Podcast of the Day: Michel Bauwens on FLOK, Bitcoin and Sigghos

Another conversation with Michel Bauwens on the FLOKSociety project, this time with a different slant compared with previous presentations and interviews. After the trauma of hyperinflation, is Ecuador ready to talk about cryptocurrencies and alternative monetary policies?

From the shownotes to the podcast

Paul Buitink talks with Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation and the FLOKSociety project.

Michel explains what the FLOK Society is and how it can help Ecuador to become a p2p and commons-oriented society. At the end of May the proposed policies of FLOK will be presented amongst politicians from Ecuador and the whole of South America as well as civic society.

Michel talks about farm hacking, transparent government, open science, p2p learning and open hardware. He explains how costs can be saved, and wealth and equality can be fostered. He gives an example of a rural area in Ecuador where there is a lot of interest for these methods.

For now Ecuador is behind the curve when it comes to having a social knowledge economy. But the government is eager to move from an economy based on finite material resources to one based on infinite immaterial resources.

FLOK is not formally advising on monetary policy or the use of new local or crypto-currencies. The Ecuadorian people still suffer from a trauma from the hyperinflation of the nineties. There is in the government also a particular distrust for Bitcoin because Ecuador is surrounded by drugs producing country and Ecuador is part of the transit network. The government is afraid Bitcoin becomes the vehicle of these forces. So Bitcoin is not realistic to be part of an official monetary proposal.

On the other hand the bitcoin community in Quito is thriving and growing, so bottom-up everything is possible.

Michel is in favour of monetary biodiversity where there is room for local, national and global currencies. He thinks Bitcoin is a really interesting innovation.

Michel and Paul discuss the plans for the Bank of Ecuador to allow people later this year to open a digital dollar wallet straight at the central bank, which would allow the unbanked in Ecuador to conduct digital trade. Michel and Paul also briefly discuss the political situation in Ecuador in general, focusing on freedom of press. Michel says to some extent Ecuador is even freer than Spain for example.

Michel likes Bitcoin as the first post-state, socially-sovereign, globally-scalable currency. It’s year 0 of a new epoch. What he criticizes is the anarcho-capitalist political design of Bitcoin. For example the choice for deflation. Also he doesn’t like the distribution, as he favours more equality. He likes the forking and open-source capability so we can go beyond Bitcoin.

Paul and Michel also discuss democracy, fiat money, financial illiteracy and much more. They conclude that Bitcoin at least has the positive effect of people debating and recreating money again.

This interview was recorded on 16 April 2014.

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