The latest blog post from the FairCoop project – of which [disclaimer] I am an active member – shows the adoption by the project of the Open Collaborative Platform software, itself a fork of the Open Value Network software originally developed by Bob Haugen and Lynn Foster in collaboration with the Sensorica open hardware enterprise.
The software has been adapted by FairCoop developers with the help of Bob and Lynn to fit the needs of the project, one of the most important innovations being the introduction of FairCoin wallets within the software, which means that people can seamlessly be paid in the project’s own cryptocurrency for their work.
As the post points out:
Many hours of volunteer work have made it possible for us to reach the point where we are now. However, the growth of the FairCoop community and the corresponding increase of the value of our currency has put us in a position where collaborations can now be fairly remunerated when necessary. We have tried to find a scalable system in order to be able to respond to our growing needs in an open, fair, decentralized, horizontal and transparent way.
This highlights the ongoing success of the ‘hack’ of the cryptocurrency markets carried out by FairCoop: buy a cheap cryptocurrency in large quantities, and grow its value by creating a community around it, based on shared ethical values. Use the inevitable speculation taking place on the open markets in relation to its value as a positive – guarantee an ‘official price’ for merchants and consumers which maintains trust in, and stability of, the project, which in turn makes the coin seem a worthy investment, making its value rise again in a ‘virtuous circle’.
Once sufficient gains in value have been achieved (FairCoin is now above parity with the US$ and almost 1:1 with the Euro), the project has essentially funded itself to the point where developers can be paid to create open source software for the Commons, and the previously-voluntary activists can now receive remuneration. At this point the payments are still somewhat ‘symbolic’ as the consensus was to keep them low so as to avoid a possible overshoot of capacity. ‘Slow and steady’ is the project’s unofficial motto…
So the Open Coop Work is creating value for the Commons, and is entering a stage where it will be possible for activists to work full-time on the project, in a voluntary and non-hierarchical way, and be paid in an alternative, non-state currency (easily convertible to government currencies when required), and support themselves without having to seek work outside of the FairCoop ecosystem. In this way we can see the possible dawn of a new era where the chronic ‘work to live’ problem is finally solved, and people can dedicate all their time to working on projects close to their hearts, without having to compromise their values in order to pay for food and housing.
The OCW overall plan is considered a breakthrough in terms of organizing FairCoop’s work on a more stable basis, which will enable free and willing collaborations, empower commitment and the sharing of a common budget. It is therefore a plan that will provide a significant boost to the ecosystem; especially now that our common value is rising consistently we need to take advantage of that by expanding to a whole new dimension. The challenge is out there for all of us to grasp and participate even more actively in this amazing journey that’s been going on successfully for 3 years now!
As a participant in the project, I can report that the OCW schema really does work, even if it is necessarily chaotic and in need of streamlining at this early stage of its development (issues which are being worked on by dedicated devs – of which we need more, please contact us via the website for details if you are interested). It is extremely exciting (even if at times confusing!) being involved in a project which is at the forefront of so many innovations at once, and heartening to see that the original vision of the project is now beginning to come to fruition. Of course there is much more to be done, but having solidified this new way of coordinating cooperative work, progress should be even more dynamic in the future.
For more details about the OCW process itself, please see the blog post.