ReportBack: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

ReportBack: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

By Magenta Ceiba, executive director, Bloom Network

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Decentralized Web Summit, which gathered something like 600 people to collaborate, communicate and engage communities about the decentralized protocols and apps that are being developed for a peer-to-peer internet.

You can watch the livestreams of many of the talks on the Internet Archive’s Youtube page.

What is the decentralized web?

Wired has you covered: https://www.wired.com/story/the-decentralized-internet-is-here-with-some-glitches/

Why did I go?

I view Bloom Network as a DAO, but a physical community of people. We work on IRL decentralization and global decentralization of power and resources. Local Bloom leaders have their ears on the ground connected with multiple different movements and community needs. They help guide the direction of our global community – where we allocate resources, how we develop our website and communication channels, and how we govern ourselves as a collective.

Bloom Network founders initially found each other through an online social network that dissolved. We’ve known people are developing the kinds of web tools we need to facilitate communication and resource-sharing, so we’ve been waiting until they’re done rather than try to build them in house. So I was at the Summit to learn what tools exist now and where they’re at in terms of usability. To my great heartwarming surprise… I discovered that the community around them is ahmazing!!!

What did I learn?

One of the sessions I attended was a panel on decentralized governance, with representatives from Aragon, Protocol Labs, and COALA. One of the concepts Matt Zumwalt from Protocol Labs discussed was how to dampen information without censoring people. For example, on Twitter sometimes women coders are using block lists, where there are known harassers. Instead of kicking someone off a platform, that’s one decentralized way to dampen signal flows. Aragon will be working on testing/researching best practices for making different governance bodies audible to each other in a decentralized network, so information and decisions get to where they need to.

The opening night had a talk with Cory Doctorow interviewing Mike Judge, the creator of HBO’s Silicon Valley, Beavis and Butt-Head, Office Space, and King of the Hill. It was a joy to hear Mike talk, definitely the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head.

I learned that an exciting thing about blockchain technologies is that they’re open, meaning anyone can fork a tool and build off what’s already been created, rather than creating competing proprietary gardens. This, combined with the huge amount of capital that is flowing in the space, makes for rapid iterations of the technologies.

One thing I appreciated about networking and talking with people in this community was how open and generous people were about sharing information and tools. There’s a general spirit of open collaboration and deep curiosity. It *is* a decentralized collaborative ecosystem and it’s endlessly fascinating. I’m eager to wade in deeper!

I spoke with a woman from Omisego, which is an organization working on providing banking services to the unbanked through decentralized exchange of cryptocurrencies and fiat. Many countries don’t have banks, so sending money from another country to family back home in that country tends to be very expensive. It’s also hard to get loans from a normal bank if for example a farmer doesn’t have a title to the land they live on. That issue often comes up at regenerative agriculture meetups I’ve attended over the years. This is one example of where connecting one decentralization movement with another can create positive, symbiotic impact.

At an afterparty I met a woman named Anushah Hossain who is studying how marginalized communities use information technologies. She described that people in India don’t see some Pakistani content, and similarly other countries will selectively block data. She spoke at the conference on her research.

​Lastly, I emcee’d a set of Lightning Talks, recorded here

Why is the decentralized web relevant to regenerative culture?

It’s people working on liberation and equitable access to resources, information, and power.

What about the energy use of Bitcoin?

My perspective is that solutions to the computing power will come through. 

So what tools are Bloom interested in using?

Generally we have an interest in helping to mainstream awareness that these approaches to building internet technologies exist, and in boosting adoption. It looks likely that we’ll set up a Bloom organization on Aragon, since it has a great simple dashboard for proposals, discussions, and voting. I’ll be proposing decentralized tech tool alternatives over time to our team. We’ll likely report on technology development in this space, interview makers etc. For example, Decentralized Autonomous Dataset (DAD) is a decentralized dataset solution, which could help communities access more robust datasets and balance the huge aggregation of power that is happening where companies like Amazon and Google have disproportionate access to AI.

My overall impression of this community was that it’s full of incredibly smart, creative, caring, passionate people. The density of brilliance with using cryptography tools for collective well-being was really fascinating. Many of my closest friends are herbalists and healers, and I don’t have a lot of people close to me to relate with about technology development. It was a huge relief to be able to talk with creative developers who are focused on building technology for more equitable distribution of power, more free access to information (rather than gatekeeping, walled gardens, censorship, and monopoly).

The conference helped me wade deeper into the world of the peer-to-peer web. I look forward to watching the recordings of more of the talks, and continuing to learn more.

Other blogs and media about the event:
https://bobsummerwill.com/2018/08/03/decentralized-web-summit-2018/
Internet Archive Twitter: https://twitter.com/internetarchive
Internet Archive Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFa_X02QhJnP0FNpFAKyRRg

Photos: by the Internet Archive unless otherwise labeled.

A Network for Regenerative Culture

A Network for Regenerative Culture

Cover image: The Fifth Sacred Thing by Jessica Perlstein

Bloom Network has been developing some infrastructure for regenerative initiatives and communities/networks to share resources and wisdom with each other. It is peer-led by local chapter leaders on the ground who are community organizers attuned to many different communities in their regions. They produce events and media to help the broader public find what is happening and participate in regenerative culture.

Over the coming months, we’ll be implementing social media features online including a wiki for people to share best practices and find who is working on what in the regenerative culture area they’re interested in, interactive webcasts for networking and resource sharing, etc. You can connect via our website at https://bloomnetwork.org, and attend our conference, HiveMind, in San Francisco this fall. HiveMind is focused on collaborative action coordination. 

We’re mostly designed to help scale up what is working well, and better connect regenerative culture makers across different sectors or movements so we can more quickly address climate change, divest/invest, etc.

Harvesting the Wisdom of Networks: a Collective Narrative

Harvesting the Wisdom of Networks: a Collective Narrative

Some Bloom Bay Area folks have been attending a conference on regenerative finance, urban planning, agriculture and climate, and network collaboration. It’s called ReGen, and you can check out the program here

One of the sessions we attended was on Harvesting the Wisdom of Networks, and it was a well-designed small group breakout discussion that helped participants connect in tangible ways and activate the possibilities inherent in the room. It was co-led by people from the Evolutionary Leadership Institute, Regenesis, and Capital Institute.

You can read the recap here along with photos! 

ReGen18 – regenerative conference in San Francisco May 1-4  2018

ReGen18 – regenerative conference in San Francisco May 1-4 2018

From May 1-4, hundreds of world-changers in philanthropy, business, government and citizen activism will convene in San Francisco to foster the emergence of a new regenerative society. Help bring about a rapid shift from a degenerative economy to one that supports the mutual thriving of people and planet.

Register to attend with code R30_Bloom for 30% off your tickets.

Bloom Network is producing a sister conference to ReGen in September, called HiveMind, so we will be there to support networking and collaboration across the two events. Magenta Ceiba will be reporting on social media throughout the event to share insights and practices.

One of the strong focuses at ReGen is financial models for regenerative work. As an example, here’s an article from ReGen’s blog, by Wendy Weiden. 

Philanthropic Capital Can Regenerate Food Systems Passionate entrepreneurs, investors, advocates, and business leaders are having conversations about creating regenerative food systems. Yet policy continues to protect incumbent interests and their economies of scale. As a result, we have yet to see fundamental shifts in the underlying systems. Philanthropic capital has untapped potential to change – or break – the status quo.

Early stage ‘Good Food’ companies are not supported because they are judged too risky in the current system. This system of laws, regulations, and financial incentives forces the pursuit of market rate returns. Facing this persistent pressure, how can the private sector be a catalyst for and a driver of systemic change?

THE IMPORTANCE OF PHILANTHROPIC CAPITAL
​Here is something I’m trying: rather than chasing investors for my clients based on proving a business case for sustainability that generates near market-based returns, I’m shifting my energy to using philanthropic capital. Freed from expectations around strictly financial returns, philanthropic capital can be leveraged in a wide variety of ways to nurture the kind of innovative, creative ideas we need.

Benefits include:

  •    lowering investment risk for early stage and unproven entrepreneurs
  •    expanding financing to those without access to credit
  •    establishing and implementing non-traditional success and impact metrics
  •    creating long-term runways for regenerative ventures

The monetary incentives for donors are built into the existing system. They understand and are more receptive to off-balance sheet returns.  This increases the odds that some firms will achieve escape velocity and scale. As a result, they may intervene in the policy process, accelerating transformation in a regenerative cycle. I believe that philanthropic capital is uniquely positioned to viably bring new responsible food entities to market AND reshape the market structure in which they operate.

Nowhere are the structural issues more pernicious than in the food industry. After over a decade witnessing the problems caused by the way we make, sell, and consume food, I am ready for something different. It’s time for new thinking on how to catalyze a more comprehensive ecosystem for food-related social entrepreneurship.

REGENERATIVE SOLUTIONS ARE AROUND US TODAY
By definition, regenerative practices give back to the system from which they originated, whether that’s a plot of land, a social network or neighborhood, or an urban ecosystem. As participants in this movement, we do not need to wait for a widespread “aha” moment within our inherently extractive financial system. Let’s make better use of the tools we do have to nurture and launch the change we want.  I look forward to deepening connections and conversations about this emerging, exciting frontier of philanthropy at ReGen18 in May.

About the author:
Wendy Weiden has over ten years of experience as a food systems entrepreneur, consultant, and educator. She graduated from Presidio Graduate School determined to “change the (food) world.” While at Presidio, Wendy developed and co-taught a class on market failures, exploring the usually hidden role that government plays in driving or hindering the options for scaling social ventures.

Local Bloom Report: Southern Nicoya Peninsula – April 2018

Local Bloom Report: Southern Nicoya Peninsula – April 2018

By Janine Jordan, Local Bloom Lead

​Hear ye hear ye and hello from the Southern Nicoya Peninsula Bloom in Costa Rica.  This is the first Green Wave Bloom Report.

It is summer here in our part of the world, but the May rains are coming soon and we can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by so far.  

This year has been busy with unplanned happenings, and those that have not gone as planned.  We were hoping to have an inaugural event at The Green Wave house (eco-show home, mini-permaculture farm, and Green Wave office) this past month.  However the main farm opened up a restaurant for the surrounding community called Wonderland.

To better collaborate, we have decided we will hold showings at the house but move “events” over the Wonderland as it has more ideal entertaining space.  However, Wonderland had plans of their own.  Our lovely community restaurant wanted to throw an awareness event and fundraiser for a local project around the same time we were hoping to have “Sera Luz”.  So our event has been temporarily stalled as we wait for the owners to return from vacation as they left immediately after the last event.  Sera Luz is to be an annual event that ideally takes place close to Equinox to celebrate cycles and to honor one of our ex-workers who was killed from a drunk driver who did not see him on his non-reflective bike.  The event will be open format and change yearly but part of the event will be a collection drive of reflective sashes that can be distributed as a random act of kindness to community members we see that do not have reflective elements to clothing or bikes as they ride along the roads.  Sera Luz means “be a light” and that is what we hope to inspire in our community is for people to approach life with creative solutions to the problems we face in our world.

We have had three official visits to the Green Wave House.  In January we hosted a women’s retreat intentional seed planting activation with a nonprofit organization called Groundswell while just weeks ago we had about 30 kids from the Playa Hermosa school come by to check out the solar carport and 100% veggie car!  We recently found out how good we have been doing on our power.  We are producing more than we use.  Our bill is around $5.  Ken says “It’s as if we have a meter and no one lives here.”

Green Wave House also hosted a tour for two members of Futuro Verde school who are looking to integrate permaculture philosophy into their already holistic environmental education at the school.  Due to this visit, Green Wave is working with another organization, Escuela de la Jungla, to create a permaculture integration plan for Futuro Verde.  Small step implementation of that plan will hopefully begin in May of the year on or around International Permaculture Day.  First steps of this integration will include the creation of a seed bank (some seeds have already been gifted to the school from the Green Wave House seed bank).

Other Green Wave happenings:

Green Wave has inspired partner project Wild Sun rescue to start an ecobrick program and we are excited to introduce this to Futuro Verde as well (which will be presented in their permaculture plan).  We will be helping develop a volunteer and guest guide that will include information about this new program.

Green Wave House hosts weekly “movie night” first come first serve to our community (due to limited space in our small, eco home).  We are giving away surplus fruit on these nights or other farm goods.  On this last movie night, attendees received Ken’s new jam (made of cashew fruit).  Receivers of jams or medicines understand we have a recycling policy on containers.  Next week we expect to give out dried herb bundles for smudging made of clove basil and Costa Rican wild sage.

Green Wave House has been collecting seeds from our farm and sharing seeds with our community members.  So far Green Wave House has gifted small seed bank starting kits to:

  • Futuro Verde
  • Wild Sun
  • Escuela de La Jungla
  • Super Mario (local mini-market)
  • Private residences

Outside of Costa Rica, Green Wave has the online community of Electronic Music Alliance.  We are proud to announce that we are officially challenging our industry to take part in a “Trash Challenge” this year.  We are in the last round of the naming phase but challenge announcement, guidelines, and submissions will open during Earth Week.  We are currently looking for media sponsors from the industry or even green blog support.  We may have some other projects we will share with the Bloom community when they are ready for either feedback or potential support.

That’s the update folks.  Thanks for reading.  Over, out, and beyond and through.  Take time to talk to flowers.


This article is Bloom Creative Commons
Share alike with attribution to Janine Jordan and Green Wave