I originally posted this here, but what follows below is a summary.
The original cryptocurrency scene might have started out exciting, but in the end has (arguably) steered energy, talent and public attention away from truly positive currency innovation, and into a largely counterproductive mosh-pit of speculation.
Older 'pre-crypto' alternative currency movements (like mutual credit, for example) carry with them a much deeper understanding of monetary systems, and the seeds of powerful new currency designs, but they are often too polite, and often have a much higher sense of community duty than hypercapitalist crypto maximalists. As a result they keep having their voices drowned out by the clamour of the crypto mantras.
While there are nuanced developers and variety within the crypto world, the most interesting projects are almost completely unknown to the public and media, who often automatically think ‘Bitcoin’ when they hear ‘alternative currency’. The original crypto movement made extremely good use of memes and slogans to establish their tokens as the public eye, and – to date – other alternative currency movements have not succeeded in doing this.
There is, however, a lot of exciting potential in selectively drawing on the technical strengths of crypto/decentralised tech movements, whilst radically upgrading them with the monetary knowledge carried in the mutual credit community. To get this momentum – and to build counterpower to both the normal monetary system and also the toxic versions of crypto that pretend to challenge it – we need to build an exciting story that can capture the attention of developers, entrepreneurs and communities.
Just a quick note on this term ‘narrative’
It suggests storytelling, which is a hugely important area. We need to build stories for different potential parties. For example:
- Storytelling to attract potential protocol developers: the person building base layer models and software (something to answer the question ‘Why am I building this tool?’)
- Storytelling to attract potential protocol implementers: the person taking a protocol/platform and deploying it in a particular locality (something to answer the question ‘Why am I setting this up?’)
- Storytelling to attract potential users of the thing deployed: the person deciding to use it in everyday life (something to answer the question ‘why am I using this new currency?’)
In terms of stories, we can zoom in on different story paradigms
- The pragmatic story: what it will do for you – often appeals to individual interest
- The idealistic story: what it means – often appeals to a wider sense of meaning beyond the individual
- The community story: what community you will be joining, who you will get to hang out with – appeals to the individual’s desire for inclusion into a collective
- Other movements draw on warlike stories (we are going to destroy something), rebellious ones (we will fight for justice), and so on.
So what narrative will the CCA operate under, and what parts of people – pragmatic, idealistic, community, rebellion etc – will it seek to cater to?
The term ‘cryptocurrency community’ is often used, but really there is no single crypto community. Rather there are a whole range of (often warring) groups that operate under a loosely common vision. It is worth bearing this in mind when thinking about what we are trying to do. There is no requirement for CCA to become some kind of bureaucratic hub to co-ordinate some kind of movement, but – at the very least - it would be powerful to pioneer a vision – or story – that groups can spontaneously begin to identify with. Right now that story is unformed or unheard, and building it requires crafting both a powerful narrative arc – the storyline – and powerful words to say it with.
The next phase, thus, of the narrative journey, is to explore that storyline and those words.
I posted an initial version of a potential storyline here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qjqkVkneDELrM1G729ztX6Od7GVXV8TLKAtJFMCreMc/edit?usp=sharing, but this needs a lot of work
Timeline and budget
Proposal: 1000 euros over three months to test, iterate upon and complete a narrative arc (in collaboration with others) that can be adapted for different situations, lengths and audiences, and to experiment with deploying it in different formats (e.g. video, articles etc.)