by Diego Espinosa
Back up. That’s what we need to do in order to solve the world’s biggest problems.
We don’t just need to think about solutions. The problems we face, collectively, are new. They challenge old frameworks and require up-dated ones. That’s a big part of the reason why we, as a society and a species, seem stuck, unable to adapt to an existential threat.
We need to back up, and re-think how we address problems in the first place. The problems we face are systemic. We need a common way of approaching them, one that recognizes the true nature of systems and injects it into our design process. …
Somewhere along the line, circa 2017, regulators inadvertently pushed the term “utility token” (aka “not a security token”) into widespread use. It’s now a fait accompli — too late to change the name. This is too bad. It is misleading and harmful to token markets. It implies that tokens should be judged on how much utility they create.
Instead, they should be judged on how much new value the token enables through cooperation.
I propose calling that value Marginal Commons Value, or MCV.
Why inject the word commons? It neatly identifies the type of value being created. All blockchain-based decentralized projects operate as a commons. That commons starts out as a shared ledger and set of smart contracts; it then adds resources (identity, reputation, expertise, data, assets, etc.) from the participants themselves. Providing shared access to these resources is not enough: in the absence of a central authority, some kind of incentive mechanism must exist to align incentives and prevent a commons tragedy. …
(That Frees Our Commons)
It is a hub and spoke world. We just live in it.
The token wire cutters are coming. Commonists will wield them. They will use them to free the commons.
Commonists will return the commons’ scarce resources, not to their rightful owners, but to their users. This is like cutting the barbed wire around rolling green pastures, and waiting for the bison and the wildflowers and the wolves to return.
Return isn’t the best word. Tokens don’t take us backward. They take us forward. They will make Web 2.0 look like a brief interlude, a roughly 25-year period between the invention of the Internet commons and the invention of commons nested within the Internet. …
And Why It’s Making Us So Uneasy
In a dream, people wander into a meadow. Sunlight filters through a topaz sky. You encounter people, fall into conversation about their ideas, health and relationships. It seems effortless, so easy to switch back and forth between small groups. Yet, you don’t feel at ease. A sense of wariness tugs at you. It’s as if you can trust the people but not the place. Why would that be? You wake up.
We are in the process of waking up to a new way of thinking about late capitalism’s effect on the commons. It shines a light not just on the nature of our current unease, one founded on a lack of trust. …
Commons (def.): Something belonging to the whole of a community.
What is a blockchain token for? Why and when is it needed? In the token market, billions now ride on the answer to those questions. Beyond the money involved, though, there is a great deal more at stake. Blockchain tokens may be heralding the ending of an era.
That era is often referred to as “late stage capitalism,”. Annie Lowry, an economics writer for The Atlantic, recently dedicated a piece to the term. She notes that malcontents have tossed it around since Marx, in other words for a at least a hundred years. …
“The world is complex. It is growing more so, perhaps exponentially.”
Has said possibly every generation in modern times. Yet, there is something tangible about that “exponential” part today, something concrete that sets this age apart from the others.
That something is digital. Digital creates an imperative for science and design to get together and address the challenge of complexity. Not just any science, though. Specifically, the sciences that have to do with network behavior.
Digital is a tool, just like a lathe or a screwdriver. We use it to manufacture things. What sort of things? Networks. Newly minted ones pour out of our smart phones like widgets from a factory. …