After Sibos, Q4 is usually the period of the year when I try to re-boot, to refresh my sources, to be a sponge and take-in new knowledge. It’s when I start painting for the next year. When the themes and trends for next year start emerging.
I wanted to get a much better feel for what this world of alternative and complementary currencies was all about, and decided to join a week-end “Collabathon” organized by Art Brock (@artbrock) and Eric Harris-Braun (@zippy314), the founders of The Metacurrency Project. In the slipstream of the Contact Summit, they wanted to gather the minds to work on NextNet ideas and tools.
From their site:
What is the NextNet? A computing/protocol stack for operating a distributed Internet which enables individuals and communities to transact, self-organize, self-govern and empower themselves to build resilience, sustainability, and thrivability.
It was a small group of people – about 50 or so- gathering that Friday evening. But what a brainpower – and soft-power – in the room! Almost all my twitter heroes were there: it was great and heartwarming meeting many of them in real life.
Friday evening was intro-day. Saturday and Sunday were un-conference days.
The weekend had something “sacred”. The consciousness level of the participants was overwhelming, and Art and Eric introduced the different topics with so much softness and kindness. And every session had some sort or spiritual presence check-in and checkout moment. The location was clean and spacious, with lots of silent breakout rooms, so you could have relaxed but intense conversations. This was about taking quality time with quality people.
Some of you may remember that Art was one of our “igniters” for the New Economies session at Innotribe at Sibos Toronto, but there we only had a couple of minutes.
Here at this Collabathon, Art and Eric gave a 3-hour deep introduction on The Metacurrency project. These guys are so smart, so full of wisdom, so articulated. It was awesome.
Metacurrency comes in two parts:
- The Metacurrency principles: the value kit
- The Metacurrency Project: a software foundation
For further background, check-out this fantastic Metacurrency orientation in Prezi: http://prezi.com/ijiokjbrolwo/metacurrency-orientation/
The picture above is the essence of the Metacurrency principles. Note how in the bottom left corner, speculative wealth – what Goldman Sachs and others do – is positioned outside of the living systems model. It is fake wealth based on fake growth.
Instead of just describing the model above – plenty of that on the Metacurrency site – I decided in this blog post to transform my notes into some sort of rhythmic at times poetic expression. Step in the rhythm with me:
Currencies are Current-sees
The flow of value
The flow of value
Beyond trading value
Currency as language
Money is one single dimensional sentence of value language
The value of currency is to be able track currents/flows
Currency measures and fails to measure
Money only measures only certain types of values
Spoken and unspoken rules of social norms
Lead to currency
Not currency in isolation
Currency in context
We need to simplify
Make complexity simple in its USE.
Letter, words, sentences, compositions
Metaphor of the cow and beef
Once you have beef,
You can’t re-compose the cow,
You can’t go back
The beef misses the whole
Same for milk
The market price of milk has nothing to do with Bessie the cow
With Bessie’s wealth
Wealth in context
Wealth has same root as “wellness”
Value is more contextual, you may not value it, but I may value it
We are contextual beings
The Commons of Economics?
How to account for wealth?
The company balance sheet
Based on wealth
Balance sheet as momentarily map
The difference between map and territory
The symbols are at the level of the map
and missing out something by measuring
Are we missing the context?
Balance sheets in context
Chains of Balance sheets
Currency as an expression of worthiness in something
Worthiness and credibility
The cred in something
The cred of value attributes of entities
Even software code
Reputation of entities
Reputation as a signal of worthiness
Institution intrinsic motivation
Other than up/down
Commoditization of relations
The software project
For full details, checkout following Prezi. The guiding principles for the Metacurrency Project are:
- Disintermediation of any action, at all possible layer
- Composability at all levels
The ladder is about tools, grammars, APIs and standards on one side, and consciousness and new awareness on the other side.
The Metacurrency sees 5 different layers (steps on the ladder), each building upon each other, like emergent systems of small components:
- Stream-scapes: a communication composition
- Decision making: this is about flows, decision making, event based
- Currencies: language for expression of value/wealth
- Holoptinets: a new way of visualization of (big) data. Beyond graphs: with the richness of dimensions in an aquarium, a fish tank. The idea is to have an interface that fully exploits the human sensory capacities
- OS earth: hat the Metacurrency is after is nothing less than a self-describing computing. And yes, why not be super-ambitious and aim for a redo of the whole computer infrastructure.
There were different sessions on this, the one already more geeky than the other. I particularly like the demo of stream-scapes:
In my own words, it is a sort of EAI-bus, a bus for channels, a channel mixer and filter. Basically, all possible communication channels (Email, Twitter, etc) are blended together in a “scapable distributed database”
A “scape” is a personalized “sculpture” of that blend, reflecting my personal interest and focus. The scape is a grammar. A self-describing grammar at communication protocol level. The idea that people can take existing stream-scapes, adapt/complement them and re-post them in a scape-store for others to re-use. People can build re-usable scapes (grammars) and UIs on top of that.
There was also a good discussion on the “holoptinets”. The initial vision was that the user looks to the fish tank from the outside. Movements of fishes, sounds of water, color, etc. are all expressions of data values. I made some contribution to the thinking by suggesting the user should be “in” the fish tank. Start thinking of concentric fish bowls, each circle representing the types and levels of wealth and the levels of systems integrity of the wealth model.
Is there any traction on all this?
I was witnessing the enthusiasm and passion in the different breakouts of the un-conference. For a lot of this, it is still very early days. And like at Contact Summit, these folks need some sort of coaching on how to “articulate” and “sell” their ideas.
I saw a lot of struggling with even trying to build a first communications strategy on all this. And in my opinion, those stories – if they already exist – are too much inwards looking, too much about the what and not enough about the why.
To get any traction, what needs to get done is to get awareness at senior executive levels. This is something where Innotribe can be instrumental. We can give exposure of these great ideas on the edge of our ecosystem to decision and policy makers. For example, it was a no-brainer to ask Art to fly-over with me to LA to the Compass Summit the next days to be part of our Innotribe Lab on the Future of Value. More about that in a later blog post.
What I found also encouraging was the presence of some Occupy Wallstreet residents. They had a plan to launch an OWS currency. When they saw the richness of Art’s work, they invited Art for a study day on alternative currencies the next Monday.
Because we need to think differently, and not just making a copycat of fiat currencies as a language for pure transaction value only in the left bottom corner of the wealth model.
There was so much richness – wealth – during these two days, that I am exploring the possibility to organize a 1-2 day deep Innotribe conversation with top bankers of our community. And as Art will soon move to Europe, it is a no-brainer to get him over at the SWIFT HQ for a brown bag session for staff and executives.
Next blog will take a bigger helicopter view and will be about the Compass Summit, a blend of technology and values looking at What’s Possible, What Matters, and What’s Ahead.