by Nicola Bozzi
As a part of the Revenue Models panel at the Ecommons conference, the presentation by Jaromil and Marco Sachy focused on the decentralization of currencies and credit. The former began by introducing their own website, dyndy.net, an online lab providing “Tools, practices and experiences for the conceptualization, development and deployment of currency”; the latter analyzed in more detail the case of Cyclos, an open-source software providing an alternative to traditional banking systems.
As an artist and hacker, as well as a media theorist, Jaromil started off with a strong premise: capitalism is dead. In the post-capitalist era, the challenge is now for us to imagine the future of money, the most used of all media. The Italian-born activist began tracing an historical arch of capitalism, referring to Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Aedipus, according to which pre-capitalist times were marked by certain traditional “codes” that kept people in place in society. Quoting the French duo, as well as Giorgio Agamben, Jaromil also pointed out the disappearance of people behind machines, and the shifting of university and knowledge institutions to enterprises. True to his status of programmer, Jaromil proposed a people-driven re-coding of such traditions, previously decoded and upset by capitalism and the individualism it carried. Since, as he argues, grassroots organizations are more efficient than centralized ones, and it is no use to stack new axioms on top of the capitalist ones, the management of institutions in the post-capitalist era has to be conducted with a new challenge in mind: converting the economy “from a network of quantitative axiomatic equations to systems of qualitative relations that reproduce subjectivity”. For this reason, by using dyndy.net as a critical tool, Jaromil and Sachy aim to “develop further on the experience of LETS, ROCS, WIR, STRO, C3 and Bitcoin, VODO, Flattr, networking community values following the ethics of the Free Software Movement (digital) and Transition Towns (analog)”.
Following Jaromil at the speaker podium, Marco Sachy started by outlining the notion of monetary rhizome, another Deleuze and Guattari-inspired concept describing a possible postmodern alternative to the capitalist paradigm of the bank-debt monopoly. He made the example of Cyclos, an open-source software developed in Brazil and Uruguay, which has been used by organizations and institutions around the world. The software offers a complete online banking system, with additional modules (such as e-commerce), permitting the decentralization of banking services.
By using Cyclos, anyone can manage integrated local currencies, providing a second line of credit where the main ones have become insufficient, due to crises or financial shenanigans. The rhizome nature derives from the possibility of connecting “parameters belonging to different domains of existence (economic, ethic, social, etc) by valuing them through different currencies”.
In Uruguay, for instance, cultural associations could integrate state funding with a system of virtual, non inflactionate credits called “cultos”, which such actors could use to finance their activities in a more flexible and stable way. The system, called C3 (Commercial Credit Circuit) was developed by Bernard Lietaer and STRO, and uses “insured invoices or other payment claims as liquid payment instruments with a business to business (b2b) Clearing-Network”.
For more details and a more in-depth explanation of what I briefly summarized above you can download the presentation .pdf, kindly made available by Jaromil and Sachy themselves. If you are interested in following Jaromil and Dyne – and you happen to pass by Milan on the next 16 December – you can go hear him speak at the Always Already New conference.