MoneyLab considers interventions in and experiments with digital economy. MoneyLab is a network of artists, activists, and geeks experimenting with forms of financial democratization.

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Background: The New Media of Exchange: Dialogues on Internet, Monetization and Finance

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Background of the MoneyLab network

The economic crisis of the past decade, a more flexible creative sector and the emergence of a new world (the digital domain) have led to a special project: MoneyLab. MoneyLab was created to bring the creative sector into contact with digital business models and opportunities for other forms of distribution and intellectual property. A necessity for a sector in financial difficulties. In this climate of financial turmoil, MoneyLab creates a platform for critical reflection and initiatives for bottom-up change and gives the social and financial debate a creative perspective.

MoneyLab is an international multi-disciplinary network of artists, designers, programmers, researchers¬†and journalists. It considers itself a critical platform for imaginative projects that build a more democratic economy, especially within the creative industry. An economy where not only ‘the big boys’ get the money, but where there are opportunities for everyone to participate. It looks far beyond the boundaries of current financial institutions and maps out new opportunities for the distribution of creative content, intellectual property and digital business models, together with and for the creative sector.

The strength of MoneyLab lies in its diversity: research, art, discussion, activism and technological developments intertwine, pop up or complement each other. All productions (toolkits, exhibitions, symposia, publications) have a political, social, creative, economic and technical approach. The project consists of a network of international pioneers in the field of alternative finance. These can be researchers, or journalists, artists and economists, or entrepreneurs, geeks and other ‘makers’. All in their own way, they work on various interventions in the financial world with the common goal of democratizing the economy. The projects under the MoneyLab umbrella are therefore diverse and of an artistic, conceptual or technical nature, but all have a digital signature. Bringing together professionals from many different disciplines who work together towards concrete products and initiatives that provide answers to contemporary social issues is the unique strength of the INC.

MoneyLab is peculiar: it offers possibilities that you have never heard before, that are slightly different and that go a step further. Examples include peer-to-peer insurance organizations that put the current insurance model aside, collaborations between journalistic leak platforms and artists, such as the Economic Space Agency (founded in Helsinki), a collective of software programmers and economists that uses the block chain for a distributed system of economic platforms in which shared values are central, or blockchain initiatives for decentralised art and music distribution, but also crypto-currencies grafted onto the creative sector and social communities.

In March 2014, the INC presented its first MoneyLab conference (see report http://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/MoneyLab_Conference_Report_2014.pdf).

So far, there have been six international MoneyLab conferences: 2014 Amsterdam; 2015 Amsterdam; 2016 Amsterdam; 2018 London/UK; 2018 Buffalo/USA and 2019 Siegen/Germany. The seventh edition will take place in Amsterdam (November 14/15, 2019) and MoneyLab #8 is taking place in Ljubljana/Slovenia (March 24/25, 2020).

Over the years, the following topics have been discussed: critical research into crowdfunding, the possibilities of mobile money, the financialization of the arts and everyday life, financial activism, artistic and journalistic disentanglement of complex financial hacks, platform cooperativism and the commons, financial surveillance, blockchain and fintech beyond the hype, and the Basic Income. Each time, a multidisciplinary network of speakers was used to provide an average audience of 150-200 visitors with tools and tools for financial democratization and insight.

INC also organized a two-day Flying Money conference in collaboration with the Municipality of Amsterdam. In search of knowledge about and a network in the field of financial technology and blockchain, the Municipality of Amsterdam approached the INC in 2017. The collaboration that arose resulted in the Flying Money conference in May 2018 in de Rode Hoed, Amsterdam, which was financed by the Municipality of Amsterdam. More than 40 speakers were present, including president of De Nederlandsche Bank Klaas Knot, finance journalist Joris Luyendijk, CEO/author Bill Browder, Saskia Sassen and others.

MoneyLab has so far produced three publications, the 2015 MoneyLab Reader: An Intervention in Digital Economy and the 2018 MoneyLab Reader 2: Overcoming the Hype and the Flying Money 2018 Investigating Illicit Flows in the City proceedings. The two INC readers have been published with a large circulation (a total of 5400 printed books), that find their way to international places of research and education. In addition to the printed books, the readers are also distributed in digital formats such as e-pub, pdf and print on demand to students, artists, startups, researchers and other interested parties.