13 Jun 2016

Ode to ELL and my Backlog

in Emerging Leader Labs, Gift Economies, Media, Social Change

Crap... it all got deleted and I have to re-write it.  Awesome.

01 Mar 2016

Perspectives on Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies

in Blockchain, Ceptr, Crypto, Currencies, Distributed Systems
blockchain-visualizationsMany are looking to the blockchain to solve many decentralization and consensus problems. I believe the infrastructure people are seeking is possible to build, but not in the way blockchain and cryptocurrencies have been approaching it so far.  There are fundamental flaws to the current popular approach that will keep it from ever reaching the scale on which we need collective intelligence, currencies, sense-making and distributed computing infrastructure to operate. 
Of course, this is why we've been building Ceptr – to provide the necessary infrastructure for these kinds of distributed systems. It solves all the same problems, but has been built from fundamentally different initial assumptions, so the more you know about cryptocurrencies, the harder it can be to understand why we're doing what we're doing.
I'll start with a summary of highlights and then drill into greater detail in the next posts - providing some examples of ways to make these kinds of distributed applications and cryptocurrencies work on a large scale.
Cl says to H: How do I know you’re not double-spending that electron?
27 Feb 2016

The MetaCurrency Myth

in Ceptr, Currencies, Vision
The story I want to be able to tell my (as of yet non-existent) grandchildren in 25 years.
Once upon a time, our planet was dying. People had organized themselves into patterns with funny names like “limited liability corporations,” “federal governments,” “non-profit organizations,” and “institutions of higher education.”  We were unwittingly eating the world and all of its resources to perpetuate the survival of and expand the growth of these social organisms.
This was a time before humans had recognized the power of currencies as “Current-Sees.” We barely understood any difference between the aggregate actions of individuals, and the phenomenon of those individuals organized into coherent patterns. Today we know that these patterns, or social organisms, actually have their own hardwired feedback loops, nervous systems, intelligence, and incentives and rewards, distinct from the individuals within them, just as biological organisms have intelligence distinct from the cells they're comprised of. But at that time, we didn't have good tools to see these patterns clearly.

31 Jan 2016

The Sovereign Accountable Commons

in Commons, Commonwealth, Currencies, Distributed Systems, Mutual Sovereignty, Reputation, Sovereingty

[This is an abstract outlining some stuff we need to write up about the Sovereign Accountable Commons as a pattern enabled by Ceptr. I wrote this up to submit to for a book about Decentralizing the Commons via the P2P Foundation site.]

The Sovereign Accountable Commons (SAC) is akin to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations on the blockchain but they leverage a different distributed architecture, Ceptr. Ceptr is a new technology platform for building Distributed Apps and for enhancing collective intelligence in the process of being released by the MetaCurrency project in early 2016.


An SAC runs as a collectively distributed application. As long as at least one person wants to run it, it can't be shut down. Two or nodes running it make it a collective. It's algorithms set availability and redundancy based on size and scale of the network.

Everybody in a group is an equal peer, subject to the same rules, processes, and procedures, because everybody is running a copy of the same instruction set. This “code as law” applies to holding of assets, management of assets, interactions, transactions, governance, releasing new versions of “code as law,” and every aspect of ongoing operation of the SAC.

03 Dec 2015

Variable Rates of Change Integration

in Ceptr, Currencies, Evolution, Reputation

The suggested 3-tier approachEric HB sent me an email asking how I think Ceptr and the ecosystem we're trying to build around it fits with what is depicted in this blog post.  I'm posting my reply.  And frankly, I wish I'd remember to capture content like this when I write about things in email or other random places so I can start to collect this information somewhere where it's shareable.


I think of the collaborative ecosystem we're intending to build around Ceptr as being a kind of community of practice (Remember stones/tumbles/gems which kind of map to his three tiers?).  We can have a pre-frontier space for exploration and discussing ideas / needs / requirements / innovations / bounties. Some of those discussions turn into initiatives with teams working on building something which eventually gets published/released into the compository.
Published receptors in the compository are sort of the pioneers frontier... although not their raw development or testing environment, because it needs to get triangulated in by a code reviewer and you and the reviewer have reputation riding on whether it works / does what it says it does.

28 Nov 2015

Infrastructure Breakdown

in Writing

Okay. At the beginning of the month I promised 5 posts per week. I did pretty well the first couple weeks, but I had a computer meltdown and started burning most of my spare time rebuilding my system, making my final migration to Linux, and wrestling with a lack of adequete drivers for my hardware to function reasonably. Four Linux distros later with multiple kernel patches and modprobe variations and tweaks to settings, drivers, xorg configurations, startup scripts, etc.... I still don't have working WiFI and my mouse behavior is not yet acceptable.

18 Nov 2015

New Speech-Act Spaces

in Ceptr, Language, Mutual Sovereignty, Sovereign Accountable Commons

Cute Frankenstein CookiesThe US Constitution has provisions to protect freedom of speech and expression. Yet, I cannot declare myself a new name or identity and we cannot declare ourselves a new corporate entity. These kinds of statement can only be made by an official acknowledged by the state.

Why is this? Because it is a different type of speech act. We don't normally distinguish very clearly between statements of opinion and speech acts which declare new realities or agreements. And yet, they are different.

The reason I have to register a new name or a new corporation with the state is because I am asserting a new reality into a commonly held "legal space" which is intended to help us manage binding agreements with each other. By social agreement, my parents get to give me my legal name, and it is registered as such on my birth certificate and carried forward from there onto other identity documents of the state. For me to change the social agreement about my name, I have to take legal action as well as public/social action (publishing announcement in newspaper, etc.).

One of the things we see Ceptr providing is new ways of creating and asserting agreements -- spaces for binding speech-acts. Being able to store information which is digitally signed and countersigned into commonly held (by no individual but decentralized by a collective).  You could see these as alternatives to the existing law books and legislation. Laws for the members of that particular shared space or commons.

17 Nov 2015

Why you haven't heard of Ceptr | MetaCurrency has been Underground

in Ceptr, MetaCurrency

It's dark undergroundThere are many people trying to solve the same kind of problems we're solving with Ceptr/Streamscapes/MetaCurrency tools. Many are doing *parts* of what we're doing, but as far as I know, nobody has reformulated the whole system in a way that solves all those problems at once while also enhancing social collective intelligence by building an infrastructure for living flow maps which is fundamentally decentralized, unenclosable, interoperable (self-describing, pluggable protocols), highly composable, with fractal coherence, intrinsic data integrity (signed chains), holographic storage (variations of DHT), relational wisdom (scapes), shared sense-making (semantics) and rapid evolution.

We tend to have a communication problem. What we're building is so big and broad, that most people don't make it far enough through the story to get the whole picture before they start challenging isolated parts out of context. I hear responses like: "RDF does that," or "Sounds like the blockchain to me," or "Can't you just mash together Diaspora, XDI and IPFS to get what you want?" or a thousand less polite variants along the lines of that we're friggin' crazy to be trying to change things at the level that we are.

15 Nov 2015

Painting a picture of Agile Learning Centers

in 21st Century Learning, Agile Learning Centers, Learning
[Tomis Parker gets co-writing credit for this as he made the inital draft for something that we were working on.  But after re-arranging some things and editing, I felt like it was worth posting here too.]
At the core of the Agile Learning Centers project is a paradigm shift from a consumptive education to a proactive one -- a co-creative educational model that puts students in the driver’s seat of the process. Mainstream school is designed to train children for a world that no longer exists.
12 Nov 2015

Why Ceptr? or Transcending Maslow's Hierarchy

in Ceptr, Collective Intelligence, Currency, Currency Design, Evolution, Flow, Flows, Language, Money

A friend of mine (Sheri Herndon) just sent me an email which I replied to. My response felt like it should be capture (and probably expanded or built on more in the future) for a glimpse of why we're building Ceptr.  In fairness, she knows a lot of what I write in my answer, but it was in part to share the purpose behind Ceptr to the others copied on the message who I may meet tomorrow at the Platform Cooperativism Conference..

From Sheri:

10 Nov 2015

New Kind of Commons: The Land Weaving Society

in Ceptr, Commons, Commonwealth, Currencies, Deep Wealth, Gift Economies, New Economy

aerial photo of landYou might know the expression among software developers: "Code is Law." It is a trueism about the abilities and limitations that the users of the software become bound to. And I see a world where this becomes quite literally true in the larger social context as we build new digital commons and distributed autonomous organizations where our agreements, and processes for sharing and accessing resources are quite literally encoded in the digital tools we use to share them and gain access to them.

I’d like to share a bit about a vision for a Land Weaving Society as an example of these patterns and processes -- a way to shift land access and use, by voluntary participation in a commons where owners "share" their land (or house, or buildings) with other members for various uses like hiking, camping, farming, firewood collection, fruit harvesting, etc.

09 Nov 2015

Is there anything that can’t be Monetized?

in Currencies, Deep Wealth, Industrial Age Economy, Money

Putting all of nature into the economic meat grinder to make money[This question was asked by Rachel Haywire in a private Facebook group where I occasionally participate. I'd like to share my answer, because I think it's important in understanding the nature of monetization - what it's good for, and what it's not.]

I'd like to reframe just a bit. There are many things that *should not* be monetized or commoditized, but if we peel back our veil of justifications and self-delusions about money, we fundamentally use money (as configured today) as gambling tokens for speculative wealth. So then your question becomes, "Is there anything that somebody isn't willing to place gambling stakes on?" And the answer becomes more obvious. "No. Some idiot will be willing to price/gamble on/monetize just about anything." Of course, that is not to say such a price is a reflection of its real value or worth, just its current standing in a particular gambling market.

Many things have no value to a particular person at a precise time in a specific context. Every system of valuation (currency) is contextual valuing some things and not others, for example, day care has dollar value in our economy, stay-at-home-parenting does not.

05 Nov 2015

ALCs as NextGen Self-Directed Learning (Pt.1)

in Agile Learning Centers, Education, Learning

[Still a draft, but it's time to post these first 7 pages (Part 1 of 2)]

Since the first Agile Learning Center was built from the ashes of a dying Free School, a number of our tools were developed specifically to address common challenges which Free Schools face. We’ve also had similar or even more striking positive results from other Free Schools using ALC tools which has led them to switch over to become an Agile Learning Center.

04 Nov 2015

ALC Starter Kit

in Agile Learning Centers, Education

ALC ToolboxI'm not going to post all 70 pages of the Agile Learning Center Starter Kit here, but it is a big chunk of writing that I spent a couple weeks this summer authoring.  So, I figure it really counts as writing that I'd like to share.

What's exciting is that we haven't particularly promoted the Starter Kit much yet, and we've had a couple hundred downloads from all over the world and a dozen or so ALC start-up groups that have signed on because of it.

So, if you're looking for solutions for 21st Century education and ready for a framework to support children in designing their own education, then you should download the Starter Kit (disclaimer, it's still a BETA / draft).

03 Nov 2015

Distributed Receptor-Based Computing

in Ceptr, Decentralization, Receptive Capacity

Receptor Network[I shared this brief in preparation for the Rebooting the Web of Trust event in San Francisco November 3&4 2015.] 

The MetaCurrency Project’s requirements for decentralization combined with a commitment to leveraging organizing principles of living systems led us to invest a lot of time in the past 5 years developing Ceptr. Ceptr is a rebuild of much of the computing stack optimized for decentralized sense-making, computation and composability. This means semantics baked into the lowest levels of memory storage, self-describing protocols which let anything talk with anything else, blockchain-like abilities for decentralized data storage and computation.

02 Nov 2015

A Quantum Leap

in Ceptr, Currencies, Evolution, Language, Social Change
We are poised for a quantum leap of human evolution toward true large-scale social collective intelligence (beyond the hierarchical, mechanistic and cancerous organizational models of modern institutions and corporations). However, this breakthrough requires a new EXPRESSIVE CAPACITY which involves new TOOLS and new SKILLS.
TOOLS: Our social, legal, financial and computing infrastructure has centralized/hierarchical control built into its very DNA.
01 Nov 2015

Another Active November!

in Writing
Last November I committed to write and publish every day. I posted 32 blogs many were about Agile Learning Centers and MetaCurrencies, a bit about Ceptr and Next Internet design. I've only posted a handful since then.
So this year I'm going ot make a similar commitment, but allow for weekends off. I'll write and publish daily for every weekday (at least 20 posts in November). Most will be about Ceptr as we're actively preparing to unveil the technology we've been working on for years now.
13 Jul 2015

Dream Team Technologies Founding Documents

in Design, Inspiration, Vision
In 1996 I started a company with some friends with the intention of creating "community at work together." This company became a HUGE source of my personal growth and development, broad entrepreuneurial experience, intentional culture creation and is what set me on the path into alternative currencies because of the innovative performance measures we created to manage a managerless organization.  I'm sharing our founding documents below because I find them very inspiring and they're not online anywhere.  
Actually, I usually cry when reading them aloud... especially the Statement of Accountability.
30 Jun 2015

Currencies for Disaster Assistance and Economic Development

in Currencies, Currency Design, Flows, Local Currency, Targeted Currencies

As a part of my recent commitment to share past designs that might be valuable to other people, I'm posting this incomplete document from 2007. It was something I started writing for a group that was talking with Michael Brown after he left FEMA about other tools for rebuilding New Orleans. Some sections of the document were to be contributed by other members of the team and unfortunately never got written, which is too bad because there were some good conversations that went into scheming them. None of these plans were ever implemented.

However, some are good examples (specifically Purgatory Parades) of how to do well-targeted currency design to activate local energy and resources to (re)build community and (re)build an economy after a disaster. Some of the ideas contained here have also been adapted for use in proposals for International Development and would likely have a more beneficial impact than many other development scenarios which further impoverish communiities and increase dependency on external funding and resources.

For local economic development, I'd recommend looking at Bangla-Pesa as an example, which was co-incidentally started by Will Ruddick who was involved with the group that I wrote this document for.

The document follows below.

Leveraging Local Currencies for Disaster Assistance



Each of the programs proposed in this section take a tack which is distinct from typical disaster assistance.  They rest on the principle that in every functioning community, most people are getting their needs met by other resources in the community.


Flow Pattern of a Healthy Economy (Resources and Needs connected via good flows of employment and spending)

18 Mar 2015

Draft Proposal for a Currency Commons

in Commons, Community, Community of Practice, Currencies, Reputation

Blog Post Preface

Stones-Tumbles-GemsI originally wrote this in 2004 but only recently realized it wasn't available anywhere onlne. I shared this document with the community of currency practitioners that attended the June 2004 Local Currencies Conference at Bard College organized by the E.F. Schumacher Society. It was well received, but there was not enough unity or energy to follow up, so nothing came of it. But it was the original design of the application of Stones/Tumbles/Gems for a Community of Practice.

It's a little funny to read this now. My initial exposure to the complementary currency community was very commercial: people patenting their designs, algorithms and processes and wanting to charge others for doing things like accounting in two currencies. It looked to me like this industrial age strategy of competing with each other and marking off intellectual property would seriously cripple any ability for a movement to grow. Luckily, it turned out that more people in this space were closer to social activists, than corporate patent lawyers, so collaboration did occur. 

However, I still have hopes of creating a community of practice for currency designers. My current orientation would be less commercially oriented than the following proposal. A bit more like a guild... designed to pass sophisticated and arcane knowledge along to future generations of practioners.  But the original proposal should also be out there just for the record. :) 

Slideshow credits: Starlings over Gretna (Walter Baxter) / CC BY-SA 2.0 & Marshes pattern (Franco Folini) / CC BY-SA 2.0