My first Cambiatus post will share experiences participating at Muda Outras Economias, a Brazilian network with the purpose of experimenting other economies based on happiness and abundance. The Muda network uses the Cambiatus platform to create and maintain its own social currency: MUDA.
The word MUDA in Portuguese means “to change” when used as a verb “mudar”, but it also means “seedling”. MUDA was codesigned by artists, professors, hackers, surfers, cultural producers, and above all, dreamers. It’s a collective that promotes cultural activities and conscious actions. The seeds of change!
The movement started more than 20 years ago, and was initiated by activists, that participate on different initiatives such as: CASA — Cooperativa de Artistas Autônomos, Grupo Pedras de Teatro, Teatro de Anônimo, Anjos do Picadeiro — Encontro Internacional de Palhaços, UFRJ — Coordenação do Curso de Pós Graduação Artes da Cena, Centro de Tradições Egi Omin — Cultura Afro Brasileira, Cordão do Boitatá, Jataí, Saúva and Manifesta Capital.
Huge thanks to Saúva, a philanthropic organization that enables the network to operate, funding the team that works to maintain and engage the community and many of the cultural projects mentioned above.
MUDA reinforces the values of trust, freedom, justice, and care. By using MUDAs, our community recognizes the value generated by collective actions, establishes trades, and collaborates towards common objectives.
The social currency was launched in December 2019, and it was based on few agreements, including that 1 MUDA is equal to 1 Real. This was a decision to facilitate exchanges between members. Since MUDA is not exchangeable by FIAT money (Reais, Brazilian national currency), members know in advance that they will have to use their tokens inside the network. Today we have more than 750 members, from towns all across Brazil, but most of the community is based in Rio de Janeiro, where the movement began.
To earn MUDAs, members can either perform one of the conscious actions listed in the muda.cambiatus.io website or participate in a crowdfunding campaign, led by one of MUDA’s partners.
Among others, examples of conscious actions that can be claimed in the platform are:
meditating 20 minutes | 20 MUDA
a day without eating meat | 10 MUDA
planting a three | 100 MUDA
reading a book | 20 MUDA
a day of volunteer work | 100 MUDA
collaborating with donations to selected projects | 1 MUDA for every 1 Real donated.
These actions are approved by a group of network initiators. The approval policy is: we trust that our community members actually did the actions they claim. If they claim and action that they didn’t perform, it’s up to them and their karma. If there is any suspicious activity, like a person claiming the same action many times, someone from the MUDA team reaches out to the member and tries to understand the case 🙂
Also, this group of network initiators decides any changes regarding what actions are rewarded and by how many MUDA. In the future, the decision-making process will evolve to a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), to elect custodians, and improve its governance model. For now, members trust the network initiators and their decisions — based on their track record and great intentions.
Community engagement is growing organically. Today, more than 1,600 actions were performed and 60,000 MUDAs are in circulation. By now, around 300 purchases were done through the community marketplace.
In the MUDA shop, one can find many different products and services offered: building a website, books, dance and English lessons, reiki therapy, online tarot reading, financial consultancy, startup mentorship, and organic food baskets that you can get delivered to your home in selected cities (Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte).
So far our journey has been great, despite the challenges that COVID-19 imposed on the MUDA community during this year. In times of crisis, people look for alternatives, and MUDA is flourishing in this context.
In my next post, I’ll talk about MUDA’s initiatives and partnerships, that use crowdfunding campaigns, online festivals, and other tools to engage our community into experimenting other economies based on happiness and abundance.
Diamante Bloom in Costa Rica hosted a training on December 4, 2020, to teach their community how to use digital wallets, exchange crypto, and about basic tokenomics. The workshop happened at Diamante Luz.
The desired outcome was to have everyone send regular money for the workshop (cash, PayPal, Venmo) and the facilitators send participants crypto to donate on GitCoin Grants that support Diamante Bridge Collective’s goals in creating a nano nation with regional food and economic flourishing. For example, Giveth, Gaia Giveth, Bloom Network, and Commons Stack.
This was successful! 12 newbies got onboarded to Ethereum and contributed to these organizations. Diamante Bridge Collective at work! 😆 And, Bloom Network decided to replicate this event format and host a similar training on Sunday, December 13.
When: Sunday, December 13 2020, 5-6pm Eastern US Time
Where: Bloom Network’s Discord, in the Video Chat channel: https://discord.gg/AmgxJuQkas (Discord is a chat program built by/for gaming communities.)
What: Learn how to use Ethereum and cryptocurrency, by donating any amount large or small to Bloom Network’s grant on Gitcoin. Bloom’s community team will help you get set up with a digital wallet and exchanging crypto. And help answer basic questions you have.
Wait, what are all those things? Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual currency secured by cryptography. Ethereum is a global decentralized platform for digital money and distributed applications. Gitcoin is a website for developers to learn, earn money through doing tasks for various projects, and to network with projects and communities. Gitcoin grants is a platform for people to fundraise for open source projects for public benefit, with donations multipled through matching grants sponsored by donors in the Ethereum ecosystem.
With a basic ability to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, you can participate in digital organizations and begin to gain a deeper sense of what these technological breakthroughs mean for autonomy and collaboration. We know our community has a hard time knowing how to filter signal from noise in this area, so this workshop is intended to help you gain a practical foothold to start with.
This workshop is inspired by Gitcoin’s grants program, and the local workshop that Bloom Diamante in Costa Rica did. Check out Bloom’s grant and many more beautiful impact-oriented open source projects here: https://gitcoin.co/grants/?keyword=bloom%20network
An example of the kinds of things we can be doing to transform narratives around climate change, is helping design “how-to” guides for our local communities, on putting into practise hands-on regenerative practises that will help the bio-region. In this way, the public become more informed in a way that allows them to take practical action in their own backyard.
There are often local funding sources you can tap into to help alleviate the costs in making these kinds of things.
Here is an example of an application I submitted earlier in the year, a proposal around Urban Soil Regeneration.
“Sharing soil wisdom to regenerate the health of urban soils, creating quality soils for growing, and contributing to flood mitigation and carbon sequestration in urban areas.”
Bloom Network is about sharing this kind of ideas, information and applications with each other, so that we can learn faster about the possibilities of installing regenerative projects into our bio-regions.
This wiki article documents and aggregates the progress that several local Bloom chapters are making to develop social currencies, for the purpose of incentivizing regenerative actions.
Bloom Network is a distributed global network that is governed by its local chapters and members in a peer-to-peer way. Over the coming year we are formalizing our cooperative economic relationships, and coding them into a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), sometimes called a “programmable organization.”
The design considerations documented below will help us incentivize people to participate in regenerative actions. Our goal with these efforts is to provide greater visibility and accessibility to the general public to participate in and support regenerative economies.
Why is this necessary? Many of today’s most critical activities are not economically rewarded. While efforts such as mainstream economic development, social impact investing, the Sustainable Development Goals, UBI, and more are trying their best to address these gaps, Bloom Network believes that direct action self-organized by citizens in their neighborhoods and bioregions is also necessary to quickly resolve today’s challenges. To build power together, we are creating peer-to-peer economic relationships at the same time as we build bridges with holders of institutional capital.
Below you will find a summary of social currency experiments and design considerations that are being developed in local Bloom chapters around the world. You will also find links to other networks that we consider to be experts in this field.
Bloom Rio de Janeiro
(social currency in use with 1,000 people)
Cambiatus is a network in South and Central America focused on empowering cooperatives to use social currencies and technologies like blockchain to organize and achieve their common social and environmental goals. Their FAQ is an excellent knowledge base that helps people find how best to make a successful social currency.
Muda is a Brazilian network with the purpose of experimenting other economies based on happiness and abundance. The word MUDA in Portuguese means “to change” when used as a verb “mudar”, but it also means “seedling”. Read more in this article by Luiz Hadad.
Here are some highlights of what Muda and Cambiatus incentivize with their social currencies:
regenerative or conscious actions
plant a tree
read a book
meditate for 20 minutes
create offers in the network
provide support to street artists and other projects
for contributing to crowdfunding projects, people get refunded in mudas
incentivize people to buy Black – people who buy from Black-owned businesses receive mudas, and the entrepreneurs receive them as well
learn from muda/cambiatus resources, get rewarded in mudas
organic food baskets from regenerative agriculture
CSAA – community sustained agriculture… and arts!
day of volunteer work
help an elder person
walk somewhere instead of drive
people can use muda to purchase classes such as guitar, stretching, or tarot reading
One cannot exchange muda for real money, however Cambiatus is integrating fiat payments into their system so people can pay in either muda or fiat currency (such as the Brazilian real).
How Muda has gained successful community adoption
high touch not high tech
creativity and trusting our community
a sense of ownership
explaining bugs, how to do things, and how to get in contact with someone who can help
community support emerged spontaneously – peer-to-peer support on how to use the platform, answering questions etc
peer-empowering change is a key in people’s minds
this is ours, design it in a way that suits us
sense of belonging
Bloom Hudson Valley, New York
(social currency in early stage of design)
True North is an ecovillage that is demonstrating a model for regenerative community to thrive, and acting as a hub for regional regenerative agricultural development. They’re interested in creating a circular economy within the space and the larger Hudson Valley. They want to support people moving through the space to plug in with local projects.
targets or metrics for value creation
coherence of heartbeats of residents – things that improve that
insights on universal understanding of value as we plug multiple locations into this framework of understanding to regenerate Earth
quantify the value of adding to the regenerative process
at their ecovillage
looking after each other
working in a cohesive way
collective decision-making on resource distribution
effective shared responsibility of what’s being produced in the space and taken care of in the space
visibility/transparency on who doing what, who needs what, and who has what that they want to offer
more easily share money, skills, or time in effective, nourishing ways
receive a coupon to use in a local store in town
True North is an example of a local Bloom who would like to connect with the international Bloom Network to collaborate on larger scale projects.
Bloom Diamante, Costa Rica
They are a network of farms in the Diamante region of Costa Rica, a mix of ex-pats and Ticos. They are also connected with Giveth which builds new digital philanthropy tools. Giveth made an informal way to acknowledge contributions, called PraiseBot. It works with Telegram and outputs to a spreadsheet for now.
Why they’re working on a local social currency:
bridging digital tools that help more transparently and accountably track the exchanges of the people working together locally and with other places
to support greater health and equity in our lands, communities, and ourselves, in a connected way
to share what they’ve developed locally in an open-source way
track contributions effectively
have value established for the contributions
balance that with fiat funding coming in, to distribute it and have shared agreements about who gets what for what they give
for governance: make sure to include all voices when deciding where to place collective energy
to effectively track impact and establish value to those contributions
Bloom Network (International)
People who contribute labor to Bloom Network can receive FLO (Flowers) for their contributions.
Forms to log a contribution or propose a scope of work.
Taskboard of what you can help with. (This will get upgraded with a list of regenerative actions you can do in your home, neighborhood or workplace.)
To simplify how the global Bloom Network exchanges value, and to retain local autonomy, we are looking into using four tokens to represent value circulating in each layer of Bloom Network: local, working groups, international network, and… art with its own currency layer. Each token would be based on a current that occurs in nature, to remind us all to root our financial exchanges in harmony with natural world.
Brendan Maher of MIT Media Lab has recommended that Bloom Network craft a protocol for different local currencies to interconnect, to support regenerative development.
Bloom is designing a “Regenerative Actions Ticker” for our homepage, to make visible the inspiring actions that people are doing all around the world. This could be integrated with the token design, as the validation forms could feed into this ticker. The goal is just to have a transparent dashboard of real-time activity in the network, to counteract gloomy and demotivating media narratives. This dashboard will also have clear lines of sight to where to get involved locally or learn the skills to do the action being displayed.
Partner Organizations with Bloom Network Who are Experts in The Field of Social Currency Design
Grassroots Economics – Through Community Inclusion Currencies people have a way to exchange goods and services and incubate projects and businesses, without relying on scarce national currency and volatile markets.
MetaGame – a peer incubation community similar to Bloom but anchored in web3, digital development projects. MetaGame and Token Engineering Commons use a tool called SourceCred that tracks contributions on GitHub, Discord, and Discourse forum activity, to be rewarded in the digital tokens. MetaGame is also building a web3 profiles system that has the potential to reduce the issue among social good networks where people have to create six different profiles to interact with the different communities they’re part of.
Other movements related to social currencies include: timebanking, complementary currencies, and LETS systems.