Our Story

Michel Bauwens tells a story

The P2P Foundation (officially, The Foundation for P2P Alternatives) is a non-profit organization and global network dedicated to advocacy and research of commons oriented peer to peer (P2P) dynamics in society.

P2P can be characterized by the presence of open, participatory processes of production and governance for the creation of common goods, whose universal access is guaranteed by licenses such as Creative Commons or the GPL (GNU General Public License). P2P dynamics are most visible today in the many communities and movements self-organising around the co-creation of culture and knowledge. Some of the most well known examples are: Free/Open Source Software, Free Culture, Open Hardware, and Open Access in education and science.

These communities, values and practices are now also increasingly present in the world of physical production through open design, the sharing economy and co-working in hacker/makerspaces and Fab labs. These movements represent a cultural shift towards new kinds of democratic and economic participation that we believe are sowing the seeds for a more sustainable, egalitarian future.

The P2P Foundation monitors the emergence of P2P dynamics in every field of human activity. We document these projects on our open access wiki and report and critique current events on our daily blog. Our Commons Transition website combines a platform for policy proposals with a  web magazine featuring specially curated stories and interviews, with and for commoners worldwide. Our research network, led by the P2P Lab, empirically explores and expands the theoretical work produced on commons-oriented peer production, governance and property to ascertain its viability in real-world applications.

Our wider network consists of independent researchers and academics active in grassroots social movements and in public and private sector institutions, working for the transition to a P2P future.

P2P Foundation members are active all over the world, with representatives in Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, South America, and North America.

We are always looking to expand our coverage and welcome new members to our community.

The image by Stefano Borghi shows Michel Bauwens presenting the Four Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy at OuishareFest 2013.