The day is finally dawning. As of April 15th, the VILLAGE / VECTORANCE platform is launched in Offline Beta mode and ready for testing!
What we are working with at this stage is a Quest (postie) system which simulates the mechanics of what will ultimately be a data-rich online environment of open-source collaboration and exchange. To demonstrate, we’ve set our intentions on rebuilding the CSE FREE STORE! What better way to inaugurate a new model for moneyless economy than by constructing a fresh community giving space??
What is VILLAGE? In a few words (or so):
VILLAGE is a GAME—a real-life role playing game and prototype strategy for gift-economy that is scalable and robust.
VILLAGE offers a set of tools for igniting grassroots-scale Contributionism, by facilitating the coordination of human BEing and DOing toward a world which works for 100% of its People.
VILLAGE establishes a new, expressive, gratitude-based, social resonance economy for the Information Age, where networks of mutual aid emerge from the voluntary contributions of our natural passions and skills. In short, it’s an organized interdependence movement based on open-source principles dedicated to local resource autonomy and free Value association.
To play, we begin by focusing our intent through what is called a Quest—that creative vision which calls for a collaboration to benefit the community. This opens space for giving and receiving by defining with specificity what Roles, Contributions, and Resources are required in manifesting the creation. Throughout the work, our swarm of collaborators is coordinated for optimal results in achieving the goal. And finally, upon completion, gratitude indicates acceptance of Value exchanged and becomes part of a public record of accomplishment where perspective is honored, context is preserved, and trustability is self-evident.
VILLAGE brings us out of the limited-liability, extractive and coercive central banking ponzi scheme, into a lateral landscape of full accountability, full transparency, and full personal liability among free and equal sovereign beings of co-Creation.
In VILLAGE, YOU are the Value, YOU are the Bank, and not only is your ability to issue gratitude from the ever-abundant internal zero-point of the heartspace unlimited in quantity, but also in quality. Your perceptions of Value become your expressions of Value, which are faithfully deposited in your community’s People and Resources. So let’s make everything FREE by GIVING it all we’ve got! World Game ONE is on.
In these early stages, as we are beginning to explore potential pilot projects for demonstrating the concept of a gratitude currency and a social-action gift economy, we are presented a challenge—how do we best go about mapping by hand one of these so-called Quests?
Because each Quest is likely to combine a variety of interrelated, interdependent offers AND needs, and be fulfilled by multiple participants in dynamic roles of giving AND receiving, a suitable visual format must be able to communicate layers within layers. Gantt charts, tree structures, bubble maps, different data diagrams all came up, but I think the best approach resembles something between a file system tree and database schema.
As one can see (hopefully haha), we have a root level connecting multiple sub-levels increasingly detailing each aspect of focus using single or double-word strings. The elements at the root represent some basic types of value recognition, types which can be found at any level, any time.
This structure may produce a lot of apparent mirroring/redundancy, with tasks, roles, requests, resources all having their own ‘module’ yet, categorically speaking, could be consolidated. However, it is not necessarily meant to be organized categorically, but rather in self-contained sub-Quests for individual or group completion. “Many hands make light work,” and breaking down the big picture into many easily-digestible pieces makes for more efficient distribution, and perhaps even a higher probability for completion.
In the coming days, we will be drawing up plans for a tangible project to be completed right in our own front yard. Once enacted, and many people get the gist of how to conduct the exchange, the model will be able to spread on its own, spurring the creation of elaborate data relationships of interconnecting community systems. Call in the database programmers !!
What Exactly Is This Thing, Anyway?
“OK, so check it out,” I have this working concept for an alternative economy built on people-powered resource networks, collectively operating as one big gift circle kaleidoscope. The idea is to open-source our creative visions, to put forth and contextualize our needs and offers, no matter how big or small, routine or bizarre, and allow transparency to open gateways of giving/receiving which align with our chosen skills and passions. Sharing information in such a way will lead to better-informed, better- connected communities aware of the real deficits and surpluses of real people, and vitalize collaborative social action toward getting All The Things done, seeing that all needs are met to the best of our ability.
In lieu of “spendable” currency, which tends to perpetuate scarcity and separation, the capital in Village is essentially a social one, honoring participation, transparency, and trust, with profiles reflecting the actual nature and amount of our contributions. Value here is measured in a way that is analogous to the acceptance of gratitude, naturally given as significant informational feedback on quality, character, context, purpose, relation, etc. One can think of it like a public appreciation ledger and data investment bank doubly serving its users with living resumés and inventories linked together via a kind of gamified stats engine.
It all starts with a Quest, where a proposed (or existing) creation is deconstructed to its most valuable and identifying attributes, including actionable tasks and all the requisite resources to bring it forward. These aspects highlight point-for-point pertinent and worthwhile nominations for what it is you would like there to BE, and how in particular you would like to DO. Then the Quest is published, making the vision accessible to helping hands as well as to those in need, enabling a flexible exchange where all participate voluntarily and all roles are recognized.
We The People are more than capable of deciding for ourselves what is the most meaningful work to be done, and once empowered to freely associate value, only really need an effective method for positive social organizing. Money may still be part of the equation for fulfilling some Quests, but the aim of the Village platform is to circumvent it wherever possible, in favor of a coordinated interdependence movement toward local resource autonomy.
Sounds Great, But Is It Really Real?
– … and like, –
How Do I Get Involved?
Village has reached the height of an early conceptual stage and now seeks opportunities to experiment and demonstrate its functionality. One of the ways we can kick it off is by initiating a small number of pilot projects which will bring people together and produce a direct, visible, and tangible benefit to communities here in Portland, OR, starting at the Guildhall of Community Supported Everything on NE Alberta St, and working out through its extended network of positive change-makers.
The effort will at first be coordinated by word of mouth and aided by various online social networks, while research is conducted into developing an open-source software platform capable of accommodating advanced database management, points distribution, interactive social networking features, community pages, project pages, and so on. There is also the possibility for a crypto-currency to be linked in with the exchange system, but until proof of concept is confirmed, it will all be by hand and very local!
To get involved, keep your eyes on Community Supported Everything, where open project collaboration opportunities, events, and resources will be appearing. If you have a project of your own that you would like to be supported in through our community, explore the following prompts:
“What do I really want?” Describe a creative vision of your own—a project you would like to begin or participate in, possibly something for which you lack the proper resources or connections. This can be an offer or an ask, or a combination of both. A Quest!
“What are the benefits?” In no uncertain terms, describe what value you believe is being offered in this vision, to the benefit of your community and to yourself. Observable, tangible, energetic attributes–all are relevant. In the process, highlight which points of focus work as searchable/linkable/thankable terms, 1-2 words each. Organize into subcategories wherever more detail is appropriate!
“How can others help?” Since most offers will require certain needs to be met, provide a similar breakdown of the required resources, services, and identifying elements which will most effectively enable your offers. Again, organize into subcategories where clarification is appropriate.
**It may help to think visually – I find a tree structure or bubble map to work well, using 1-2 word tags**
More to come!
A big commotion now surrounds the recent advent of decentralized digital money, thanks to the new peer-to-peer crypto-currency Bitcoin, and rightfully so. Essentially an ultra-efficient and ultra-secure medium of exchange requiring no intermediary to facilitate transactions in a global market (and at little to no cost!), Bitcoin appears to be heralding a potential “paradigm-shift” for the financial-system, finally putting the fiat Dollar in a corner. But is it?
The architecture of Bitcoin isn’t flawless, as some have noted, which makes it a fairly risky investment, but in terms of sheer utility, inarguably the technology’s effectiveness qualifies it as a major contender. Even PayPal and Western Union, long synonymous with money transfer, are not-so-quietly falling under the shadow of Bitcoin’s soaring transaction volume. Add to that the news of coins valuing at over $1000 USD, and you have to wonder if there’s something to it after all.
Let’s look at what Bitcoin brings to the table —
Decentralization | Anyone savvy enough with technology can begin “mining” for coins, eventually completing “blocks”, and making some extra money of their own (though this gets more difficult as more CPUs enter the network–see: pooled mining). This means the issuing of currency is available to all and not only reserved for banks and governments. Additionally, the network itself communicates through a mesh of nodes, each one (user, CPU) relaying the necessary information to complete the work, requiring no central mainframe.
P2P | Decentralization of currency in the case of Bitcoin satisfies efficient transferring of funds from A to B without incurring excessive fees from an intermediary. Yet, it does not truly liberate any of its user base from conventional money-systems because the paradigm of scarcity remains intrinsic to the technology. Unlike the credit-clearing of GETS (see Currency Synergy Pt. 1), a real peer-to-peer currency where denominations are freely chosen is not present here.
Transparency | In the Bitcoin environment, each new transaction is recorded into a block chain, which is effectively a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions ever made. With block chains being entirely public by design, and each node (CPU) working collectively (but competitively) to verify all transactions, any fraudulent or devious activity becomes virtually impossible, or otherwise immediately exposed (but that’s not to say people can’t be scammed like with any other currency). Where there is transparency, also is the concern for security.
Anonymity | Though transparency, security, and anonymity are indeed maxims of Bitcoin trading, true privacy cannot be guaranteed. Verification of transactions utilizes cryptographic electronic signatures, using pairs of public and private keys. The anonymous public key (an address which is openly known) defines the recipient of the coin, and its private key pair (known only by the owner) is what unlocks the coin, allowing it to be spent. Identity cannot be extracted from the public key, however it is not outright impossible for a skillful individual to make a determination by using what information is available in the ledger.
Open-Source | Perhaps the coolest thing is that Bitcoin is open-source. The code can be examined, copied, adapted, and tailored to one’s liking. Already we can see variations such as Litecoin, Peercoin, Namecoin, Primecoin, and the list goes on. The latter, Primecoin, replaces the original mining algorithm with another that searches for prime numbers, capitalizing (literally haha) on all that CPU power !!
Now let’s consider what people are not talking about —
Scarcity | Modern, Westernized civilization is so entrained by capitalism that it often forgets to question the fundamental concepts of money. The Bitcoin hysteria is much too analogous to the gold-rush, the black-gold-rush (oil), the black-Friday-rush, and every other competition-crazed grab for rare-commodity to be anything but another reiteration of the old money model—scarcity, ownership, and control. At least in the form it’s predominantly being used. Thankfully Bitcoin is open-source and leaves room for modification!
Machines | Removing the conscious human element from the generating and issuing of a deeply social and energetic utility such as currency is precarious at best. Do we really want or need number-crunching CPUs hunting for cryptographic needles in a cold data haystack determining how our value is accessed? How long before The Machines start giving us orders? But they sure do make good calculators, so there may be hope yet.
Vision | Sure, it may be a slap in the face to central banking and debt-based money systems, which is all well and good, but what purpose does Bitcoin serve if we are no more connected with each other in community, connected with the earth, with the cosmos or with ourselves because of it? Many would retort at this comment, at making any association between money and spirituality. And here lies the root of the scarcity problem, the illusion of separation. That anything is separate from anything else in this universe, that there is not enough for all, and that we can endlessly consume and claim ownership and control it all at the expense of others without repercussion are all an utter illusion.
It is time to break the cycle, step out of adolescence, and realize our potential.
A look into some alternative local currencies reveals very quickly the diversity and profusion of communities everywhere making a concerted effort to go economically off-grid. Each rendition of a Time Bank, a LETS currency, a loyalty system, a barter network, has distinctively presented a platform for exchange capable of supplementing the use of national (fiat) currency with debt-free, money-free solutions. What really gets me going particularly is a concept known as mutual credit, aka credit clearing, or a community exchange system.
One such credit clearing system recently grabbed my attention, pioneered by a Scottish man, Richard Logie, and called GETS (Global Exchange Trading System), indeed employs a type of complementary currency in which the currency used in a transaction can be created at the time of the transaction. Meaning, no prior earning of money is required to begin exchanging. This is what a LETS does of course, but where GETS differs is in its advanced capacity to issue credit based on a matrix of evaluations, making it scalable from small P2P local systems to large B2B enterprise. It is essentially the leading-edge of credit clearing, having the capacity to evolve with the needs of its members and the demands of expanding communities.
Watch this TEDx presentation by Richard himself about the core principles of GETS —
Additional to, and equally critical as, the mechanism of exchange which is currency (energy), is the platform on which we DO the exchanging! In this new age of information, where Internet social media and sharing-economy tools are exploding with energy, we are seeing a tremendous multiplicity of perceived Value representation taking hold. The online environment fundamentally redefines “successful business” by establishing transparent, data-driven norms such as buyer/seller reviews (see eBay), 5-star ratings (see Yelp), vouches, references, and “the story” (see CouchSurfing, AirBnB), likes, comments, subscriptions (see just about everything on the Internet).
We are also seeing a huge influx of modern day peer-to-peer barter networks and resource-sharing and trading platforms collectively known as the collaborative consumption market. Browse the directory, wow! While traversing such a vast and varied landscape of goods and services, it quickly becomes apparent that just about any need can be met in collaborative fashion, many times at no cost, and that there seems to be a recurring method for determining exactly what, when, where, and how these exchanges are fulfilled. And if it’s not hard cash, then it almost certainly revolves around trust, reputation, relationships, and the story.
Check out what Rachel Botsman has to say about it —
All the Internet’s positive reviews, vouches, references, ratings, likes, comments, badges, and accomplishments I see as Prime Value in a digital world, but not in the way it is presently capitalized by those seeking to harvest (extract Energy Value for sale to undisclosed 3rd parties) for profit. Precisely the opposite, actually (thank GOD)!! This information, in a Vectorance environment, becomes CREDIT for the individual RECEIVING the GIFT of the energies represented in that information. Talk about a 180° in how we experience pretty much everything. This of course is also how credit would be perceived in real life—as Gratitude—and this credit can be measured in a number of ways, some of which are demonstrated by Richard Logie’s mutual credit issuing matrix of GETS. In Vectorance, the story means everything.
And it gets more interesting …