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MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives

By 21 February 2014 No Comments

Invitation for MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives, Amsterdam, March 21-22 2014.

We hope you will all be able to come. INC still hasn’t figured out how to bring down costs for live streaming of its events but as you know we got a team of furious bloggers and the videos are usually up on Vimeo within a week. We might also produce an INC reader over the next year and are already in conversation to organize similar follow-up events in London and Sao Paolo. We’ll see.

One of the discussions is how to continue the debate about (internet) revenue models. There is the very practical layer of how to use and implement Bitcoin and similar currencies, the use of crowdfunding, mobile money, virtual game currencies, LETs, etc. and how artists, activists and other ‘creative producers’ of the precariat can make use of these emerging sources of income. Experiences as collected and further theorized by groups like the P2P Foundation come in handy here. We are collecting both best and worst practices. However, there is also the question of monetization in general and the role of ‘free culture’: sharing has to become a choice, not the default.

If ‘the internet is broken’, and needs to be ‘fixed’, then we also have to analyze how this has happened. It is not enough to merely point at the NSA and evil US-American corporations, together with the armies of quasi-playful, innocent techno-libertarian geeks that together dominate both the start-up and internet governance scenes. Such (justified) resentments (for instance mobilized in Germany by the FAZ) can distract us from the larger challenges that are out there. For me 2013 was the year of Snowdon and Bitcoin. It is interesting to bring them together, and also involve CCC, Jacob Appelbaum, Glenn Greenwald and all the others who are doing such amazing work on the ‘surveillance’ side of the story. Security alone, both individually and on the system-level, will not be enough as long as the business models of ‘the free’ will not change.

The idea of MoneyLab was born out of a discontent with the narrow agenda of so many Bitcoin gatherings that are so technical and evangelical in nature. If you are not a programmer or Bitcoin entrepreneur yourself, and are already deeply involved, there is not much for you to get out of such events. This is a pitty because the wider context of the ‘Bitcoin’ debate is fascinating and needs a lot more involvement of artists, activists, theorists, designers and critics. We need to build another internet economy, based to P2P principles–and make the Bitcoin premisses more explicit and not take them for granted. This is an exciting time in which money is redesigned. Let a thousand MoneyLabs flourish!

Geert Lovink


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