[hackerspaces] Hackerspaces and alternative/crypto-currency (Was: How to make money to sustain a hackerspace)

Randall Arnold randall.arnold at texrat.net
Thu Dec 11 17:48:35 CET 2014


Thanks for the reference.

With Tarrant Makers, we were designed to be very community-oriented and
structured to develop/support 1 to n number of physical spaces.  We recognized
that spaces in our region (Tarrant county) could be created by any number of
organizations, including local libraries, and we wanted to create a meta concept
of perks and privileges that would span all of them (assuming space buy-in of
course).  The solution as we saw it was as you say, an alternative currency.  I
was working on a points-based system, using something like myCRED
(https://wordpress.org/plugins/mycred/) which has a Wordpress plugin and a
fairly decent following.  Members can buy points using a variety of means,
including Paypal.  We would create a local, members-only economy as you also
note, including the ability for volunteers to earn points, gift points, cash
out, etc.

Even though our organization failed I still think this is a good idea, even for
a single space.  The one caveat is that once you decouple your community economy
from the national economy, things like inflation can be an issue... but I would
expect that points would be consumed and traded at a rate that would make this
largely moot.


> On December 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM Edward L Platt <ed at elplatt.com> wrote:
>     Using hackerspaces as hubs for alternative currencies is an intriguing
> idea. I've been thinking about this as well and recently read a great book
> with a number of case studies on alternative, community-based currencies:
>     http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1529689.Money
>     It's important to decide whether you want to experiment with new forms of
> money, or whether you have specific community goals. It's the usual
> hackerspace problem: do you want a project or a tool. Either can be good, but
> trying to mix the two is often disastrous.
>     Personally, I'm more interested in alternative currency as a
> community-building tool. Hackerspaces are in a great position to do this too.
> By issuing notes that can be redeemed for future dues, hackerspaces have a
> natural way to back alternative currencies. There's a system described in the
> book I mentioned that works like this: local businesses make donations to a
> hackerspace (either in-kind or in dollars) and receive a note as a receipt.
> Those businesses can give those notes to customers or employees as incentives.
> Those customers and employees can then either use them to pay for hackerspace
> memberships, or to buy goods from businesses based out of the hackerspace.
> This has several benefits:
>     - Development of a local economy, independent of the dollar.
>     - Increased sales for local businesses and use of excess capacity.
>     - Increased hackerspace membership.
>     I'd be interested in working with anyone setting up that kind of system.
>     Happy hacking,
>     -Ed
>     On Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 9:29 PM, Mark Scrano < mscrano at ieee.org
> <mailto:mscrano at ieee.org> > wrote:
>         > > I am involved with a hackerspace that is a 501(c)3 non-profit
> >         organization, and I have an idea for a fundraiser that involves work
> > in
> >         the cryptocurrency field. Our space has always been a break even
> > type
> >         of group where we are large enough to sustain our basics.
> > Unfortunately
> >         we do not end up with any reserves and lately since we have moved
> > into a
> >         bigger space our growth has not continued as we have hoped, we now
> > are
> >         running in the red. I have proposed the following idea to our board
> > and
> >         if any other spaces are interested in making this a larger endeavor
> >         please follow up with me either on or off thread. I am considering
> >         creating a user created asset on the counterparty platform many of
> > the
> >         details have yet to be ironed out but here is the basic concept.
> > Once
> >         we have created a distribution schedule we will start with a crowd
> >         funding sale. Anyone that contributes to the initial round of seed
> >         funding will get an equal distribution of the token we create based
> > upon
> >         how much they contributed financially. (I.E. we raise 1 million[heh
> > i
> >         wish] and the schedule calls for 1 million tokens then each token
> > would
> >         = $1) Once the tokens are distributed we continue to distribute
> > tokens
> >         to people that are actively contributing to a hackerspace/makerspace
> >         that is involved in the experiment. For example someone that teaches
> > a
> >         class could earn a number of tokens for that event etc. Individual
> >         spaces could create task lists or action items that would also earn
> >         tokens for being completed. Tokens could then be used within the
> >         hackerspace community or exchanged on a marketplace for cash. Being
> > a
> >         space that does not currently have full time employees or the
> > ability to
> >         hire and pay full time employees I think this could pick up the
> > slack on
> >         some of the tasks that are not regularly completed. Please any
> > feedback
> >         that you have is welcome, be brutal. Any spaces that are interested
> > in
> >         collaborating or being part of the experiment please let me know!
> >         Regards,
> >         Mark Scrano
> > 
> > 
> >         _______________________________________________
> >         Discuss mailing list
> >         Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > <mailto:Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org>
> >         http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> > 
> >     > 
>     --
>     Edward L. Platt
>     http://elplatt.com
>     http://civic.mit.edu/users/elplatt
>     http://i3detroit.com
>     @elplatt <http://twitter.com/elplatt>
>     This electronic mail message was sent from my desktop personal computer.
> Please forgive any long-winded, overly-prosaic ramblings.
>     _______________________________________________
>     Discuss mailing list
>     Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
>     http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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