It is something of a tradition for us to have an end of year review, so as we leave 2014 behind and welcome in the New Year, it’s worth looking back on some of the most popular posts here on the P2P Foundation blog, and to consider how these reflect broader developments in P2P and Commons movements.
The posts here are compiled from our blog statistics and can more or less be considered something like a top 10 most popular posts, but I prefer to address them by topic rather than by numeric order. They are linked to from the text.
It seems the rise of interest in P2P money is unstoppable, with posts on Bitcoin among our most popular. In particular, the unexpected comments from none other than the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, returned to our now little-used Ning Forums.
In March 2014, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman claimed in an article published in Newsweek that Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese American man living in California, was the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’. The claims caused a media frenzy. Dorian quickly denied the claims, saying he knew nothing about Bitcoin. In an unexpected turn of events the user Satoshi Nakamoto, who originally posted to our P2P Ning forums back in 2009 to announce the creation of Bitcoin, returned to keep us all guessing by stating, ‘I am not Dorian Nakamoto’.
Despite our efforts to investigate, Ning refused to release information relating to the user account, and so we have no way of knowing if the user account Satoshi Nakamoto had been hacked or if the comments were legitimate. The likelihood that the account may have been hacked increased later in September, when a further comment which appeared under the same user account claimed to have hacked the Ning account, and threatened to release the true identity of Nakamoto in return for Bitcoins. However, the identity of Nakamoto remains a mystery.
These events marked, in my view, something of a turning point in the mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin, with debate and discussion on cryptocurrencies appearing in national and international newpapers and television around the world.
However, as many of our regular readers know, we are critical of Bitcoin as a currency because it reproduces some of the worst features of capitalism. Most notably, Bitcoin encourages, hoarding, and speculation, and the market is highly unequal and dominated by a few early adapters.
That said, the underlying Bitcoin technology remains very promising. Ethereum looks to be a significant development that expands on this technology in a number of exciting ways, with the potential for the creation of new forms of smart contracts and distributed organisations. We look forward to seeing how this develops in 2015.
The P2P Foundation have also announced a strategic partnership with Enric Duran and the Cooperativa Intergral to support the development of Faircoin and Fair Coop. Faircoin is a crytocurrency intended for fair trade and the solidarity economy.
Moving on from crytocurrencies, the movement for a Universal Basic Income continues to grow across Europe. Dorotea Mar’s interview with Andrey Angelov of the European Citizens’ Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income, “BASIC INCOME is the life-saving boat of a sinking global economy”, explored this in detail and was one of our most popular posts. Dorotea is also listed as one of 100 Women Creating the P2P Society.
In April, threats of enclosure to shared cultural spaces hit very close to home when our good friends at MediaLab Prado were threatened with closure by the Madrid local government, whose plan to rent out the space to Telefónica was revealed. Thankfully, a campaign by MediaLab’s supporters was successful. MediaLab has proven itself a critical space for innovation in support of free culture, p2p and the commons, and was one of the spaces from which the 15M movement evolved. This years’ experience underlines the importance of solidarity networks.
Another success story was the defeat of the proposed privatization of the grand public theatre in Rome by the Teatro Valle Occupation. More significantly, the historic three-year occupation that succeeded in achieving many of its primary goals included the recognition of its demands to establish a new theatre of the commons.
Sharing or Renting Economy?
2014 was a big year for the ‘sharing’ economy, with companies like AirBnB and Uber making headlines globally. The critique by Anthony Kalamar ‘Is Sharewashing the new Greenwashing?’ addresses some of the issues.
Sharewashing does more than just misrepresent things like renting, working, and surveilling as “sharing.” It does more than just stretch and contort the meaning of the word “sharing” until it practically loses all meaning. It also disables the very promise of an economy based on sharing by stealing the very language we use to talk about it, turning a crucial response to our impending ecological crisis into another label for the very same economic logic which got us into that crisis in the first place.
From the Communism of Capital to a Capital for the Commons builds on critiques of the sharing economy, advancing our position on the need for the construction of ethical entrepreneurial coalitions for the commons. Key to this proposition is the development of an Open Cooperativism and Commons Reciprocity Licenses. We made significant progress on this after the Commons Strategies Group brought together experts on Commons and Cooperatives from Europe and the Americas for the Deep Dive on Open Cooperativism in September. We also have a team of licensing experts committed to the development of the Commons Reciprocity License.
We are actively seeking partnerships and financial support for the further development of these projects. If this is something you can help with, please get in touch contact @ p2pfoundation.net.
The big story of the year for us was our work with the FLOK society in Ecuador and our continued development of an integrated Commons Transition plan. I personally feel privileged to have had the opportunity to live and work closely with the FLOK team during my time in Ecuador. Many of the original FLOK team continue to work with the Ecuadorian government on the adoption of the policy proposals. We will also continue to build on this experience and will launch a new platform for Commons Transition in the coming weeks. Michel has written more on this as part of his personal review of 2014.
There were, of course, many other important things that happened in 2014 that for whatever reason don’t get so many hits, and so won’t be featured in this particular post, but some of these will be covered in Michel’s personal review of 2014 which will be followed by some shorter reviews by others in our community.
Taking a quick look at blog stats:
We saw a 25% increase in readership in 2014. So, a big welcome to all our new readers 🙂
It will come as little surprise with English being the primary language in which we publish that the majority of our readers are in English-speaking countries. The single biggest group of readers, 25%, are from the US, with the next biggest spread across the EU countries.
We would like to encourage our American readers to get more involved in our work and to explore ways we might engage more pro-actively in advancing P2P and the Commons in the US.
The P2P Foundation aim to serve a global community. Most of our contributors are based in Europe, though we also have many friends in Latin America and Asia. We are actively looking to enhance our coverage of P2P and Commons developments in Russia, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In terms of gender, women make up 46% of our readers, with men making up 54%. This year we started the 100 Women in P2P to highlight the role of women in transition to a P2P Society. We are committed to continue this support and promote the work of women in 2015.