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.
Bloom Network’s governance whitepaper summarizes ten years of R&D across eleven countries. Throughout, we describe social and technical practices we have found effective for bioregional governance and rebalancing unjust power dynamics of today’s centralized governance and finance systems. These are shared as modular governance pieces that networks can adopt or plug in with. This paper includes an outline of the first three phases of our technical DAO.
This Christmas we are initiating an art exchange, on the theme of Mushrooms! Merry Christmush to everyone! The idea is for people around the world to make mushroom art, and send them to other Bloomers as Christmas presents. In a way we are activating our own mycelial networks by creating a worldwide mushroom art exchange. To add your name to the art exchange, email your postal address and your name (if you want to), to email@example.com (we figure this is better than setting up a google form). Make your art, and we will send you others’ addresses to send the art to.
On December 21st we’ll host an interactive video call to share our appreciation, wonder, and nerding about these magical lifeforms. Register for that here.
THE ORGINS OF MERRY CHRISTMUSH
Merry Christmush was an art project initiated by Australian Bloom newcomer Lumi Ricardi (they/them) after learning about the influences of Christmas from a Scandinavian perspective.
“I found the story of the Sami noaidi (shamans) and what they did over the winter solstice period fascinating. They dressed in red and white like the Amanita muscaria mushrooms found in that area, and went to visit the World Tree, a large old pine tree. There they would eat mushrooms and gain wisdom to take back as gifts to their people, as well as blessings and gifts for the coming year.”
I created Merry Christmush to help people connect people to what Christmas time is about, and where the origins of our traditions have come from.”
Last year Lumi made 30 mushrooms from sun-dried clay and painted them all different colours of the rainbow. These were then given out to both friends and strangers, and conversations initiated about Christmas and people’s thoughts about this time of year.
“A fun part of the story is that reindeers would ingest the mushrooms as well. This would give them a lot of energy and they would leap and jump about the forest, giving the illusion that they were flying. People were quite amused to hear the stories from Scandinavia and most people didn’t have any idea of where the origins of Christmas come from.
I think it’s a beautiful thing to encourage people to contemplate where we are now and where we have come from. It’s important to think about how meanings and symbolism changes through the ages, and pieces of the original symbols still remain, like the reindeer, the tree and the red and white colors of Christmas.”
Finally, Lumi invites everyone to enjoy the opportunity to be creative with Merry Christmush, and encourages people to hand make their christmushes. This way each one can be unique, made with care from their own hands and created with the intention of gifting it to someone else.
“A great part about Merry Christmush is that you are creating the christmushes yourself. This ties into the idea of the World Tree and the gifts that the shaman brings back to his community, and to reflect and enjoy the gifts we give and receive from others. It’s important to acknowledge the interconnectivity of our communities. It’s the mushroom thing to do.”
Bloom Network has strong links with mushrooms via Mushroom City Arts Festival, an annual festival about mushrooms in Baltimore, which has been running for 8 years. This year, Robin Gunkel lead of Bloom Baltimore, convened the arts festival online, which featured a number of mushroom inspired artists. If you want inspiration for your mushroom art head to check out the following artists.