Sunday, May 3, 2009

MetaCurrency Video (6 min w/ transcript)

The MetaCurrency Project from alan rosenblith on Vimeo.

F: Why is the open source economy important to talk about now?

A: [0:12] 25 years ago, if you had a decent sized business and had to choose technology platforms for increasing the productivity of your business, streamlining your operations, that kind of thing, the safe choices were obvious. [0:26] Generally you went with one of the big players who was likely to be around and setting the standards, because everything at that time was proprietary. [0:35] So you didn’t want to go with some smaller shop that then wouldn’t be around to support your business, [0:42] because fundamentally what you were doing was tying significant value of your business and its operations to another business, another proprietary company.

[0:54] And today, the choices are very different. One of the things that has happened is that open source software has given us a completely other kind of decision to make. [1:05] It’s still possible to choose to go with a proprietary system, but it’s also possible to choose open systems that let you have more choice. [1:16] If you need to customize it, adapt it, or take it in a different direction, you’re not reliant on some third party to be able to do that because you have direct access to controlling the software itself. [1:29] And we don’t think about money that way.

F: Hmm I hear you. [1:33] How should we be thinking about money or currencies?

E: [1:39] What currency is is an endless debate, but I want to offer you a simple analogy. And that is simply to say that a currency is a set of agreements that add up to a game. [1:50] And there are players who have agreed to play in that game together using those agreements. [1:55] So the standard game that we think of when when we think about currency is the game of equitability. Right? [2:05] I have to earn money before I can take resources from the community. So I go out and earn my keep, I get money, and then I can take something back from that community by using that money to buy my food. [2:18] That’s a game we play, and that game is deeply embedded into our society. [2:23] Unfortunately, as all of us are seeing right now, that game and the structure of that game is not leading to equitable wealth-building. [2:33] And people have taken control of the production of these forms of money, and left us in a pretty bad state. [2:41] So we are in place where we need to have a newly open, democratic, easily available place to create new currency games and play them with each other.

F: [2:55] Do we have the infrastructure to use open currencies now?

A: [3:00] Currently we don’t have the tools to have open currencies. Our whole economy at the moment operates in closed proprietary systems. [3:10] When we look carefully at it, what that really is all about is information management and managing the integrity of that information. [3:20] That’s what we’re trying to do with the metacurrency project is create that new infrastructure.

F: [3:24] So what kind of new infrastructure is needed to have open currencies?

A: [3:30] There’s really three new components we need to have the tools for open currencies. [3:40] One is an open transport system for the currency messages to be sent over, as opposed to right now the Visa network is a closed proprietary thing. [3:53] The electronic banking funds transferals is a closed network just among the banks. So one thing is an open transport. [4:03] Another is opening the rules. What type of currency are you participating in, and under what ground rules? [4:11] And do you know when they change? And then the last thing is open data, [4:16] because right now, and this is kind of the norm in the computing space as well, but right now the data is protected also inside of a vault, behind big castle walls. [4:29] And you can’t represent your data as an authority. The bank is the official source of your data, and with that comes a lot of power imbalance. [4:38] They decide who has access to it. And if we want to be able to reclaim that power and choice, we actually need the technology infrastructure to support those three things: open transport, open rules, and open data.

F: [4:54] Eric, you want to add?

E: [4:57] One aspect of why you want an open rule system is transparency, so that you can tell when it’s been changed. But I think much more important with open rule systems is the openness of being able to add new rule sets in. [5:10] And the capacity of saying, “okay I like this rule set, but I also want to add this extra rule set to it. Gee, who wants to come play with me?” [5:19] And in the geek world we call that forking, right? That’s part of an open source project. What makes it so valuable is that you have a whole program, and if the people who are going down the line of developing it are neglecting what you need, you can change and add that yourself. [5:35] And if it falters, you can go and set up a new one. And that whole capacity to fork is absolutely essential to open rules. [5:45] And that capacity has to be built into the infrastructure.

F: [5:51] Hmmm, I thank you. It’s a great energy that you are carrying. You have the evolutionary impulse going with you. [6:00] You’re surfing that wave and opening new paths and possibilities for the new economy.

1 comment:

King of the Paupers said...
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