1. Protecting oneself, protecting others and the lifeworld.
We are addressing the problem of protecting oneself, protecting others and the lifeworld. We consider financing the purchase or self-production of medical equipment in order to integrate public and private supplies timely and granularly as among the main necessities of society. For instance, the supply of face masks, swab tests and ventilators are clearly inadequate to meet the needs of the population, which factor worsens the healthcare crisis. Market economy and public economy don’t respond effectively to emergencies in general. Lifting the lockdown also means that public transportation will face a strong shrinkage of its efficiency. The spread of the virus, as well as its high mortality rate appears from recent studies to be also affected by the levels of pollution. A solution is strongly required to avoid mass private driving. Our social and economic proposal answers also to present and future existential suffering caused by the quarantine and further measure of social distancing as part of a major life sustaining strategy to support social ties.
2-3. WiseLife economics: A pragmatic and generative vision.
Traditional crowdfunding solutions can be performed by using Commonshood, through its functionality named crowdsale, in order to achieve purchase and/or self-production of the above mentioned scarce medical equipment by using 3D printers. The crowdsale is regulated by a smart contract managing the crowdfunding initiative: each crowdsale has a time limit and a token amount limit established by the creator of the initiative, and collects one or more types of tokens created through the web-app. If the token amount limit is reached, the crowdfunding is successful. If this is not the case, the tokens contributed by the donors automatically return to their individual wallets. If the crowdsale is successful, the donors can be automatically rewarded with a certain amount of other kinds of tokens, entitling to face masks or swab tests for instance. Such functionality can be potentially integrated with an existing crowdfunding platform, which can speed up the process of marketing and of network building for the businesses and associations involved. The ongoing pilot in Turin is provided as an example of such implementation. The Case del Quartiere, a network of 8 associations managing urban buildings as commons in the city of Turin, participating in the CO3 project (https://www.projectco3.eu/it/ can potentially contribute to such projects by hosting the 3D printers, or other means of production, and the medical equipment itself, and volunteers can home-delivery this to the elderly population. The lack of liquidity of small local businesses, as well as associations like the Case del Quartiere can be addressed through more specific functionalities of the Commonshood platform. A complementary currency program through tokenization can easily be implemented via the web-app. This system would be used to tackle the social and economic issues involving the need for supplementary forms of mobility. Moreover, by virtue of the participation of the Rete delle Case del Quartiere association, the start up stage could involve its users (commoners, volunteers and clients), and the Case del Quartiere could potentiate the already existing service of bike repair, bike sales and bike rental (Officine Creative) in order to support a green turn in the short run for the urban mobility based on cycling. This would provide in this respect a countercyclical support and serve as a vehicle to strengthen social ties. Each business could potentially create its own discount tokens. The complementary currency would be legally backed by a contract indicating the terms and conditions regulating the use of such tokens, which can be easily uploaded on the webapp. In order to combine immediate capital collection on the association/local business side, as in the case of crowdsales, and long term cost reduction for the families, a hybrid system between the two can be designed. In this system, the former group sells non-fungible tokens (coupons) representing a membership card. This entitles the holder to periodic cashback dividends in complementary currency. In this scheme each business is completely free to decide the supply and the rate of acceptance of its own token. This would incentivize the above mentioned actors to seek an optimum between the increased sales volume generated by the high rate of acceptance of the complementary currency and the reduced margin per unit. When such tokens return to the business or associations backing them through discounts, they would be automatically cancelled, so that the supply of such tokens would remain under control. The network adopting this community currency program, could potentially form a consortium minting its own discount token, accepted in the whole system. The circulation of such token distributed via cashback dividend to the members, who would in their turn distribute a part of it to their clients, would have the important positive effects, such as incentivizing connections among the businesses and associations. These would, therefore support each other, and benefit from B2B discounts as well. On the families side, the system would allow them to benefit from a long term cost reduction deriving from a small initial expense for the membership card. Moreover, the larger the network, the higher the benefit of the cashback in the discount tokens generated by the consortium. The role of the consortium could also involve backing of last resort for the tokens of single businesses that might close after having sold the membership cards to the users. In this way the risk of moral hazard on the business side is significantly reduced. the mechanism of interoperability of tokens (i.e. the possibility to exchange the tokens of a single business with that of the consortium), in the short run would be limited to the smart contracts of vending machines, and exchange machines Moreover, the financial stability of all the businesses participating would benefit from such innovation as well, due to the increased predictability of cash flows, these being closely linked to the cashback dividend flows. Such a system would be even more countercyclical than a normal complementary currency network, because the businesses that are less financially stable, but which can provide sufficient backing with their goods and services can decide to distribute additional cashback dividends to the users financing them through the membership cards. In this respect, solidarity and reciprocity would be enhanced among the diverse economic actors, and new connections among the local businesses and associations and the citizens would be facilitated. The platform is already available and ready for use (see https://www.commonshood.eu/), and the whole discount token model can be rapidly implemented with no or little need to modify existing smart contracts. The networks of associations adopting the complementary currency scheme could also support volunteers willing to deliver the essential goods to the elderly population who are endangered by the Covid-19 virus, by rewarding them with tokens which can be spent at the businesses and associations as discounts. In such a system, support to those volunteering activities wouldn’t be a cost for the businesses, but an opportunity to build new social ties. Volunteering activities can be enhanced and made more efficient and effective. Timebanking, for instance, is a potential application of tokenization. The tokens in this case would represent hours of the volunteers, who could, therefore keep a track record of the tasks performed, on which they would base their reputations. Sponsors among the local businesses and associations within the system could sponsor the volunteers by distributing rewards in their tokens. The local businesses selling basic goods and services could also decide to sponsor the insurance of volunteers, and other groups, such as freelancers, who lack adequate insurance protection from the market by distributing their discount tokens. This would also allow them to benefit from reduction of costs.
4. The solution’s impact to the crisis
The crowdfunding aimed at the purchase and production of medical equipment will contribute to the reduction of the R0 below the threshold of 1, due to the protection measures. It will also have the important effect to reduce the avoidable mortality of the disease, by potentiating the healthcare response to the disease.
Moreover, Our solution addresses the economic and social suffering, by allowing to buffer income losses for businesses and associations and individuals. The economic impact of the crisis can be reduced by our solution through our crowdfunding system, because businesses will potentially access a new funding source, whose costs will be based on the revenues, allowing the SMEs to continue the activities after the lockdown. Also the consumers will benefit from the reduction of the costs of purchasing goods and services, a useful aspect considering the future impact of the crisis on the incomes. This will in its turn positively affect indicators of mental and emotional well-being. Moreover, the decentralization brought about by the blockchain based technology of the platform, will allow the spread of a decentralized paradigm, allowing on and off chain governance. Sharing personal data for health research and for wise and just co-design of urban-rural ecosystems: personal data as voluntary engagement is an essential part of this vision for the mid-long term. DLTs can guarantee this results through appropriate coordination mechanisms via on-off line governance (sociocracy, quadratic voting, federating voting and others are under scrutiny with the CO3 project research team).
5. The necessities in order to continue the project
In order to continue the project, our necessities are mainly linked with two aspects: the funds to kickstart our idea and a partner to collaborate with in order to develop a mobile app. The latter is an option that can be a more user-friendly approach to the customers and businesses compared with a web app. This solution is not affordable by the current team that has developed Commonshood, so it has to be outsourced. Another aspects are the marketing and legal sides of our project: these aspects can be managed at the moment by using the existing infrastructure, but a more specific and expert advisory could maximise the impact of the solution in the current situation.
6. The value of your solution(s) after the crisis
The crisis can be considered as a catalyst for the Internet of Value 2.0 which lies at the core of the Co3 and Commonshood projects, which is going to enable individuals, groups and institutions to create their own media of value exchange allowing them to experiment new economic forms. In this respect communities will be provided with tools to increase their social and economic mastery, which will provide the population adopting it to obtain supplementary income due to the enhanced circulation of national currency. Businesses will benefit from a system providing liquidity that they wouldn’t be able to obtain in the context of a system based on a single national currency. Moreover, promotion and support of volunteering activities will be enhanced via these innovative tools. Therefore, volunteering will undergo a transformation from unpaid work to acknowledge activity for the community enabling communities to deal with technological unemployment, accelerated by Covid-19. As a consequence of the current crisis, firms will introduce technology to face tougher competition and to deal with consequences of protection measures for those more at risk labour intensive activities. With respect to technical improvements, a more sophisticated system of interoperability based on bonding curves and on arbitrage automatically regulating the token supply, such as the Bancor Protocol could be designed.
7. The URL to the prototype (Website,...)
8. The URL to the pitchvideo
Technological aspects of Commonshood (Commonshood Application, Technical Report, 2019)
Here we provide a brief overview of the technical aspects of Commonshood in order to explain why we decided to implement such projects on that infrastructure.
CommonsHood is based on Ethereum and has been deployed as a permissioned network, since it is currently the Blockchain most used for smart contracts. The solution, however, allows the application to be potentially deployed on all Ethereum-based projects, like Quorum or multichain platforms like Cosmos or Polkadot, as well as in the Ethereum main net in the future. Commonshood is a Wallet app, that is a webapp plus a toolkit connected to an Ethereum Blockchain, which devices allow the users to interface with a user- friendly interface on the web in order to interact through the smart contracts on chain. Furthermore, the Identity API is designed to manage user identities, in terms of authentication and authorization. It also maps a user with its Ethereum wallet, so that the web app can sign the transactions to the Smart Contracts Interface. Smart Contracts are developed in Solidity and are based on ERC standards by extending the widely tested OpenZeppelin21 framework. Since storage of binary data directly on blockchain is a very inefficient solution, in terms of costs and performance, they are stored off chain in P2P stores. More specifically, the Storage API communicates with an IPFS (https://ipfs.io/) consortium network, to maintain a decentralized paradigm even in binary data storage. As a future development, Commonshood can potentially be developed as a permissionless blockchain, in order to better fit the decentralization paradigm.
Advantages of using the Blockchain Technology (Commonshood Application, Technical Report, 2019) The open decentralized and disintermediated infrastructure is designed to:
- to avoid the fees and data control of services from group-buying or crowdfunding websites.
- to dematerialize instruments such as discount coupons, which are usually printed on paper and most often trashed in a bin.
- to have a general purpose single Wallet app that can be used by everyone to issue new types of tokens, rather than different ones for different associations and retailers, so that fragmentation is avoided.
- to develop a local, and interoperable, Blockchain infrastructure, without the need of a trusted third party.
- to collect data about the local economy which then remain in the hands of a community.
- The Blockchain ensures the transparency of data, thus enabling trust, while preserving privacy via pseudoanonymity.