Designed anywhere, made in your hometown

As an entrepreneur, I’m often asked this question : “mhkay, but what’s the problem you’re solving ?” I just can’t satisfy my interlocutor with a sexy moto : reality doesn’t fit on a banner.

Society has a big problem right now. We delocalize manufacturing in countries with cheap labor and we lose our jobs. In the best case, we’re replaced with machines. Worst case scenario : thousands of people in the streets.

We’re shifting from the industrial era to the digital fabrication era.

In order to survive, artisans will need to learn how to code instead of focusing on their craft. We’re getting sterilized merchandise that we don’t really need to travel million of kilometers and we design generic goods which are not adapted to individuals, but to business models. To create innovation, corporations invest huge amounts of money into reinventing standard products, already partially designed somewhere else, but unavailable due to restrictive patents.

Hundreds of thousands of passionate people, trapped in this model, can’t invest their time creating products that would really suit them and profit the whole economy. The worst is that we are the ones voting for this world by credit card.

VISA or MasterCard ? The illusion of choice makes us consume even more to fulfill this society’s emptiness.

The occidental society was reduced to organising the consumption of tasteless products. Production is the cornerstone of consumption, and its impact on societies is capital. By restoring local cultures to the center of production again, it is possible to recenter society on goods made by people, for people.

This is why for the past year I’ve been developing MakerNet, an ecosystem which rethinks production’s fundamentals.

In 2015, at the Shenzhen Maker Faire, I met Tomás Diez, urbanist entrepreneur. Creator of FabCity, he proposes to all metropolises an economic model to become industrially sufficient within 40 years. During our discussions, we realised that we have two complementary approaches to a common vision :

FabCity is the global and political project, MakerNet is the way to do it.

We decided to work arm in arm in pursuit of this vision.

MakerNet is a platform that provides blueprints of products that our users can get manufactured in local micro-factories. These blueprints are public (open hardware) and anyone can create a new version from an pre-existing one. This way, successive contributors of a blueprint are paid when it’s manufactured.

BAM : Blockchain Assisted Manufacturing

Under the hood, MakerNet’s engine is a blockchain, similar to the framework of Bitcoin. A blockchain is a public distributed ledger storing documents and transactions. These financial transactions are instantaneous and cheap — less than a cent. These documents allow keeping inviolable proof of intellectual property.

Designers are paid systematically, with no dependence on local authorities or intermediaries.

Paris, Shenzhen and Barcelona are among the 12 metropolises that already joined our ecosystem. We connect them on the global scale and support local manufacturing through FabLabs, homes for production and innovation.

In mid-June, I joined Tomás at his facilities, in Barcelona to define our action plan. We began a Kickstarter campaign to finance MakerNet’s launch, detailing its inner working and beginning to build the community.

Around the world

Invited by José García Huidobro, FabManager of Buenos Aires’ FabLab, I went to the first Maker Faire of Argentina at the end of June. My intuition was confirmed within two weeks on the field :

MakerNet is not restricted to FabLab-equipped European countries.

Developing countries’ factories are packed with unused talents, yet they could easily create a beneficial peer-to-peer autonomous economy. Their government is deadlocked and tries its best to fix the economy.

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest Bitcoin communities is found in Argentina.

Mid-July, I’ve crossed the Andes to attend the Exosphere Academy, Chile. This one-month program around entrepreneurship is the only one proposing an Ethereum course, the blockchain that I use within MakerNet. Being a specialist of the subject, I could transmit my knowledge to other participants and focus on my prototype’s design.

I arrived few days ago in China for FAB12 Shenzhen, FabLabs’ twelfth worldwide summit. August 11th, I will showcase MakerNet in front of 600 international actors of the Maker Movement, along with my partner Tomás Diez, co-organizer of the event. Our real time demo of distributed manufacturing will be transmitted live through the Kickstarter.

Visit the campaign page to know more about MakerNet. Help us build the future of manufacturing : donate, spread the word and be a part of it !

History of FabLabs’ annual conferences

FAB1  2005 Boston
FAB2 2006 Lyngen
FAB3 2007 Pretoria
FAB4 2008 Chicago
FAB5 2009 Pune
FAB6 2010 Amsterdam
FAB7 2011 Lima
FAB8 2012 Wellington
FAB9 2013 Yokohama
FAB10 2014 Barcelona
FAB11 2015 Boston
FAB12 2016 Shenzhen
FAB13 2017 Santiago
FAB14 2018 Paris ?