Commons Engine

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= sub-project in the context of Holochains: building a technology infrastructure for cooperatives to work together at scale


From an interview by Oliver Sylvester-Bradley.

Matthew Schutte:

"The goal with the Commons Engine is to help make use of this new economic engine (our mutual-credit crypto-accounting system) and our familiarity with the fundraising, banking and regulatory worlds to help a bunch of other communities bootstrap similar economy fostering engines into place. You can think of this as sharing our design with select communities that will apply it to their own context to help foster flows of resources among the participants in their community.

Because the design of our crypto-accounting architecture is an asset-backed one, it is dependent on there being assets that can back the currency. In our system, the asset backing the currency is web hosting capacity (and a demonstrated ability to deliver). However, other communities might rely on this same architecture for instead fostering flows of electricity, or food, or elder-care or rideshares amongst peers.

The vision with the commons engine is to power a series of thriving commons based economies – picture things like peer-to-peer renewable electricity cooperatives, or ride sharing communities – by creating the technical infrastructure that enables contributions by participants to be recognized elsewhere within, and perhaps beyond, that community.

That ends up enabling flows of activity regardless of whether the community possesses traditional “money.”

In addition, we want to create sets of tools that co-ops can make use of to manage their affairs – communications, decision making etc. There are a handful of things that, regardless of the type of participatory community you’re in, it could be a food co-op or a co-housing community, you need to take care of similar patterns.

One of our goals as part of the Commons Engine is to have a “toolkit” of applications you can download and use and combine with one another to create an interoperable system. And we’re planning to give a bunch of this away for free." (