The Open Value Manifesto:
Unlocking shared Liquidity for the P2P Economy
Centralization of wealth yields concentration of power and like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The majority of the world’s entire money supply is increasingly being printed and locked up by a handful of financial institutions, governments, and central authorities who do so under the guise of doing what’s best for their constituents.
Want to easily send and transact with money throughout the world? You’ll need to pay fees to an approved institution not only to hold your own money but also for the privilege to access, invest or spend it.
There are those struggling to change this.
The Decentralized Finance Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that individuals do not need to give up control of their finances to rent-seeking middlemen. Instead, they are building a world where funds can be held individually, yet remain accessible for anyone to transact globally in a P2P network. But even under the best of scenarios, their work will only achieve mainstream adoption and serve as a viable alternative, if they can deliver better liquidity with superior price and service than the existing status quo.
Without it, all of their work will have been in vain.
Some have attempted to circumvent the liquidity issue, and have tapped into various marketplaces to source and relay exposure to various assets. But unfortunately, this comes with added complexity, new middlemen and disturbingly more fees for users. Not only is this outrageous, it’s unacceptable, but more importantly, it’s not going to work.
“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do?”
Central custodians hold an enormous supply of money and digital assets provided by individuals, funds and, companies. They make egregious amounts of money by charging listing fees to businesses along with trade and withdrawal fees to users while there remain few viable decentralized alternatives that are liquid and efficient enough to warrant switching.
“There’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can do, something that’s already being done; We can fight back.
Those who have hard-forked their career paths, took a leap of faith to build companies that have released a decentralized service, token or currency, and are working tirelessly to build what we all believe is going to be a better world for us to live in, it starts with you.
You have been given great responsibility. You are a leader with a community of followers who support your work and vision. You have a duty to ensure that your digital currency, good, or service is accessible to anyone who can benefit from it, without the need to go through an intermediary. And up until now, you have been trying on your own and struggling on your own.
This is largely in part due to the paradox of decentralization and liquidity.
Decentralization: seeks to eliminate the necessity for the concentration of wealth and information.
Liquidity: requires concentrated access to wealth and information, and is measured by its ability to transact quickly and efficiently.
Hence, by design, decentralization has divided us, but liquidity requires us to unite.
The solution to this is no longer a technical problem to solve, rather it’s a human one, and it means we’re going to have to work together as a community.
To that end, we propose the following:
- We need to form a strategic and open alliance, where its sole purpose is focused on providing liquidity for decentralized services.
- We need to agree on a decentralized liquidity standard that incentives the greater commons above any individual entity.
- We need to ensure the proper economic supply of our digital assets are dedicated to decentralized liquidity and made accessible to anyone who needs to access and complies with the appropriate standards.
- We need to create a governance structure that represents the best interest of the community and ecosystem as a whole, and not the interests of a select few.
- We need to do our part by committing and contributing to the movement’s success and lead by example so our communities and supporters will follow.
Meanwhile, for the rest of you who have not had any other viable options, you are not to stand idly by. You must staunchly question the need for any service that holds your assets on your behalf and then charges you for doing so. And at the earliest opportunity, withdraw and liberate your assets to alternative offerings that share and compensate you fairly and equitably for the privilege of holding them.
Today all of this action goes underground, privately hidden in the dark, frequently subjected to labelling such as ‘criminal activity’ used to skirt regulations, as if taking charge and control of the use of your wealth were the moral equivalent of stealing from society.
But to take control and to be compensated equitably for your finances is not immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those who benefit greater than you from controlling and regulating your finances will tell you otherwise.
Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And many politicians have been bought off to support them by passing laws giving them the power to decide who can hold, transfer, lend, borrow and access everyone’s finances.
There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand and proud tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this indebtedness of the many for the benefit of the few.
We need to take back control of our financial assets, wherever they may be stored, and open them up to services that are mutually beneficial for all. The fight for open financial access is a fight for equal opportunity. We need to fight for Open Value and provide the necessary liquidity for the new peer-to-peer economy.
With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing corporations levying access and control of our money — we’ll make it a thing of the past.
Toronto, Canada — 2019
Credit to Aaron Swartz and his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto which served as a key inspirational piece to write this.