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
- 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
- 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.