viable postcapitalist position. The new sensibility could be that economic systems are determined at the level of the individual as opposed to the level of the nation-state, and further that different economies might be appropriate at different levels of scale in an overall world of economic multiplicity. Further, economics means discovery and exchange more generally and conceptually as opposed to exclusively transactionally. As individuals we have become our own selection node for the news, information, and entertainment we consume. The same could happen with economic systems and governance systems: downscaling the locus to the level of the individual as another context for personalization and right to self-determination.

Personalized Economic Systems: Platforms and Features
There could be a new world of ‘let a million economies bloom’ (in an esprit of self-blossoming not socialism). As every individual might have their own social media platform with a channels like a blog, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, and Instagram stream, so too as individuals we might have our own personalized economic platform, with our own personal currency and economic system. A common set of feature functionality could coalesce in these programmable economic systems. The core feature set could include token issuance, exchange, and conversion mechanisms; transaction validation, confirmation, and tracking; identity and reputation management systems; bounty, reward, and appreciation systems; consensus protocol; node on-boarding/off-boarding; and basic income systems mechanism including with redistribution (demurrage) parameters.

How these features are implemented in different individual and group economies could be via a combination of pre-specification and emergence (including via community prediction market voting) through the ongoing operation of the economy. Some emerging platforms for personalized economic systems for individuals and communities include (a decentralized reddit for any user-content created community), Ethereum CIRCLES (personal economic coinplatforms for creating user-specified self-determined economies), HyLo (social network based on intentionality of asset-mapping, intent-casting, and crowd-resourcing), and those integrating direct democracy with economic empowerment like D-CENT, LiquidFeedback, and Citizen Code.

Qualitative Economics: Registering Values as Smart Assets
Blockchains are not essential but are the obvious and contemporary information technology to include to facilitate personal economic systems and enable new kinds of functionality. For example, qualitative parameters such as group values and group needs could be registered as blockchain-based smart assets to which community coin is booked, spent, or voted to indicate the level to which the group values and needs are being met. This could be an integrated and minimally-obtrusive feedback mechanism for awareness of how community values are evolving, and the extent to which they are being embodied. There could be multiple community tokens: quantitative coin for the usual basic exchange, and qualitative coin for tracking ideas, inspiration, and other values, benefits, or needs of the community registered as smart assets. Overall this is what is meant by ‘the new economic theory’ as being a means of acknowledging and attributing value in a relevant context like an individual, group, or community.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Smartgrid Life: Blockchain Cryptosustainability

The contemporary era of blockchains as an implementation mechanism for decentralization suggests a new overall conceptualization of life as being supported by any number of smartgrids. Distributed network grids is a familiar idea for resources such as water, electricity, health services, and Internet access, and might be extended to other resources, literally and conceptually. One example is on-demand microcoaching, for example guidance for playing a certain guitar solo with Piano++. Jeremy Rifkin, in Zero Marginal Cost Society and other books, outlines the grid paradigm, contemplating three smartnetworks: Internet communications grids, energy grids, and logistics grids. Evelyn Rodriguez adds another grid, local fresh produce, in the notion of Food as Distributed Commons, possibly in the form of a blockchain-based PopupFarm Grid DCO (distributed collaborative organization).

PopupFarm Grid
The idea of the PopupFarm Grid is that the 'urban farm grid' or 'fresh food grid' is like an energy grid. As the energy grid could be participative with solar panel installers selling unused power back to the grid, so too could urban fresh food be a peer-based collaborative production. Anyone could purchase a hydroponics unit and make capacity and outputs flexibly available on the urban food grid for community consumption. There could be an Uber-like mapping app to find the local hydroponics units with items fresh and maturing today, in an on-demand real-time updating reservation-taking system. This could lead to better utilization of fresh produce, improved health, and local community sustainability, knowledge-transfer, and self-sufficiency.

Consumers could own cryptoshares in virtual food cooperatives (like permacredits, the concept of a global affinity currency supporting local operations), and arrive and pay with community token. There could be dynamic supply-demand management and rebalancing at the community level. A series of smart contracts could onboard/offboard the diverse use cases and bridge time gaps. For example, land permitted for 2018 could already join the P2P network (similar to Lazooz drivers pre-earning token), to start earning community participation against future capacity. The paper-route of the future could be kids learning and participating in container maintenance for neighborhood urban food units. There could be decentralized exchange with software from OpenBazar or BitMarkets (decentralized versions of CraigsList). Another piece in the value chain could be idle Uber drivers (Lazooz in the decentralized model) and TaskRabbit, etc. gophers fulfilling delivery on-demand.

Cryptocitizen Mentality and Cryptosustainability Communities
The emerging cryptocitizen mentality is a new level of self-responsibility-taking: designing, iterating, and participating in community sustainability initiatives, including self-defining economic models. Cryptosustainability means sustainability in low-footprint mindful use of environmental resources, and also sustainability in human society organization models, where the idea is to build, prototype, and iterate new and innovative ways of doing things at various levels of scale. There can be a lot of energy when a community comes together at the beginning of a project, but keeping the energy resident over years and different phases of the project can be elusive. Blockchains are useful for this because they can help to build community trust and transparency by keeping information and record-keeping accessible. Blockchain-based cooperatives can build trust through the transparency and auditability of community operations. Anyone can check the record anytime. This could be useful for distributed decentralized governance and the coordination of cooperative shared ownership. Blockchain smart contracts can also help facilitate ongoing community processes, for example with modules for voting and decision-making with liquid democracy (e.g.; on-demand participative democracy) in proposal development, coordination, and voting; demand-planning ahead of time regarding the amount and type food wanted this year with a prediction market like from Augur; and a P2P dispute resolution and moderation with a PrecedentCoin module.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Popup Dining as Distributed Autonomous Space

Popup dining could be a fun new idea in the trend of popup experiences - on-demand serendipity and practicality ranging from popup entertainment, co-housing, and co-working to popup farms on disused land.

Any range of food providers ranging from existing restaurants to individuals building cooking brands could sponsor on-demand popup dining tables in city streets and at festivals.

Consumers could pre-select the menu (including a blind prix fixe menu), and the time and location of the popup dining experience. At the appointed time and location, ad-hoc P2P urban delivery service contractors could deliver the table, food, and dining experience.

Uber-like, the Popup Dining app could show the progress of the popup table to the consumer location, and be the payment mechanism at completion.

You can even do your own guerrilla popup dining now, just order your Caviar restaurant courier delivery to a non-traditional location like a street corner (bring your own stool) or bar. 

Everything about popup dining as distributed autonomous space is modularized, including the basics of a table, chairs, food, service labor, location, labor, and level of service. Expansion modules could include engaging a local artist, musician, or lecturer from that neighborhood, a live chef station, a sommelier, a chocolatier, a vodka infusion expert, etc. Blockchain-based smart contracts could further facilitate the validated automation of service delivery for popup dining.

Popup as a life style and life as performance art!