The Open Source Economy and Metacurrencies

Posted: November 28th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian

Global Guerrillas

Here’s an alternative to complaining about how broken the current system is (or arguing about nonsense like what “should” or “shouldn’t” happen).  It’s a way to create something new that can improve all of our lives.

The article below is the latest post to the Metacurrency Project.  If you are interested, please join the mailing list (you can get digests either daily or weekly if you just want to keep tabs on it).

NOTE:  This is proving hideously difficult to explain all at once.  So, please bear with me.


Basically, what this metacurrency project is about (at least my intent) is to find a way to rapidly build successful open source ventures (and over time: build an open source economy).  These open source ventures:

  1. generate incomes for the participants ($$, yen, Gold, Euros, food, etc.),
  2. automate the allocation of rewards based on contribution, and
  3. don’t require a corporate hierarchy/bureaucracy to manage them (which ultimately dooms every corporation to stagnation/death/inefficiency).

The short term objective of the project is to build a social network enabled Internet venture, using metacurrencies, that proves the concept.

Let’s examine this in detail:

First, why focus on social network enabled Internet ventures?  They  grow very quickly, require little capital (fixed costs are low), and the tasks required to operate them are quantifiable. They are also VERY lucrative.  Further, the only true obstacle to building a successful venture of this type is a large network of people willing to advance the system.

Second, what is a metacurrency?  At the top level, metacurrencies make it easy to build a large social network that can accomplish complex tasks.  Let’s deconstruct this.

A metacurrency isn’t a traditional currency.  It more of a currency that awards currencies.  In other words, it’s about finding automated ways to determine who makes a contribution, how much they should be rewarded for that contribution, and when they get that reward.

All ventures, at core, are a bundle of tasks that run continuously.  These tasks, in aggregate, solve the problem the venture was formed to solve.  These tasks can be decomposed into specific functions that can be accomplished by individuals or groups. The measure of whether these functions are successfully completed or not can be automated.   Further, these functions can be attached to a reward.  The combination of automated  measurement of a venture function + reward is a metacurrency (the rules of which are transparent).

So, by extension, any venture = a bundle of metacurrencies. Some metacurrencies, like deal sourcing in Groupon‘s case, are venture specific. Others, like reputation and skill at a particular task, are applicable economy wide (part of the platform).

Metacurrencies can be configured in a variety of ways.

Where do we go with this if it works?  Here are some ideas:


Comments (4)


  1. […] Militant Libertarian » The Open Source Economy and Metacurrencies This entry was posted on Monday, November 29th, 2010 at 1:48 am and is filed under News, […]

  2. A thought to ponder…

    What happens when someone is banned from, or cannot access, electricity or the interwebs?

    Is this really the direction we want to put our time, labor, and stores-of-intrinsic-value towards?

    Surely we should remember this from LRC recently:

    Starving The Monkeys and Ending The Looterfest,
    John and Dagny Galt
    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


    • Aaron says:

      This isn’t meant as a TSHTF replacement, but instead is meant as a way to both globalize currency and to move it away from centralized control.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Founder Fire, Aaron Turpen. Aaron Turpen said: New post: The Open Source Economy and Metacurrencies ( […]

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