In the tradition of the Open Offices of Robin Hood Cooperative, ECSA organised an extended weekend of intense open workshops in Oakland November 11.-14 under the title Open Source the Economy OS. We believe that economic, social and technological trends are converging so that we can design and build tools to take more control over the operating system of the economy. Unexpected breakthroughs happen when software architects developing distributed computing and smart contract platforms, thinkers of finance who can work its ideological and organizational potentiality, legal hackers, political activists and social experimenters capable of engaging in such design, artists who are imagining new economic worlds come together in an inclusive atmosphere.
This time, the plan was to focus on some of the most interesting economic spaces we have encountered through our networks: Household Union, Adventure Capital, Robin Hood Hedge Fund and the Debt Collective. We also introduced Agoric, a distributed smart contracts platform for the creation of decentralized governance.
In the core of these developments is the concept of economic spaces, and the “econauts” (economic astronauts) that explore and architect them. Economic spaces consist of the immaterial and material systems of attractors that give shape to how people create and interact together. These vibratory organizations are the next generation P2P financial tools which we are now designing and building. They enable us to:
- easily create, launch and capture value on the economic spaces we create;
- to make liquid, both socially and financially, what we want to do
- to risk and speculate together, to open joint opportunities, to share stakes and ownerships, to bootstrap things into existence out of nothing.
One of the highlights of the workshop was a discussion of the Agoric technology by ECSA CTO Jorge Lopez. Jorge presented a Whitepaper Draft preview and invited interested parties to collaborate. The technology is heavily indebted to the capabilities framework by Mark S. Miller. Having the legendary software inventor Miller attend the workshop was a real treat, and his positive analysis of the possibilities of Agoric was more gratifying still.
Bridge financing ICO & Synthetic Instruments
Another important topic on the agenda was financing. Recently, the classic VC model has been increasingly challenged by an ICO model when it comes to companies and organisations in the FinTech area. ECSA has been greatly helped and inspired by Rafe Furst’s inventive approach to ICO-like funding. In the workshop, Rafe presented a bridge financing model that models an ICO more as a pre-sale than a security. We are seriously considering that model for ECSA’s next financing round towards Agoric technology. Watch this space!
On the more experimental side, the workshop discussed the use of financial technologies (such as options, shorting, synthetic instruments). The artist duo Goldin & Senneby inspired everyone with their superb activist and artist shorting activities. Combined with the philosophical and critical insights into contemporary working life and value creation presented by our guests from Senselab, Montreal, including Erin Manning and Brian Massumi, these ideas resulted in questions such as ”Can you short a representation of a idea?” put forward by a participant. It is precisely these, at first blush, impossible or incongruent questions, that we find are the salt of these kinds of open sessions. They are the key for opening new economic spaces.
Economic Space Station = Open Garage
The experience was so rewarding and exhilarating that we have decided to continue with this experimental “Economic Space Station”. More prosaically, the ECSA garage in Oakland will be open for meetups on Saturdays, starting with a Whitepaper Drafting session on November 26.
We are calling for all aspiring and imaginative next-generation econauts and ecotects (economic architects) to join us in our exploration to create an economy of abundance for the commons, and prosperity for all!