Fab Chain

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"Millions of people connected to the Internet are using open source software and digital fabrication tools (including 3d printing) to build the largest distributed design and manufacturing ecosystem in the world. However, the various parts of that ecosystem are not closely tied with one another, and currently lack the tools to exchange value and resources between them, and to connect with complementary communities. There are not enough incentives for people to contribute to common goals, and to further develop the ecosystem into a more coherent and interconnected whole. Fab Chain provides two additional tools to improve the connectivity of this growing ecosystem: FabCoin (transactable token) and FabRep (non-transactable token) that will allow fab labs and makerspaces to exchange resources and incentivise the development of the global maker movement. Together, these tools will foster a transition to a more productive and sustainable economy, in both cities and urban areas. With Fab chain, we want to build a modular token economy within the existing Fab Lab Network, acting as a testbase within the larger Fab City global Initiative. Fab Chain will focus in Fab Labs and Makerspaces as part of its deployment strategy, but it aims to scale to all grassroots / civil society initiatives that are contributing to enable a transition to a spiral economy in cities.


Enabling local processes of production to reduce the impact of the current industrial globalisation is crucial, but enabling mechanisms to incentivise, accelerate and scale this process is fundamental and urgent. This is where we propose the use of a local blockchain, that could be articulated between stakeholders in cities that are already contributing to a paradigm shift in terms of recycling, reuse, relocalisation of supply chains, and other practices that reduce the impact of the linear economy. This local approach will be globally synchronized and confederated with other cities that are part of Fab City project, and other follower cities.

Under the Fab Chain model, the makerspace or fab lab could make the machines that are not being used available under specific conditions dictated by a smart contract. The maker space could decide, for instance, to exchange machine use for space use, or to trade the use of its own machines with the use of other machines or services provided by other players within the ecosystem; it could exchange the use of the machines with access to a particular set of expertise, or perhaps simply exchange it for a particular amount of meals in the restaurant. When the two parties agree, they can code the terms in a smart contract to establish a public, anonymous and protected execution of a commercial relationship. The smart contract can establish the conditions of the commercial agreement in the blockchain, to ensure the automatic execution of the terms without the need for any third party enforcement authority.

By introducing blockchain-based tokens that can be used interchangeably for different products and services within the ecosystem, we create a positive feedback loop, a form of “coopetition” whereby everyone has an incentive to promote and contribute to the ecosystem, because the higher the value of the products or services it provides, the higher the value of these tokens will be.

We want to launch an ICO focused on the impact of distributed production and social engagement, with a view to promote the circular economy in cities. This token will use the maker movement (focused in Fab Labs at first) as the backbone for its implementation. " (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yAJT-OPEVm8R7umFMZc45D6eR5pXdGggJfUXXKaKxeo/edit)


The Context for the Project

"A key aim of the Fab City Global Initiative is to change how cities source and use resources materials by shifting from a ‘Products In Trash Out’ (PITO) model to a ‘Data In Data Out’ (DIDO) productive model. This means that more production of energy, food and products takes place in the city in response to local needs, fostering innovation in local SMEs and startups. As a result, the city’s imports and exports mostly occur in the form of data, ranging from knowledge to design and code. The application of this model can potentially reduce the energy that is consumed and the pollution that is generated when cities import goods and materials, which accounts for 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions. However, for this to be effective the city needs to be connected to a larger innovation ecosystem that produces the open source designs, code and knowledge — a digital “commons” — necessary to nurture the productive ecosystem at the local level.

During the last decade Fab Labs and Makerspaces have widespread around the world, offering a new type of third space that it is using digital tools to enable new forms of innovation, learning and production mainly in cities, but also in rural areas. The maker movement has been growing exponentially, reaching to mainstream media and political agendas, being inserted into major educational programs in elementary and high schools, and in higher education, as well in the world of industry and corporations. We will focus our work in the Fab Lab Network as key part of the maker movement, which is a curated and consolidated network of digital fabrication laboratories, which is implementing projects programs such as the Fab Academy and Academany (distributed education) or Fab City (new urban model for sustainable cities). Our goal is to support the growth of the maker movement as a community and scale its impact in society, by enabling a blockchain technology layer, the Fab Chain, that would create incentives for contribution between peers, reputation tools for labs, machine and people, certification of skills to build professional profiles and support the economic sustainability of the organisations running Fab Labs around the world.

Given the distributed nature of the Fab Lab global network, and the emergence of new productive models promoted by it, there is a need to create a new mechanism of value exchange between Fab Labs and businesses, industries and communities around them, using existing platforms such as Fablabs.io (1,230 Fab Labs, +13000 users), projects like Fab City (18 official members: 14 cities, 2 regions, 2 countries) and educational programs offered by the Academany (600 students graduated in 7 editions so far). Blockchain-enabled smart contracts, distributed ledgers and immutable cryptographic records are poised to enable communities of designers and makers to reduce cities carbon footprint by optimising production costs, drive greater operational efficiencies, and unleash new business opportunities for manufacturers worldwide.


Fab Labs won't replace industry, but will accelerate the transition to a new productive model, where multiscalar and complementary manufacturing within cities and regions, supply and provide the services and products needed in cities without compromising the planet resources and without having to rely on social exploitation of workers. We imagine Fab Labs being the places where ideas are turned into reality, prototypes are designed and tested with users and business models are developed, while connected with larger manufacturing ecosystems at the city and region scales. For example, the Make Works approach is complementary with the Fab Lab Network worldwide, since it registers the manufacturers and suppliers at industrial scale in cities and regions." (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yAJT-OPEVm8R7umFMZc45D6eR5pXdGggJfUXXKaKxeo/edit)

Fab City

"FAB City takes the ideals of the Fab Lab - the connectivity, culture and creativity - and scales it to the City. It is a new urban model of transforming and shaping cities that shifts how they source and use materials from ‘Products In Trash Out’ (PITO) to ‘Data In Data Out’ (DIDO). This means that more production occurs inside the city, along with recycling materials and meeting local needs through local inventiveness. A city’s imports and exports would mostly be found in the form of data (information, knowledge, design, code).

The Fab City project will help civic leaders to develop locally productive cities in collaboration with local communities, companies and institutions, revitalising manufacturing infrastructure and incentivising a new economy. Fab Lab and makerspace based innovations could be a source for solutions to connect to real problems in cities, opening opportunities for businesses, research and education through projects. With its inherent zero waste and carbon reduction goals, linked to education, innovation, skills development and the creation of employment opportunities and livelihoods through the relocalisation of manufacturing, the FAB City approach can contribute to achieving a range of city objectives. In this way, the citizens and the city are empowered to be the masters of their own destiny, their resilience is increased and a more ecological system is developed with movements of materials and associated energy consumption and carbon emissions typical of the current economy drastically reduced. In order for this to be possible, the city must be locally productive and globally connected to knowledge, economic and social networks, making cooperation between cities, citizens and knowledge centers the basis of the scientific knowledge.

To become a FAB City requires having a more precise knowledge of the way that cities work. The evolution of the project will make it possible to create better systems of capturing and analysing data, developing knowledge about a city, and it will also require the implementation of an evaluation system and detailed monitoring.

The Fab City strategy is unique in that it addresses a range of environmental, social and economic objectives (carbon reduction, waste minimisation, relocalisation of manufacturing and work) in a systems approach by harnessing new technology and production approaches. All of this is brought to a practical level, by connecting with the existing Fab Lab Network, a vast source for urban innovations being shared already globally by makers in more than 70 countries and 1200 labs.

The Fab City is a global project, comprises an international think tank of civic leaders, makers, urbanists and innovators working on changing the paradigm of the current industrial economy where the city operates on a linear model that relies on importing products and producing waste.

The 18 participating cities in the Fab City Global Initiative see an socioeconomic opportunity, since creates new types of jobs and professions related to the knowledge economy and the development and implementation of new approaches and technological solutions." (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yAJT-OPEVm8R7umFMZc45D6eR5pXdGggJfUXXKaKxeo/edit)

First Implementation

As part of the INTERFACER Project INTERFACER project, the Fab Chain is being implemented as part of the base technology of Fab City OS. In Febraury 2022, a test net of Fab Chain has gone live: http://test.fabchain.net:5000/ Contact to developers https://matrix.to/#/#fab-chain:fabcity.hamburg


More information

Projects that are working in this using blockchain: