5 results for “Crypto-Deep-Deep-Series”

The future of the ECO Coin

Koen Blezer
June 26th 2018

How can we design a cryptocurrency for the better of humanity and ecology? In this last chapter of the crypto deep dive series, we will dissect two kinds of blockchain cryptocurrencies that are currently making waves on the internet and beyond. Furthermore, we explore the waves of the ECO Coin framework that intends to bring humans a democratic system - with living trees - into this sustainable, communal cryptocurrency.…

The return of direct democracy: Introducing a digital agora to the crypto-world

Koen Blezer
June 11th 2018

In Ancient Greece the people were part of a direct-democracy, this means that they would directly vote for policies and laws. Nowadays, it seems as though this horizontal approach to governance of a community is desired again: The crypto world has developed a specific platform to enable direct democracies to their users; the Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAO’s). What could these DAO’s mean for the ECO Coin? May these revive the ancient buzzing agora, this time in the digital sphere?…

The future infrastructure of the blockchain might be green and humane

Koen Blezer
April 25th 2018

The connection we share through the Internet has laid the foundation for a whole new digital infrastructure, in which blockchain technology is heralded by many believers for being the future of both our money and our internet infrastructure. However, the future of this technology and its applicability is not so certain as many blockchain evangelists will have you believe. This makes us wonder, how exactly are we going to build our collective and digital future? Can we make it less …

The return of trade: Blockchain technology is enabling trade to make a fierce comeback

Koen Blezer
April 5th 2018

Before money came into existence, trading was all we knew. Farmers in China traded their spades for food and other goods, and this continued up until a point where most spades were no longer used for digging, as they had shrunk down for convenience in being a medium of exchange. While the heavily abstracted spades had turned into something that resembled its former function, farmers were still able to connect it to the environment in which the trade was happening …

Slowing down to start up: Here’s the first chapter of our crypto deep dive series

Koen Blezer
March 28th 2018

It takes years to design a new banknote, having hundreds of people working on every little detail, all done under the watchful eye of governments and professionals. However today, blockchain technology allows anyone to create and launch their own digital cryptocurrency in less than a minute with only a few clicks. What does this all mean? In this Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at some of these new coins, diving into the technology that underpins them, and …

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In this last chapter of the crypto deep dive series, we will dissect two kinds of blockchain cryptocurrencies that are currently making waves on the internet and beyond. Furthermore, we explore the waves of the ECO Coin framework that intends to bring humans a democratic system - with living trees - into this sustainable, communal cryptocurrency.Blockchain technology has only been around for ten years. It was only in 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper. To put it in perspective: this means that cryptocurrency technology is about as old as the first iPhone.However, in these ten years Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency technologies have fundamentally changed the way in which we look at money.Traditional money is always bound to either national or supranational organs that have a rigidly structured political and legal framework. However, in the blockchain world, these legal and political frameworks are way less elaborate (or sometimes even non-existent).The sheer possibility of having money that is uncontrollable, ungovernable and often not taxable is a seismic shift in terms of monetary development. All of that has happened in the course of ten years. A promising start, leaving us wondering: what may be coming in the future?Next Nature Network is developing a new crypto currency, the ECO Coin. In our view, what’s needed for blockchain technology to be used to its full potential, is a system that stimulates sustainable and earth-friendly behaviour. That blockchain system is simply not built yet, but ECO coin is making steps towards building it.Luckily for ECO coin, we are not the only ones to pursue sustainable blockchain technology. We have peers (and potential partners) that we can learn from. People that are developing their own platform(s) in the same, bottom-up way that ECO coin is trying to do.In this final story in the crypto-deep dive series, we will explore two examples of currencies that the ECO-coin is drawing inspiration from, and we explore the framework of the soon to be used ECO coin. So let’s leave the crypto-anarchism for what it is and look at bottom-up, society-focused blockchain solutions.

Tokens: a digital representation of human data

Besides cryptocurrency money there are also (cryptographic) tokens. In this world, a world that is not focused on big-money and system-wide revolution, there are many interesting things happening that ECO coin can learn from.Cryptographic tokens are a form of digital payment currency that can resemble any real-world asset and anything that generates more data or money on behalf of the token holder. Interest or dividends earned can be tokenized and subsequently shared as well. The person holding the tokens will automatically receive all interests and dividends connected to it.So how do these tokens work on the practical level?Let’s take the idea of a token out of the abstract by analysing a project like the Dutch NestEgg.The word nest egg has the connotation of a sum of money that is saved for the future. In essence, NestEgg is a platform that aims to build sustainable energy infrastructure without direct investments from governments or real estate investors.Users put money into the platform, which NestEgg uses to build infrastructure (like for example a windmill) and in return, users get a cryptographic token which is their proof of having invested into the infrastructure. The token automatically generates dividends, meaning that the token earns the user money as long as it’s held. Users can claim through the NestEgg platform after the infrastructure project is built.NestEgg, in essence, is a way to democratise pension investment. When young people invest into it now, they have a way of saving up for their own retirement, fully outside of traditional pension funds.We should be looking to integrate these tokens for things that are not articulated within our current, dominant economic framework of fiat money. The most applicable articulation of this research, is of course, ecological value.ECO coin was majorly inspired by this approach of using digital currencies for investing into your own pension (read: the far future). It’s a subject that is so contradictory to the lightning speed developments within the current blockchain space.In a way, you can compare an investment into the ECO coin platform as an investment into the future. And even though it doesn’t return actual direct dividends or money, the soft result of an investment into ECO coin is that you make sure that the (near) future stays within reach humanities effect on climate change is brought back lots. People will also begin believing in the future again, where we can live together with both our ecosphere and technosphere in a great symbiosis.

Money: better when spent

Another inspiring example, this time in the category of money, is the FreiCoin project. This coin decays in value over time, making it more inflationary than our euro’s. The effect is that over time users can buy less for any FreiCoin that they’re holding.So why is that a good and inspiring thing?The project incorporates the concept of a demurrage fee, which in the days of physical money was a kind of service fee that you would pay to the banker stores and safeguards your gold. A service fee, if you will.In the FreiCoin project, however, demurrage fees are actively implemented to make it less attractive to hold an amount of FreiCoin for a longer period of time, and more attractive to spend your money. If you have €100,- worth in FreiCoins, those will be worth approximately $61.39 in the course of a mere 10 years. One can imagine what the FreiCoin demurrage fee would do to the capital of the world’s wealthiest people. It wouldn’t make sense anymore for them to hold on to it when the same fees would apply. As such, currencies that decay in value (currencies with a very high deflation rate) have the possibility of leveling out the economic field when they are adopted on a big scale. The world’s wealthy people would be forced to re-circulate their money into the economy and broader society in the form of investments. Those investments would benefit everyone in that sector, instead of just the capital holders.These are the kinds of solutions that are worthwhile to look at in the span of a 100 years.Therefore the ECO coin has chosen to incorporate this structural incentive of a demurrage fee to incentivize users to spend the coins at partners as quickly as possible instead of doing the #hodl that many crypto investors do.Making this technology it even more rooted in nature: the value of ECOs represent the decaying value of trees, since trees mature and die over time, too. We’ve calculated that it takes about a 100 years for a tree to die, so it should also take 100 years for an ECO coin to die, meaning that 1% will be cut off its value every year.

The framework of the ecocoin

So how are we going to use cryptocurrency technology for the better of humanity?The eco coin will be an investment in humanities future, generating ecological dividends over time. And, it’s value will decay quickly over time, incentivizing the user community to spend the coins and keep the currency vivid.Within the framework of the ECO coin, which will be alive within the blockchain world of the 100 years to come, we also aim to fundamentally change the root of blockchain technology to include humans into the equation, as well as ethics.Adding humans into the equation: the eco-inspector Any (blockchain) system that wants to sincerely be good has to ‘force’ its users to work towards the same collective goals. As of yet, this ‘working towards the same collective goals’ is simply non-existent in the many blockchain networks that are around.In other words: there’s no ethical guidance yet in whatever a blockchain can and can’t do. That’s why we are introducing the ECO Inspector: a real-life job with which you do important work for the ECO Coin network and are remunerated for your work in ECO coins.The ECO coin network can never go without its ECO inspectors. They literally keep the blockchain afloat by verifying that sustainable actions took place, introducing and training new ECO inspectors and managing the escrowed trees by confirming that these trees are still standing at the given location. In addition, giving this task to humans, instead of to computer power, may prove to make this currency less energy intensive.Democratizing to aid sustainabilityWhat’s important for the coming years of blockchain development is that ethics become a part of the conversation in the blockchain world. Whether you are using your Bitcoin to fund sustainable ideas or to fund an arms race within Africa, to the Bitcoin network: it doesn’t matter.Moreover, agency and self-regulation are a big problem in current blockchain networks as well as a big question for regulating bodies. How can you regulate/steer something that is not tied to any one location nor can be shut down?The ECO coin is making people work towards the same collective goal of doing more sustainable actions and treating the planet well. The regulating body, the ECO coin team, can only point in the direction of a solution, but it is building systems that outsource decisionmaking on the environmental questions and uncertainties towards its community of users.We will do that by creating a decentralised monetary fund where users can vote on wherever the fund’s money should go. A Decentralised Autonomous Charity, a digital agora. This means that the authority about what is and what isn’t sustainable will not be held within ECO coin as a company, but rather be collectively agreed upon by the community of users. We are working on the voting system as we speak and users will be able to vote from the app very easily.All together, eco coin team, the eco inspectors, and the voting community will work towards a system where ECO coins can only be spent on sustainable products, thereby changing our consumption habits. Therefore, a thorough dive into into the supply chain and production methods of the companies that want to partner in order to verify that they are, indeed, selling good, sustainable produce that should be exchangeable for ECO coins.Because the blockchain will be public and vendors are identified, funding bad ideas using ECO coins will be nearly impossible to do. And this is also strongly de-incentivised by the network as a whole, since ECO coins can only be spent at certified vendors.Nature is to be hard-wired into our technology On top of that, any ECO coin is not just a superficial number on a blockchain, but it stands for an actual, living tree somewhere in the world.As such, the network is literally pegged to real-world trees, who back this new cryptocurrency with something that has tangible value. The ECO coin trees are the physical representations of the digital network.With the ECO coin, a part of our ecology (trees) will be hard-wired into the technological world of the future. That is forward to Nature, pur sang.Let’s use this framework to save the future, and our earth, together.This was the last story of the crypto deep dive series, in which we immersed ourselves into the crypto world to explore the possibilities for the ECO coin. Want to learn more? Visit the ECO Coin website, where we will soon publish the technical paper. [post_title] => The future of the ECO Coin [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => future-of-the-eco-coin [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-07 10:48:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-07 09:48:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=82179 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81970 [post_author] => 1593 [post_date] => 2018-06-11 14:00:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-11 13:00:45 [post_content] => In Ancient Greece the people were part of a direct-democracy, this means that they would directly vote for policies and laws. Nowadays, it seems as though this horizontal approach to governance of a community is desired again: The crypto world has developed a specific platform to enable direct democracies to their users; the Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAO’s). What could these DAO’s mean for the ECO Coin? May these revive the ancient buzzing agora, this time in the digital sphere?

Inspired by Athens' ancient direct democracy

Back in the ancient city-state of Athens, citizens would roam its “Agora” - today known as a marketplace - to exchange goods and political ideas. Ancient Athens had what can be best described as a direct democracy: People voted directly on new policies, and there weren’t many elected politicians. Via a rotational model, 500 men were randomly chosen from the pool of citizens to think of new laws and change the old ones. Today, thousands of years later, most of our societies within nation-states have developed representative democracies where citizens elect officials who, in turn, make new laws and re-evaluate old ones on behalf of the country. The early beginnings of this current model of representative democracy is largely attributed to the direct democracy of ancient Athens. But, this representative democracy is not a utopia for all organisations. Many communities that are either smaller or more spread out than a nation-state are looking for ways to more efficiently and transparently manage their decision-making processes. For instance, corporations that are looking at ways to implement more flattened organisational structures or to simply cut out the managerial levels of their businesses in order to save money, increase accountability and develop more efficiency. For these smaller or widely spread communities, corporations and organisations, the Agora once again serves as an example to implement more direct democratic structures.

Voting in the crypto world: Decentralized autonomous organizations

One place where this direct democracy may find its medium is in the crypto-world. The Ethereum network has created a programmable voting structure for this process, which they call a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). These are in essence small pieces of code that are deployed on a blockchain, meaning that they are programmed to behave in certain ways without exceptions. DAO’s can have various ways of functioning, but they all require a user to deposit a given amount of their coins into the DAO. This gives the user a vote within the organisation. The most well-known example of a functioning DAO is located within the DASH (short for Digital Cash) network. It’s a cryptocurrency mostly being used in Asia with a treasury model where users offer a collateral of 1000 DASH (at the time of writing worth around $400k) to be a voting actor within the network. The 1000 DASH is being used as a deposit to ensure the coin holders honour their commitment to keeping the masternodes up and to interact with the proposals. With their 1000 DASH, they set up what’s called a ‘masternode’: an elaborate cryptocurrency wallet that comes with a piece of software and allows them to vote on new proposals. These proposals include anything from developer wages to marketing efforts to the development of new products. Proposals can be submitted by users and once a proposal reaches its threshold of votes, the code executes in such a way that the proposing party receives, for example, the funds that they made a proposal for. In this new framework, the beautiful Agora of Athens is replaced with a digital interface: all voting is done online.In the case of ECO Coin, our currency to connect economy and ecology, the proposals being submitted could include the funding of sustainable initiatives or could even propose to create renewable energy infrastructure to the benefit of the ECO Coin network.

Envisioning a DAO voting world

Naturally, the logic of a DAO can go far beyond the allocation of funds. For instance, in the work field, employees can vote on each other’s promotions.In the context of music festivals a DAO could set out a question for its users to answer, for example: What do you deem to have contributed most towards reducing this festivals ecological footprint? The community could then answer: “amount of plastic cups returned”. After the vote has been done, the (group of) users that returned the most cups could have their NFC bracelets updated with a certain amount of free drinks. Perhaps they can get access to special areas at the festival where other visitors can’t visit. The more interwoven and sensor-connected our future environment becomes, the more the potential of such a DAO structure can be explored. The best part is, there is not a single employee needed to ensure this operation continues. The only requirement is that the network has enough active participants.Within the context of the ECO Coin, a DAO can be an important tool to leverage the knowledge of the user-community and trigger user interaction. Implementing a DAO structure would mean that users actually own a part of the network, since they have all the power to decide on any important decisions to be made. It would herald, you guessed it, a return of the Athenian Agora in a digital form, within which important dialogue takes place around what sustainability exactly is.

Decentralized organisations: No one leads, everyone does

Apart from the communal benefits that the DAO structure has, a DAO also ensures that there is not a single point of failure. The team behind the ECO Coin does not maintain the network in any way (just like any other blockchain network), as it is maintained by miners, stakers and masternodes - therefore you could say that it is partly owned by these people. Because the members are voting directly on proposals, the DASH is functioning as a ‘headless’ organisation in a way. In most traditional organizations, most decision making is the CEO’s job. In this new DAO framework, the code is being trusted to ensure these decisions are taken and the network is being asked for input on making them. This was hard to realise before DAO’s came about, since it would mean that organisations had to rely on the employees themselves to make and arrange the moments of decision-making, next to their usual workload.The software being used to run the masternodes is spread out over all the different participants. That’s what the Decentralized part stands for: ECO Coin would not be running more than just one of the masternodes themselves, and the one they might run would not differ at all from the one another user would set up.Even if the one node that the ECO Coin maintains fails for whatever reason, the rest of the network will continue to run, since all other actors on the network run the exact same software and can therefore guarantee a continued and smooth operation. This is a major benefit of any decentralized application and it takes away some important responsibilities from the ECO Coin team, meaning they can fully focus on the development of new functionalities on the platform and engaging more people in the discussion taking place around sustainability and ecological action.To sum up, DAO’s could provide the ECO Coin and other initiatives with a platform for users to engage in an important discussion and put these points of debate into actual policy through the voting on proposals: A place where ideas are openly discussed and voted on, that sounds a lot like the Agora of ancient Athens, doesn’t it? [post_title] => The return of direct democracy: Introducing a digital agora to the crypto-world [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-agora-crypto-world [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-15 07:52:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-15 06:52:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81970 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81454 [post_author] => 1593 [post_date] => 2018-04-25 10:00:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-25 09:00:27 [post_content] => The connection we share through the Internet has laid the foundation for a whole new digital infrastructure, in which blockchain technology is heralded by many believers for being the future of both our money and our internet infrastructure. However, the future of this technology and its applicability is not so certain as many blockchain evangelists will have you believe. This makes us wonder, how exactly are we going to build our collective and digital future? Can we make it less energy intensive, and bring back the human touch?When the first version of the Internet came about, people had to dial-up over phone lines using a modem to connect it to the network. You paid by the minute, the connection dropped every now and then, and in general, it wasn’t a very nice experience.We may be safe to say that, the blockchain is currently still in its dial-up phase: it's clunky, often not very user-friendly, and probably only being used by some technical cousin of yours.This leaves us with the opportunity to develop this new infrastructure of technologies. There are many projects that aim to push the blockchain further - which we will refer to as ‘infrastructure projects’. These are projects that aim to build the interconnected infrastructure of tomorrow, and with that, make the technology accessible to a larger audience. In the near future, we may be living in co-existence with these systems.Bitcoin with its Proof of Work blockchain (Proof of Work refers to cryptographically signing transactions together in tree-like structures) was only the first generation (or iteration) of this important tool. Ethereum (with its “smart contracts”) heralded the 2nd generation, and now we are looking at a 3rd generation, the future of blockchain tools. If we compare this to our internet-metaphor, we could see this generation as the ‘Wi-Fi routers among blockchains’.Looking at the current environment, though, it’s sometimes hard to envision this 3rd generation of future infrastructure, because it is yet to be built and mapped out in concrete terms. We can, however, explore a direction the ECO-coin is hoping this future of money may take. Namely, to minimize the energy usage of this money-system, and to ensure a human inclusion in this future technology.

Towards a lesser energy-intensive coin

In all this talk of the ‘technology of tomorrow’, sustainability consistently flies under the radar. The world genuinely needs ecological technologies, and it definitely needs ecological cryptocurrency technologies. Next Nature Network has asked itself the question: can we build a coin that is ecological by design?A promising glimpse of this future, may come from the proposed IOTA token, which is an example of such a 3rd generation blockchain. IOTA offers an important inspiration to the ECO Coin project, because it is thinking thoroughly about the energy usage of blockchains.IOTA is a token that will be distributed within all the Internet of Things (IoT) devices that will probably be added to our homes in the coming years. The IOTA token would make it possible for IoT machines to award each other for the data that they generate. So the thermostat could award the security camera for registering that one of the house owners walks into the house.This token has yet to prove itself worthy. But this doesn’t mean the platform or token is worthless. We may derive a valuable goal and means from it.The IOTA token, if it succeeds, is able to use less energy and therefore leverage different infrastructure technology than Bitcoin and Ethereum miners are able to. Small computers within our IoT sensors could potentially keep the IOTA ‘blockchain’ (which is actually not a blockchain) afloat and running, whereas Ethereum and Bitcoin mining can only be done with expensive, dedicated mining computers that can’t be used to do anything else than mine cryptocurrency.There aren’t many ways to connect a product to a blockchain yet., The most common approach to use the blockchain is the earlier mentioned Proof of Work. The most important feature of this way of confirming transactions is that every historical transaction ever done is recalculated within every new transaction that is made. This process is there to prevents corrupt money transfers. However, it is very power-intensive, as you need masses of calculating power to recalculate every single transaction every single time.Therefore, the IOTA protocol is not only a hype: it can really solve a very persistent problem in the blockchain space; that of energy usage.We think there is a need for more players in this emerging market of energy efficient blockchain services, so that these projects together can inform us about a safe blockchain-connected future that is also responsible towards our living environment.

Let’s put humans back into the equation

Talking about infrastructure projects, Next Nature Network has set up the ECO Coin project as a way to explore a social confirmation tool as an alternative for power-intensive Proof of Work systems. The ECO Coin proposes to include human 'checks' within a blockchain network. This would save power on the one hand, and invite users to interact with the technology on the other hand.In this new framework, questions can be set out for the network of computers to solve, just like within a Proof of Work blockchain network. In addition, humans will also have to visually confirm and check a transaction off before any transaction can go through on the blockchain. Once the transactions goes through, it will still be cryptographically signed and thus stored.With this human-addition, the ECO Coin envisions a new network role of ECO Inspector, which means that there are certified human inspectors that confirm sustainable actions, procedures and transactions, thereby leveraging the data that the network generates and adding failsafes so that there is a double protection against bad actors.The ECO Inspector will have a symbiotic relationship with the technological platform: in dialogue with the ECO Coin app, they will confirm and reward ecologically sound behaviour. The one can never go without the other.So far, there are no systems combining cryptocurrency technologies with active user rewards on the root level of the technology. Because miners (Proof of Work blockchain computers) will be non-existent in the ECO Coin network, the mining fees that incentivise Bitcoin mining computers and their owners to continue their work can go to these ECO inspectors, a role that incentivises users to be active participants in the network and which gives them agency over the network itself. [post_title] => The future infrastructure of the blockchain might be green and humane [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-future-blockchain [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-25 14:36:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-25 13:36:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81454 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81211 [post_author] => 1593 [post_date] => 2018-04-05 13:16:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-05 12:16:36 [post_content] => Before money came into existence, trading was all we knew. Farmers in China traded their spades for food and other goods, and this continued up until a point where most spades were no longer used for digging, as they had shrunk down for convenience in being a medium of exchange. While the heavily abstracted spades had turned into something that resembled its former function, farmers were still able to connect it to the environment in which the trade was happening in; the farm. This makes us wonder, what are our contemporary spades? Are we experiencing the return of trade, made possible by digital tokens?

When systems go feral

Today, to ensure that societies receive their most basic needs, our markets have evolved into abstract processes of trading ‘spades’ for goods through logistical processes. Through globally connected supply chain processes, we can get a fair amount of products for a low price. Within such processes, there are two levels: An upper level (money) and a lower level (goods).The upper level, in this sense, means that money (yuan, dollars, euro’s, yen) is circulated in order to make a logistically networked supply chain process possible, all around the globe. The lower level, refers to the process that physically takes place (the supply chain).Money, of course, makes the world go round, and the rules of supply and demand - in conjunction with the free market - work for most capitalist systems on the ‘upper level’. This system makes modern capitalist societies run smoothly, and return vast amounts of capital, wages and happiness to everyone working in them.But at the lower level of the network - the food creation & distribution process - it has become warped and is hurting our environment in several ways: Food miles are a common denominator to define the distance the food has travelled before it becomes available to us, and what the environmental implications of this process are. It will not come as a surprise to you that food miles have gone up in recent years.Another negative development is that companies are monopolising industrial farming to sell the same products over and over again, and not to mention pesticide production.By now, this whole network of food distribution and creation has become as wild and unpredictable as ever: one of our next natures. A way to mitigate the risk that these wild developments pose, is to close the circle within which the goods are traded.

Communities of strangers

A possible solution to this system growing out of control, is to break it up into smaller groups, each governed by the same ideas. And thus hybrid market models were born.Now, there are many groups of people around the world that make ‘a spade’ from sharing. However, hovering above these communities are so-called sharing economy platforms, which essentially are capitalist companies that incentivize sharing. How to cope with that?This is where peer-2-peer markets come in. We view the primary function of these markets as making it easy for buyers to find sellers and engage in convenient, trustworthy transactions - in turn, closing the loop.Sharing economy platforms are non-existent in a P2P world. Both the upper and lower levels of trade are more directly connected in this new framework, as the middle-men in this process is left out. This market is therefore becoming more transparent, more manageable and more malleable. This leads to consumers feeling a sense of connection to their merchant.P2P markets (or, communities of strangers) play an important role in these communities, as these are centered around a group of people interacting with one another - and actively adapting their behaviour according to the other party’s response.

A case study: POWER Ledger

POWER Ledger is an example of a platform that aims to make sustainable energy more widely and directly accessible. In order to achieve this goal, they make use of blockchain technology. So what happens when anyone can create their own electricity in say, 50 years?A P2P marketplace (for any product) guarantees that there is always a possibility to do that. POWER Ledger does exactly this: connecting energy producers to energy consumers  without the energy first going back and forth to the electric company.Producing your own electricity is now possible through new products entering the market like home solar panels and batteries that can store the energy harvested from the sun. In fact, some houses create an actual surplus of energy that they simply don’t use.With all this extra electricity, these households can make some money by selling this back to the electricity companies. That energy can be used elsewhere - say, at your neighbor's house who uses more electricity than you do. Wouldn’t it be great if you could cut out the middleman and simply sell your generated electricity to your neighbour?Technically, of course, it’s not possible to create a fully peer-to-peer electricity network without any actual middle-men. There are laws and regulations that citizens and companies have to abide by. But could POWER Ledger signal the return of trading, though? What will the spade of the Chinese farmer become for these new energy markets?POWER Ledger intends to create a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to buy and sell their renewable energy while still using established electricity and government networks to go about it. Up until now companies create these electricity networks and they sell their own products on there. But now there are essentially new networks forming where peers can share their goods directly, with the authority being in the network instead of the central service provider/business.POWER ledger is an inspiring example of a company trying to reframe our relationship to energy by connecting packets of energy to their token. What might this look like for the ECO Coin? Can we connect ecological assets to a token to better balance ecology and economy? [post_title] => The return of trade: Blockchain technology is enabling trade to make a fierce comeback [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => return-of-trade [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-17 11:38:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-17 10:38:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81211 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81165 [post_author] => 1593 [post_date] => 2018-03-28 17:37:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-28 16:37:46 [post_content] => It takes years to design a new banknote, having hundreds of people working on every little detail, all done under the watchful eye of governments and professionals. However today, blockchain technology allows anyone to create and launch their own digital cryptocurrency in less than a minute with only a few clicks. What does this all mean? In this Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at some of these new coins, diving into the technology that underpins them, and explore what this may mean for the future of money.

Economy is ecology

We are living in a world of accelerating change: Ecologies are being put to waste while new ones are being formed at any given moment, anywhere in the world. This extreme throughput of ecologies is surely also the case in our financial world. As soon as a new ecology emerges (like the sharing economy), the financial world rushes in to create an economy for it.Such a market is made from trade and conversions between shares, stocks or equities: whatever product is needed to plug it into our complex economic process. But the rules of this process remain unclear. They surely differ from the strict programming rules behind an app or website in the way that, even though we can create these markets, we never know how they will behave or what their value will be in the future. It’s an ecology of itself, something worth studying in order to learn from its behaviour.With the ECO Coin, we are aiming to create an ecological economy: an economy that is directly connected to the global, ecological sphere. To do so, we make use of cryptocurrency- and blockchain technology, and in this story, we will introduce you to the dynamics and systems that continuously feed the development of this ecological economy platform we’re currently building.Cryptocurrencies are constantly 'moving'; either up, down or sideways. And millions of dollars are flying across blockchains, faster than the speed of light. As a result, shares are being dropped for this hot new investment alternative, and money is lost in this process - hitting the people hardest who are struggling to see the cryptocurrency market for what it is: highly speculative.To that end, it is right to assume that a ‘cryptocurrency trader’ is one of the new jobs of the future, perhaps it’s as normal as being a stock trader is today.

Have you seen the latest thing in the cryptocurrency world?

No you probably haven’t. CoinMarketCap (an industry-standard listing service for cryptocurrencies) has added 58 new cryptos in the past 28 days. That’s 2 per day!By the time you are reading this, chances are that 10 new ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings) have been launched and five crypto companies have gone bankrupt.But there are also currencies and platforms that choose a different direction. They function more like incentive structures for ‘good’ behaviour. In these, the token (a word used synonymously with the words cryptocurrency and coin) doesn’t necessarily hold any economic value, but more so signifies certain wanted behaviour, like ecological behavior.When such a platform goes bust, it’s simply a failed iteration on how to digitise socially responsible behaviour.Users and speculators often regard these incentive-based coins as being ‘the new Bitcoin’, and see dollar signs when they start using them. This is something specific to the cryptocurrency market: if there’s liquidity (which in this case directly assumes socially responsible behaviour) then there must surely be something backing that coin, and it’s a solid reason to invest.The gold standard backed our financial system in the past. But we’re long past that now. The crypto avant-garde roaming the web right now is eagerly searching for the next, big asset-backed coin that they can invest into. Whether its backed by something or not.

A token for everything

While there are a lot of great use cases out there in crypto-land, it’s hard to see the actual implementation of these in day-to-day life. Cryptographic tokens can resemble voting ballots, discounts or even bought products. But as of yet, there are no tokens yet that are as normal as paying with good ol' paper money.Moving beyond blockchain technology, programmers have recently tried to crack a use case for the IOTA token (a token that will supposedly empower the Internet-of-Things revolution), but didn't succeed to find one. This shows us that a lot of conceptually valuable tokens are not being used for anything yet. At current, the IOTA token is still unusable: a speculative coin that is being bought with the assumption that its value will rise over time.Perhaps it's good that cryptocurrencies have not penetrated everything yet, this gives us some time to reflect upon its cause. The cryptocurrency world is only 10 years young and we shouldn’t just throw away thousands of years of economic history.

A new financial elite

Currently there's a pool of young (and rich) programmers that now make up the new financial elite, because this group bought into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies very early on in the process.You could say that this new financial elite is one of our Next Natures: A new financial elite, or the crypto investors and programmers that make up most of this sector, create autonomous systems as a way of providing sustenance (income) to themselves. Instead of dialing into existing structures, they continually create new ones and find a place within that new framework.An important distinction, of course, being that they are not in control of these systems but merely the architects of them, where in the traditional financial world, the ‘quants’ or architects do have the possibility to significantly control the networks they manage, because they program within the same network. That is why cryptocurrencies are ‘moving’ so fast now.

Crypto markets: What’s the silver lining?

Blockchain is still on a level where my grandfather is unable to pay for anything with crypto, and 'day-traders' who are investing in cryptocurrencies are losing money on a daily basis.In fact, only a small percentage of them are able to make a living off of their bets, but are far removed from how the act of trading in stocks and exchanges has developed in the ‘regular’ financial world.In case you are interested in cryptocurrencies after reading this article, but are also confused by the sheer speed of its development, then there’s only a few things that you need to do: invest as little as you can, don’t be afraid of losing it, take it easy, approach markets safely and most important of all: sit back and watch.Crypto will be around long enough for you to pick the fruits of its development. So until then, learn as much as you can, do your own research and talk to as many different people as possible.The technology behind any cryptocurrency (the blockchain) is revolutionary. It can literally connect citizens together as a people, regardless of nationality, social class or political inclination. That is beautiful dream that ECO Coin is happy to keep alive and a dream we will be talking about a lot in the coming months.Perhaps what the world of cryptocurrency needs is to pick up a slower pace. This gives us some time to reflect upon its past 10 years, and think about what's possible in the next 100 years. [post_title] => Slowing down to start up: Here's the first chapter of our crypto deep dive series [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => deep-dive-series-speed [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-17 11:38:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-17 10:38:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81165 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 5 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 82179 [post_author] => 1593 [post_date] => 2018-06-26 17:41:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-26 16:41:51 [post_content] => How can we design a cryptocurrency for the better of humanity and ecology? In this last chapter of the crypto deep dive series, we will dissect two kinds of blockchain cryptocurrencies that are currently making waves on the internet and beyond. Furthermore, we explore the waves of the ECO Coin framework that intends to bring humans a democratic system - with living trees - into this sustainable, communal cryptocurrency.Blockchain technology has only been around for ten years. It was only in 2008 when Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper. To put it in perspective: this means that cryptocurrency technology is about as old as the first iPhone.However, in these ten years Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrency technologies have fundamentally changed the way in which we look at money.Traditional money is always bound to either national or supranational organs that have a rigidly structured political and legal framework. However, in the blockchain world, these legal and political frameworks are way less elaborate (or sometimes even non-existent).The sheer possibility of having money that is uncontrollable, ungovernable and often not taxable is a seismic shift in terms of monetary development. All of that has happened in the course of ten years. A promising start, leaving us wondering: what may be coming in the future?Next Nature Network is developing a new crypto currency, the ECO Coin. In our view, what’s needed for blockchain technology to be used to its full potential, is a system that stimulates sustainable and earth-friendly behaviour. That blockchain system is simply not built yet, but ECO coin is making steps towards building it.Luckily for ECO coin, we are not the only ones to pursue sustainable blockchain technology. We have peers (and potential partners) that we can learn from. People that are developing their own platform(s) in the same, bottom-up way that ECO coin is trying to do.In this final story in the crypto-deep dive series, we will explore two examples of currencies that the ECO-coin is drawing inspiration from, and we explore the framework of the soon to be used ECO coin. So let’s leave the crypto-anarchism for what it is and look at bottom-up, society-focused blockchain solutions.

Tokens: a digital representation of human data

Besides cryptocurrency money there are also (cryptographic) tokens. In this world, a world that is not focused on big-money and system-wide revolution, there are many interesting things happening that ECO coin can learn from.Cryptographic tokens are a form of digital payment currency that can resemble any real-world asset and anything that generates more data or money on behalf of the token holder. Interest or dividends earned can be tokenized and subsequently shared as well. The person holding the tokens will automatically receive all interests and dividends connected to it.So how do these tokens work on the practical level?Let’s take the idea of a token out of the abstract by analysing a project like the Dutch NestEgg.The word nest egg has the connotation of a sum of money that is saved for the future. In essence, NestEgg is a platform that aims to build sustainable energy infrastructure without direct investments from governments or real estate investors.Users put money into the platform, which NestEgg uses to build infrastructure (like for example a windmill) and in return, users get a cryptographic token which is their proof of having invested into the infrastructure. The token automatically generates dividends, meaning that the token earns the user money as long as it’s held. Users can claim through the NestEgg platform after the infrastructure project is built.NestEgg, in essence, is a way to democratise pension investment. When young people invest into it now, they have a way of saving up for their own retirement, fully outside of traditional pension funds.We should be looking to integrate these tokens for things that are not articulated within our current, dominant economic framework of fiat money. The most applicable articulation of this research, is of course, ecological value.ECO coin was majorly inspired by this approach of using digital currencies for investing into your own pension (read: the far future). It’s a subject that is so contradictory to the lightning speed developments within the current blockchain space.In a way, you can compare an investment into the ECO coin platform as an investment into the future. And even though it doesn’t return actual direct dividends or money, the soft result of an investment into ECO coin is that you make sure that the (near) future stays within reach humanities effect on climate change is brought back lots. People will also begin believing in the future again, where we can live together with both our ecosphere and technosphere in a great symbiosis.

Money: better when spent

Another inspiring example, this time in the category of money, is the FreiCoin project. This coin decays in value over time, making it more inflationary than our euro’s. The effect is that over time users can buy less for any FreiCoin that they’re holding.So why is that a good and inspiring thing?The project incorporates the concept of a demurrage fee, which in the days of physical money was a kind of service fee that you would pay to the banker stores and safeguards your gold. A service fee, if you will.In the FreiCoin project, however, demurrage fees are actively implemented to make it less attractive to hold an amount of FreiCoin for a longer period of time, and more attractive to spend your money. If you have €100,- worth in FreiCoins, those will be worth approximately $61.39 in the course of a mere 10 years. One can imagine what the FreiCoin demurrage fee would do to the capital of the world’s wealthiest people. It wouldn’t make sense anymore for them to hold on to it when the same fees would apply. As such, currencies that decay in value (currencies with a very high deflation rate) have the possibility of leveling out the economic field when they are adopted on a big scale. The world’s wealthy people would be forced to re-circulate their money into the economy and broader society in the form of investments. Those investments would benefit everyone in that sector, instead of just the capital holders.These are the kinds of solutions that are worthwhile to look at in the span of a 100 years.Therefore the ECO coin has chosen to incorporate this structural incentive of a demurrage fee to incentivize users to spend the coins at partners as quickly as possible instead of doing the #hodl that many crypto investors do.Making this technology it even more rooted in nature: the value of ECOs represent the decaying value of trees, since trees mature and die over time, too. We’ve calculated that it takes about a 100 years for a tree to die, so it should also take 100 years for an ECO coin to die, meaning that 1% will be cut off its value every year.

The framework of the ecocoin

So how are we going to use cryptocurrency technology for the better of humanity?The eco coin will be an investment in humanities future, generating ecological dividends over time. And, it’s value will decay quickly over time, incentivizing the user community to spend the coins and keep the currency vivid.Within the framework of the ECO coin, which will be alive within the blockchain world of the 100 years to come, we also aim to fundamentally change the root of blockchain technology to include humans into the equation, as well as ethics.Adding humans into the equation: the eco-inspector Any (blockchain) system that wants to sincerely be good has to ‘force’ its users to work towards the same collective goals. As of yet, this ‘working towards the same collective goals’ is simply non-existent in the many blockchain networks that are around.In other words: there’s no ethical guidance yet in whatever a blockchain can and can’t do. That’s why we are introducing the ECO Inspector: a real-life job with which you do important work for the ECO Coin network and are remunerated for your work in ECO coins.The ECO coin network can never go without its ECO inspectors. They literally keep the blockchain afloat by verifying that sustainable actions took place, introducing and training new ECO inspectors and managing the escrowed trees by confirming that these trees are still standing at the given location. In addition, giving this task to humans, instead of to computer power, may prove to make this currency less energy intensive.Democratizing to aid sustainabilityWhat’s important for the coming years of blockchain development is that ethics become a part of the conversation in the blockchain world. Whether you are using your Bitcoin to fund sustainable ideas or to fund an arms race within Africa, to the Bitcoin network: it doesn’t matter.Moreover, agency and self-regulation are a big problem in current blockchain networks as well as a big question for regulating bodies. How can you regulate/steer something that is not tied to any one location nor can be shut down?The ECO coin is making people work towards the same collective goal of doing more sustainable actions and treating the planet well. The regulating body, the ECO coin team, can only point in the direction of a solution, but it is building systems that outsource decisionmaking on the environmental questions and uncertainties towards its community of users.We will do that by creating a decentralised monetary fund where users can vote on wherever the fund’s money should go. A Decentralised Autonomous Charity, a digital agora. This means that the authority about what is and what isn’t sustainable will not be held within ECO coin as a company, but rather be collectively agreed upon by the community of users. We are working on the voting system as we speak and users will be able to vote from the app very easily.All together, eco coin team, the eco inspectors, and the voting community will work towards a system where ECO coins can only be spent on sustainable products, thereby changing our consumption habits. Therefore, a thorough dive into into the supply chain and production methods of the companies that want to partner in order to verify that they are, indeed, selling good, sustainable produce that should be exchangeable for ECO coins.Because the blockchain will be public and vendors are identified, funding bad ideas using ECO coins will be nearly impossible to do. And this is also strongly de-incentivised by the network as a whole, since ECO coins can only be spent at certified vendors.Nature is to be hard-wired into our technology On top of that, any ECO coin is not just a superficial number on a blockchain, but it stands for an actual, living tree somewhere in the world.As such, the network is literally pegged to real-world trees, who back this new cryptocurrency with something that has tangible value. The ECO coin trees are the physical representations of the digital network.With the ECO coin, a part of our ecology (trees) will be hard-wired into the technological world of the future. That is forward to Nature, pur sang.Let’s use this framework to save the future, and our earth, together.This was the last story of the crypto deep dive series, in which we immersed ourselves into the crypto world to explore the possibilities for the ECO coin. Want to learn more? Visit the ECO Coin website, where we will soon publish the technical paper. 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