This is an adapted version of a post originally written by S.M. Amadae, Marianna Laine & Maija Harju and published on the Aalto University news site.
When we first began talking about anti-rivalry as part of ATARCA, we were met with confused faces. Everything we’ve ever been taught about economics goes about anti-rivalry — how can something create more value without creating more product? This initial pushback is exactly why we proposed this research project — we’ve spent the last year and a half gaining a better understanding of anti-rival properties so we can better explain it to you.
Food Futures (one of the anti-rival use cases within ATARCA), in collaboration with Global Politics and Communication, University of Helsinki, presents “Learning by Doing: Solving the Tragedy of the Commons one Meal at a time”. Watch the video here.
In “Learning by Doing”, we explain how the Food Futures app provides a means to govern our climate commons using applied data science and analytic reasoning. The app incorporates blockchain technology to measure, record, and recognise individual and the community contributions to a sustainable 1.5 degree C lifestyle.
To support sustainable consumption, Food Futures offers a community cryptocurrency in the form of blockchain ‘Foodprint tokens’.
These tokens are in the Ethereum standard and are awarded to users of the Food Futures app who have made sustainable meal choices. Over time this community currency system can be expanded, and tokens mayl serve a utility function to receive donated surplus goods.
The Foodprint token itself is anti-rival: Food Futures is built on the concept of anti-rival value, in specific the externalities produced from sustainable choices. This means there is not a limited total supply. Tokens are minted when positive externalities are measured and recorded. Tokens serve to indelibly and permanently recognize individuals’ contributions toward achieving lower greenhouse gas emissions.
To combine learning with practical applications, we have also launched the Open University course in Sustainable Consumption. This course welcomes everyone from all stages of lifelong learning to participate and reflect on the root of the challenge of making sustainable choices.
This video is the product of an interdisciplinary collaboration between bright minds, demonstrating how individual consumer choices, innovations such as the Food Futures app and blockchain tokens, as well as practice-based learning, can be combined to empower collective action for the wellbeing of our planet: one meal at a time.
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This summer featured many firsts for ATARCA and our efforts to capture anti-rival value. In May, Food Futures team members wrappd up the Sustainble Consumption MOOC, in which they were able to test the usability and functionality of tokens. In July, the first users of the Connecta app, the platform used in the Barcelona Green Shops case, logged on. As fall begins, we look forward to what happens next and we begin to measure the impact of our work.
An overview of anti-rival tokens in ATARCA
The three ATARCA use cases implement new forms of NFTs to capture the anti-rival value of each case. This post briefly describes the tokens used in each case. A more thorough explanation of the tokens can be found in Project Deliverable 2.1 – Report on Crypto-economic mechanisms for anti-rival goods.
Barcelona Green Shops Tokens
In the Barcelona Green Shops case, ATARCA aims to promote green and sustainable consumption through anti-rival tokenization. This tokenization will reward two groups: shopkeepers and clients.
Shareable, non-transferable, non-fungible tokens (sntNFTs) will be awarded to shopkeepers for contributing to the platform. Contributions could include, for example, mentoring and joint purchase. These contributions strengthen the network and increase brand recognition. These tokens will be known as acknowledgement tokens.
Acknowledgement tokens can be shared with other community members and, most importantly, can be used as proof of participation in the community. The tokens can also serve as a signifier of skills. Finally, acknowledgement tokens may encourage other business owner’s to participate, leading to more sustainable practices and a greater acceptance of anti-rivalry.
sntNFTs will be awarded to customers for shopping in Green Shops and for platform contributions, such as product reviews.
These impact tokens will display the sustainability impact of Green Shops purchases, for example saved CO2. Tokens can be shared with others to show accumulated impact of a group of users. Raising awareness of community efforts for sustainability in the Green Shops may also lead to more customers, as more people become aware of the Green Shops initiative.
Streamr Community Tokens
The Streamr data network is an open-source project that relies on the contributions of community members. The Streamr use case includes three forms sntNFTs.
Contribution tokens and Co-Contribution tokens
Similar to the Green Shops acknowledgement tokens, contribution tokens are awarded to community members for efforts to build up the Streamr platform. These tokens serve as a record of the contribution and the community member’s efforts. The nature of each particular contribution is encoded in the metadata of the token.
Community members can then share this recognition with others in the form of co-contribution tokens. Contribution and co-contribution tokens serve as a permanent record of contributions and demonstrate commitment to the community and encourage others to contribute to the goals of the project.
While contribution tokens are awarded by Streamr, endorsement tokens can be granted by community members. Endorsement tokens serve as a way to show support for another community member’s contribution.
Like the contribution tokens, endorsement tokens provide permanent recognition for a contribution. A widely endorsed contribution will be seen as something of significant value to the community
Food Futures Tokens
In the Food Futures case, two token types are used to measure, record and recognize the contributions of actors in regard to sustainable consumption.
History tokens are issued every time a user validates a meal purchase on the Food Futures platform. History tokens are NFTs, meaning they are not shareable.
History tokens demonstrate that users are engaged and contributing to the platform, encouraging the collaborative data sharing needed for the platform.
Impact tokens, on the other hand, are sntNFTs. Impact tokens highlight the positive environmental impact of food choices, such as the sustainability benefits of choosing a vegetarian meal. Once meal choices are validated, the mechanism relies on a transparent algorithm to provide a metric on the positive effects of the meal choice. The impact tokens are an unchangeable record of the user’s environmental impact.
An increased number of impact tokens (and therefore, an increased number of sustainable food choices by customers) may lead to food vendors to adopt even more sustainable food options, increasing overall sustainability efforts.
Each of these tokens serves to capture the anti-rival value present within the case. These tokens represent a move away from rival logic of tokens as simply exchangeable for another good (much like cash is used to buy coffee), and instead open up the possibility of new ways to view exchange, community, and impact.
After over a year working together, we had our first in-person consortium meeting of ATARCA! On June 8 2022, 19 members from all the organizations participating in the project got together in Barcelona for three days where we were able to have very productive meetings about different aspects of the project. For many, thsi was the first time we met in person, and we were able to get to know each other better and spend time together.
It was a very good opportunity to have a retrospective session of our first year of the project, to identify the best practices and the results we have achieved until now, plan the next months of the project and analyze what could be improved, taking into account the constructive feedback received by the EC at the end of May during the mid-review.
We had the chance to present the Green Shops pilot in Barcelona and the Streamr use case to all the attendees. Being together was really helpful to discuss key points that can help to make the most of the experiments. We also organized a communication workshop to think about how to reach a broader audience that can be interested in the project and talked about the possibilities of giving continuity to the work that we are doing after the end of the project.
Hopefully we will be able to meet again soon!
Web3, blockchain and decentralised technologies are moving forward at extraordinary speeds. These technologies create avenues for positive changes in our economies, and can be used to challenge existing extractive economic structures.
Let’s begin from our end-goal: what is the economy we strive to build? What does it look like and how does it work? Together, Demos Helsinki and ATARCA are imagining how we can leverage DLTs to build more sustainable and fair economic models and practices.
THE POLICY OBSERVATORY
The 2nd ATARCA Policy Observatory was hosted by Demos Helsinki on June 1st 2022. The goal was to share perspectives and explore the potential of leveraging decentralised technologies to build fairer and more sustainable economies.
To meet this ambitious goal, we gathered together policymakers, researchers, and practitioners from blockchain, anti-rivalry, commons, economics, and web3 backgrounds to imagine and explore where we could and should go with such technologies.
We began the session with an introduction from Johannes Mikkonen from Demos Helsinki, who spoke about how the anti-rival nature of digital goods creates opportunities for alternative futures of the data economy, beyond the false scarcity and competition that define it today. The strength of anti-rival resources, including digital goods, is that they gain value the more they are used. Mikkonen proposed three directions for a new data economy:
Following Mikkonen’s introductory speech, three panelists presented on the potential of DLT-based solutions for social good: James Muldoon, Sandra Uwantege Hart, and Julio Linares. First, James Muldoon, Head of Digital Research at Autonomy, talked about the need for the democratisation of digital platforms. Sandra Uwantege-Hart, an advisor on the use of blockchain in emerging markets and development programming, shared her experiences with using blockchain in humanitarian work. Finally, Julio Linares from Circles UBI talked about community currencies and blockchain-based universal basic income. Sandra Uwantege-Hart, an advisor on the use of blockchain in emerging markets and development programming, shared her experiences with using blockchain in humanitarian work.
Additionally, we had the opportunity to have small group discussions allowing us to exchange not only our excitement and ideas, but also our struggles and setbacks in the world of DLTs and technology. As rapidly as we are moving ahead in this space, many central roadblocks remain. Our discussions opened up these tensions.
LEARNINGS AND TAKE-AWAYS
A host of questions emerged from our group discussions:
In order to reach the futures we want to create, we need to, before all else, cultivate conditions to allow for this change to be possible. The following requirements emerged from our discussions. In other words, this is what we need to foster:
These conversations would not have been possible without the honest and inspiring contributions from our panelists. Find out more about Circles UBI and Julio’s work here, The UnBlocked Cash project that Sandra created here, and James Muldoon’s book Platform Socialism here.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
The 3rd Policy Observatory will be organised in the Fall of 2022 to go deeper with the recommendations for the future of data economy and markets.
The upcoming session will pave the way to compiling a set of policy recommendations to the European Commission to be published in Spring 2023.
We look forward to our next session!
For more information, please get in touch with us.
Johannes Mikkonen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Björk, email@example.com
Atte Ojanen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma de Carvalho, email@example.com
In June, we released our report on the crypto-economic mechanisms for anti-rival goods, one of the public facing deliverables of our project. In this report, we outline the logic behind the tokens we employ in each of our three use cases.
“Thus, the purpose of this document is to report our current and evolving understanding of the potential of designing anti-rival systems; our focus is particularly in how we can use crypto-economic mechanisms to incentivize the production of anti-rival resources and to facilitate value creation and sharing in anti-rival systems. Ultimately, we aim to reveal potential mechanisms to capture, through cryptographic tokenization, some of the positive externalities of such systems“