Social Currencies – Bloom Network Regenerative Economic Protocol

Summary & Context

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
  • Black entrepreneurs
  • 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 
  • artists
  • 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
  • peer validators
  • 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
  • carbon sequestration
  • 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
    • garden, composting
  • at their ecovillage
    • cleaning
    • cooking
    • making tinctures
    • looking after each other
    • working in a cohesive way
  • Why incentivize
    • 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
  • How incentivize
    • receive a coupon to use in a local store in town
    • in progress

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.

Token Engineering Commons – realigning incentives around public goods

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.

Mushroom City Art Festival Oct 1-4 2020

Mushroom City Art Festival Oct 1-4 2020

This year’s Mushroom City Art Festival hosted in connection with Bloom Baltimore is online!! That means you can attend from wherever you live. Head to their website to register and see the schedule. October 1-4, beaming to you from Baltimore on the East Coast of the U.S.

At Mushroom City Art Festival, you can experience mushroom foraging, nature art trail walks, lectures, live music, all ages art workshops, interactive art installations and more!!

Sculptures, paintings, film, and music inspired by this mysterious mycelial life form will be featured alongside hands on workshops and educational discussions revealing the many real world applications for mushroom cultivation in contemporary urban life. Mushroom City is also a space to build community aligned with and beside the wonders of our natural world.

This year’s festival theme:

Reciprocal restoration is the mutually reinforcing restoration of land and culture such that repair of ecosystem services contributes to cultural revitalization, and renewal of culture promotes restoration of ecological integrity. Based on the indigenous stewardship principle that ‘what we do to the land we do to ourselves’ restoration of land and culture are inseparable. This approach arises from a creative symbiosis between traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and restoration science, which honors and uses the distinctive contributions of both intellectual traditions. Reciprocal restoration recognizes that it is not just the land that is broken, but our relationship to it. Reciprocal restoration encompasses repair of both ecosystem and cultural services while fostering renewed relationships of respect, responsibility, and reciprocity. All flourishing is mutual.” Dr. Robin Kimmerer ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞ #mushroomcityartfestival#mushroomcityvirtualartfestival2020#plantmedicine#reciprocalrestoration

Educar+ Education, Culture and Social Currency in Brazil

Educar+ Education, Culture and Social Currency in Brazil

by Flávia Gonçalves Macêdo
reposted from Bloom’s member forum

Dear all, I would like to ask a little space and support to share two projects I am involved in and really proud of and also to share a bit of my story.

I am Flávia, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I am the co-founder of an NGO called Educar+. I first joined it in 2017 when it was just a social project where we gathered a bunch of books, volunteers, and kids from favelas. I was driven there by my intention to make a difference in the lives of children of color like me but who did not have the opportunities I had; and also because I did not grow up in a favela so I knew nothing about the reality of their experiences to judge or propose any solution, I needed to know it up close.

So I did, I went there and expanded my bubble. I came to know a childhood completely different from mine, with harsh and violent realities, with many ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t want to’ but with a lot of cleverness, joy, and rhythm. It was all very physical, precocious, and real, there was little room for fantasy and imagination.

That’s why I started as a volunteer reading books, then I came back with my own stories, then I created the elephant Tobias and the magical world of Elefantópolis, then I gave an audiovisual workshop and encouraged them to create their own stories, and more recently, during the pandemics, we’ve developed a Game with virtual pedagogical support. Here are some photos of me during this journey ( https://www.instagram.com/p/CFqHmQAJcO0/?utm_sou… ).

Last week we registered as an NGO, it was a great achievement as we are a group of young women with a lot of willingness to give our best to our communities and presenting other perspectives of future for our kids, but with no business background. Our fundraising has been always punctual with donations of goods and services by our volunteer network. And to change that we are doing our first crowdfunding to support the work of two of our women leaders, they also live at the favela and are more actively working with the kids, and also to support the completion of the Game with have developed.

The proposal of this Game is to develop self-directed learning tracks as we go through four main topics (self-knowledge, citizenship, environmental consciousness, and futurism). So each kid has their own tutor, who presents content and challenges around the topic, then kids are rewarded in a social currency as they complete the challenges. They are introduced to a monetary system that is abundant to them and circulates only within the community, and through it, they can have access to goods and services from local entrepreneurs. The main goal of the Game is to provoke questioning ( who they are, how they behave as a community, how their community is interacting with Gaia, and how are we designing our future) and to tricker their curiosity and encourage self-learning practices.

That’s why I am here, to request support in our Game’s crowdfunding ( benfeitoria.com/GameEducarMais ). There are only 2 DAYS LEFT until the end of the campaign so I am currently talking to everybody about it on a last attempt to get closer to our goal. And as an international community, your contribution may have a multiplication power as our Brazilian currency is so devalued.

Besides the beauty of the work we’ve been doing in Educar+, this crowdfunding is additionally special because the contribution made can be reimbursed in a social currency called MUDA. It’s also the currency that is rewarded to the kids and circulates in their local community and a project I am also part of.

Muda is a network created by a group of artists, teachers, hackers, and dreamers that has it’s own non-convertible social currency and seeks to encourage cultural, educational, and socio-environmental actions (such as Educar+) by experimenting with alternative economies based on joy and abundance. We have more than 700 users in our blockchain platform and more than 100 offerings from various places in Brazil.

Here are both projects’ Instagram, which is our main communication platform.

Educar+ – https://www.instagram.com/projeto.educar.mais/

Muda – https://www.instagram.com/mudaoutraseconomias/

Unfortunately, most of our communication is in Portuguese. I am really starting now to communicate these projects throughout the globe.

But if anyone is interested in knowing more about any of the projects I would love to talk about them and clarify any question. I am already grateful for the attention and any support that might come from this post.

Bloom Zoom

Bloom Zoom

hands in a circle planting

Did you know that Bloom Network is entirely based on collaboration? Rather than circumscribing existing groups under one umbrella, Bloom members collaborate with each other to create well-being in their communities.

One way to illustrate this is to share what Bloom core team members are hosting with our Zoom account! Bloom itself hosts a monthly community call to bring together diverse movement leaders to share information and resources with each other. Hannah Mitchell, the Community Support person for Bloom who is based in Whangarei, New Zealand, hosts local Cub Scout meetings, “art church”, regional Burn events, and more. Dani Gennety, a Technology Community Relations manager with Giveth focusing on how to use technology to support grassroots causes, uses the Zoom to host everything from fundraising meetings, to a decentralized hot tub party, to knowledge shares among movement leaders, and even to help coordinate building a literal bridge.

Bloom members enjoy specially convened sessions to workshop their projects and receive peer development support from people working on similar initiatives as them, or with similar goals. Together we help each other develop ideas, be creative, and resource our projects with what they need to be effective in the world.

Truly 21st century interactive TV.

Come play! Learn about what network activities are happening each month via our email Love Letter, or register as a member to participate in the full collaboration spaces across Bloom Network.

Distributed Manufacturing // Bioregional Production

This wiki article is the anchor for Bloom’s ongoing topic of Distributed Manufacturing and Bioregional Production, or more simply, Localized Production. Every six months we host a webcall on this topic featuring movement leaders, and we document the projects and practices that are shared during it. We might eventually break this out into specific wikis on each topic, as there is so much happening within each of them. Enjoy these absolutely inspiring projects and practices. We encourage you to find the ones happening in your region or start one, and you’re always welcome to start a local Bloom chapter to help bring people together around localized production where you live.

Reports and transcripts from calls so far: August 17 2020, with guests Kevin Carson, Josephine Watson, and Lorenzo Kristov.

 

Regional Agriculture

These are simply a handful of organizations we’ve come across. There are surely similar groups all over the world. In Africa there are regenerative agriculture and permaculture farming networks that teach families and neighborhoods to do smallholder ag and rainwater catchment instead of monocropping. In South America and North America, there are networks supporting Indigenous communities to acquire seeds that their ancestors would have traditionally grown for food sovereignty. There is also a whole field called “landscape restoration”, where people create integrated crop businesses to bring back forest or degraded lands, in collaboration with NGO’s and corporate sponsors.

Organizations

3D Printing & Micro Manufacturing

      Networks of makers use 3D printing to localize production of common manufactured goods. There are people connected with Bloom who are making apps to connect these kinds of products to help people transition to localized economies in affordable ways that build relationships among neighbors and across a region.

FYI it’s possible to 3D print with hemp plastic, technically biodegradable if you have access to a commercial composting facility that gets hot enough to break it down.

 

  • Open Source Ecology – open source industrial machines
  • Open Source Medical Supplies
  • OpenStructures is a framework to allow interoperability between different projects. It’s like a common design language so that people can easily federate different local manufacturing projects. 
  • MakerNet – helping Makers and Makerspaces thrive and evolve into an interconnected ecosystem of skills, tools, resources, and ideas
  • Lulzbot – 3D printer using open source software and hardware

 

[forthcoming blog post] Vision for converting malls to local maker oases – community use centers with food, healing and arts cooperatives, and shared toolsheds.

Electricity

 

Organizations

  • Democratising Energy with Lorenzo Kristov, electrical engineer who works with city and state agencies, power companies, and citizens to transfer ownership of power to neighborhood and civilians.
  • Our Power Campaign – one of the things this campaign does is push against the installation of new fossil fuel plants in low income communities of color, and install community-owned solar plants instead.
  • Geli – decentralized energy storage solutions

Cooperatives

Cooperatives are a form of business that encourages community ownership over resources and self-sovereignty with labor relationships. They’re an excellent way to support localized production, and they can federate together to reduce risk and pool purchasing power, etc. Usually in a cooperative, each worker has a vote in the direction of the company. It tends to make healthier and more effective relationships between managers and employees, reducing inefficiencies and improving culture as well as equitable financial dynamics. Cooperatives are also more resilient to collapse. If a business is going under, one option is to convert it to a worker owned cooperative instead.

Organizations

  • Cooperation Jackson – commons space local economy with micro manufacturing, community land trusts, etc.
  • Mondragon – federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain, and internationally

Recycling

Precious Plastic – neighbourhood scale plastic recycling – transform plastic into useable objects