Introducing: Interspecies Games

Sovereign Nature Initiative
6 min readSep 22, 2021

(A collaboration between Curve Labs and Weeve)

The inherited logic of the separation underlying the relation between “man” (agency) and “nature” (resources) has led to the exploitation and depletion of ecological diversity from green spaces, in addition to fuelling ideological claims for infinite growth and disregard for externalities. With global warming increasingly breaking havoc all around the world, discussions around how to reverse this negative trend have surged. Many proposals have been made to empower nature with agency of different forms, such as granting a legal persona, categorizing it as a public good, or turning ecosystem services into assets.

Other alternative approaches explore how emerging forms of technology can support the creation of resilient ecosystems. Curve Labs, a team of system architects and mechanism designers, have partnered with Weeve, an IoT platform for generating data value, to form Interspecies Games and present a method. Together, our mission is to find solutions that leverage new capabilities enabled by blockchain technology and data economy in order to redesign the exchange flow between ecological co-habitants.

Interspecies Games tackles the question of how to activate a new collective consciousness that allows us to summon and perpetuate an inter-species agency. We present a suite of Web3 technologies that can be applied in urban parks around the world to build a new form of relationship between a park’s habitants and its ecology. To provide the interface and incentives to accomplish our mission, we have harnessed the power of augmented reality to summon three hybrid entities: the Tree of Life, the Game of Sigils and the Game of Oracles.

Tree of Life

The chief entity which embodies the spirit of the park is the Tree of Life. The Tree has two main objectives: to become self-aware through user interactions and to enrich its relations with its community. On a technical level, the life energy of the Tree is quantified and encoded to the blockchain as a fractionalized NFT, distributing its essence to token holders which establishes the roots for an inclusive governance model, a token economy, and game incentives.

The fractionalized tokens of the Tree of Life will be mainly distributed to the park’s community through funding events and games around the park. The initial fractionalization and bootstrapping liquidity is done on Spectre. Spectre is a protocol for turning NFTs into fungible ERC-20 compatible sERC-20 tokens and will initialize the AMM pool which serves as the primary market for anyone wishing to buy these tokens. This process allows for collective ownership, paving the way for governance via a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). The DAO will be responsible for allocating on-chain resources held by the Tree of Life and the provision of incentives for the games it creates for the community.

While Spectre handles the initial fractalization of the Tree of Life NFT and its initial distribution, park dwellers can further earn tokens either by helping the Tree get to know its ecology (providing data through Game of Oracles) and/or by gaining more awareness of its habitat (acquiring knowledge of the park through Game of Sigils.) We have designed an economic engine through these games that cultivates interspecies engagement with care, knowledge and awareness.

Game of Oracles

Game of Oracles is a game of data crowdsourcing using biodiversity tagging and ecosystem mapping. It is played through Interspecies Games’ web app. Players submit requested photos and associated data (time, geolocation, species) to the game to potentially earn Tree of Life sERC-20 tokens and generative NFT art. The submitted images are selected based on their geolocation and filtered through spam resistance mechanisms, and then passed on to a decentralized arbitration court to determine their validity. Each accepted submission from the arbitration process is entitled to Tree of Life sERC-20 tokens as reward. Moreover, they join a competition where Tree of Life token holders vote on the best submission. The winner of that competition is then entitled to further rewards in the form of sERC-20 tokens and a generative NFT, which will be a unique art piece generated from the submitted image.

Game of Sigils

The Tree of Life raises the ecological awareness of its dwellers through the Game of Sigils. This game directs the dwellers in the park to visit designated locations, becoming more conscious of their environment in the process. Wandering the park, participants hunt for “shrines”, which spawn at the location of past Game of Oracles winners. The location, however, of these shrines are not shared with dwellers, they need to find them. But, there are clues. As a dweller walks around and enters a shrine’s hemisphere, they start to receive prompts and rituals on their phone. Along the way, there are narrative and meditation prompts that encourage attention to more-than-human worlds. When someone arrives at a shrine, they can make an offering in the form of image, text, or sound. Once their offer is accepted by that shrine, they will mint a generative Sigil NFT, and their offering will be archived in that shrine that records the past tributes imbued with the history of the previous activities in the park.

Both games serve as a medium for redefining the human to nature relationship in a park ecosystem. Game of Oracles encourage people to discover the biodiversity around the park, their activities serve as a resource for nature in the form of data accumulation and record keeping of its habitat. Game of Sigils lead the park dwellers to form a deeper relationship with nature, through the spiritual ornaments of the park that continually emerge as long as there are engaged participants.

Stewardship

The park requires a governance system to manage the game incentives, decide the form of weekly quests and allocate funding for unique activities and valuable services. The token owners of the fractionalized Tree of Life NFT care for the park by governing its representative spirit that has the capacity to fund and encourage certain activities. These resources come from its native fractionalized NFT tokens and also from the Ethereum that it collects as people mint new shares to co-own the NFT.

We set up the governance platform on Gnosis Safe, which is a set of governance tools existing on the Ethereum blockchain that allows the owners of a token governing, say, an NFT to natively integrate decentralized decision making processes and treasury management into their organization. The Safe leverages Snapshot Voting that enables drafting proposals and gives voting rights to token holders. By this system the Tree of Life can reward people’s contributions by making them part of the community that governs the ecosystem.

Proposals can include the creation of new games or directing the flow of funds into the three treasuries that sustain the Tree of Life’s impact on the park. These treasuries are: the discretionary pool, oracular incentives, and sigil subsidies. The discretionary pool is open to the token holders to decide how to spend the funds for the park, which might include supporting art galleries and performances to care services. Oracular incentives are funded to reward eligible Game of Oracles participants. Sigil subsidies subsidize the costs of minting new NFTs for the Game of Sigils.

In Sum

Interspecies Games seeks to reformulate human/nature false dichotomy through play-forms leveraging automated logic + game mechanics that facilitate engagement around resource accumulation (information & capital) and collective allocation. The vision of creating a new layer of relationality with nature is not to superimpose an economic logic that turns it into a profitable asset or a charitable object but rather to foster interspecies engagement and coordination towards realizing a not-only-human regenerative economy.

The games provided by the Tree of Life open up new paradigms for , reinforcing thoughtful engagement with our environment. Through these unique interactions we can be made aware of the valuable and precarious state of nature. By enabling communities to appreciate the preciousness of our green spaces through new relations, and empowering them with tools for collective stewardship, we can create decentralized, organic initiatives that aim to reign in our destructive tendencies. Through the mingling of bBlockchain technology, game mechanics, and token economics, we can break the pattern and move together towards a brighter, greener future.

-Curve Labs and Laura Lotti

Curve Labs Twitter: https://twitter.com/curvelabs

Curve Labs Website: https://www.curvelabs.eu

Weeve Website: https://www.weeve.network

Weeve Twitter: https://twitter.com/weeveiot

Interspecies Games in presentation mode at the 2021 Sovereign Nature Initiative Hackathon!

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Sovereign Nature Initiative

Reimagining the relationship between humans and nature. 🌿💡🌎