Only half awake Koprah’s hungry stomach is dreaming of chocolate croissants. It’s already late in the day and they manage to get up with a slight hangover. On the way to the kitchen they discover a sticky note on the black board in the hallway they wrote to themselves reminding them to cancel the smart contract for the apartment rent to automatically transfer a mix of their Kilometer-, Hour- and UBI-token to the decentralized, autonomous organization (DAO) which manages the tenant-owned housing coop under the umbrella of the Community Land Trust. The trust accepts most community tokens as long as the total amount of their value matches the monthly rent Koprah needs to pay for their room. Since earnings and payments are completely automated for users convenience, you can easily forget about it.
No chocolate croissants in the kitchen! And too bad that the fridge was empty as well. Koprah wanted to buy some food after work yesterday, but when they were already late to meet their riders coop colleagues at a bar for the regular Thursday evening beer, they needed to prioritize: “First things first!” Koprah justified their straight move to the bar instead of going shopping, especially because it was their last bar night in town for a while and the chance to see their friends. And anyways, their work as a food delivery rider for Khora just earned them 36 Kilometer- & 4 Hour-token in real-time and they couldn’t wait to spend both of the commonly accepted community currencies on drinks for their friends. It was their way of saying good-bye.
“Kopraaaah, we were starting to think you abandoned us!” one of the food delivery riders yelled through the bar, when they entered. Their mind wondered, if nobody had ever realized that they usually are the last one finishing work. While the others fully got absorbed into the repetitive pick-up and delivery mantra chants that were connected via a cycling path in hyperspace, Koprah figured their own way of meditation. Indeed they found their mind relaxed when they took the freedom and time to photograph outstanding names on the doorbells of people who ordered food. So their deliveries were destined to be a bit late.
On the way to the table of their friends Koprah signaled the barkeeper that they would like to drink their favorite Indian Punk Ale, then sat down to find the red thread in a heated discussion on the rider coop’s next general assembly happening soon. As always mandated by the classical cooperative rule of “one member, one vote” riders and all other stakeholders are deciding on various strategic business items during the annual online meeting, while operative decisions are kept out of the assembly and decided via decentralized governance (DGOV) tools that are commonly used in most platform coops. Like every year, the rider’s salaries are subject for discussion at Khora’s general assembly. This time members of the coop can vote for either a 0 % or 5 % increase of the salary, but also have to consider the consequences of making the delivery service more expensive and the effects of potentially lower demands by customers. Another business item to vote on will be the decision of a cooperation between Khora and the local marketplace Berlinzudir that has gained quite some attention due to its unique selling proposition of delivering any product by cargo bikes locally. Koprah didn’t really mind the outcome of the upcoming assembly, because soon they would be gone anyways.
In another conversation Koprah heard one of their friends complaining about the European Central Bank which wants to issue a universal basic income (UBI) via the centralized digital Euro blockchain and asked the question “Who wants to be controlled by the government!? We don’t need those fiat-back digital currencies. They are meaningless.” And another friend agreed: “It’s a way better to rely on our Circles UBI, because the token is backed by real value. I’m so glad the Circles team restructures value and supply chains into networks where the CRCs are accepted and thus cause an actual increase of our community’s gross domestic product. Remind me to donate to them later!”
“Why do you take pictures of your customers‘ doorbells? What are you doing with the photos?”, Koprah was asked out of the blue. Besides the little meditation practice their friends wouldn’t understand, they couldn’t think of any reason other than: “It’s just fun.” Nevertheless, this question triggered a quest for meaning of their little photo art project that they would continue later, because the same friend kept on asking and wanted to know why they are about to travel to India over land, what they’re expecting to find and if they aren’t afraid of the unknown.
India along with its South Asian neighbors have become a pioneering digital democracy ruled by federations of communities. After the farmer’s protests that started in 2020, which brought hundreds of million of farmers on the streets demonstrating, the political and economical system changed drastically. Self-organization boosted by distributed ledger technology has been key to the revolution and the now thriving collaborative economy. Koprah was fascinated by what they had learned about India and wanted to witness and experience it first hand. The other reason for their travel was their curiosity about the different communities in various countries they would meet along the journey. Their digital identity card by Jolocom will grant them access to the foreign groups, because it carries their reputation and trust network even strangers can rely on. Traveling with them is of course their digital Circles wallet including their UBI-token with which they can pay for their consumption and needs.
Whether they were afraid, they could not and would not say. Some sad feelings for leaving their friends behind for an entire year were overwhelmed by the excitement and curiosity of their upcoming adventure. But even though Koprah was 100 % looking forward to their journey, something was worrying them… Koli, their flatmate, interrupted them from digging deeper by saying something that Koprah found very interesting. The three IPAs they drank must have done their tricks by then, because Koprah totally forgot what he was elaborating on.
Thinking of the long good-bye ceremony last night, they hear the flat door open and their roommate Koli coming home from his shift at the community-owned, collaborative supermarket SuperCoop. He has gotten up early and just worked 5 hours filling the supermarket shelves with new products the coop members have decided for. Due to his engagement he met his monthly 3 hours of duty according to his membership and earned some additional Hour-tokens. To Koprah’s delight, Koli had done some grocery shopping for the entire WG, so they could finally get something to eat. While preparing brunch together Koli tells them about a statistic he picked up from a coworker at SuperCoop earlier this week: “Nowadays, …”.
Koprah nodded, but didn’t really pay attention, because they were absorbed by the sudden idea of uploading the pictures of the names on the doorbells to “Momentography of a failure”. The app creates an augmented photographic layer on the world map and addresses “Failure” by mapping them with photographs, geotags and texts in particular contexts such as labor rights, racism, urban space, economy, control, etc. Koprah wondered if “Failure” bears a double meaning too, that cannot only emphasize a problem, but also a potential, a solution, a good practice or even a lyrical moment standing out of our daily routines. So, why shouldn’t Koprah use this opportunity and online exhibit the photos they took at their riders job.
After login into the distributed Web3 with their Jolocom identity card they firstly need to renew their quarterly subscription to the data coop polypoly, which shows them the traces they leave in the internet and the parties who are trying to get their preferential and behavioral information. That knowledge is the foundation for protecting our lives, not just in the online world. For the subscription fee they choose their Kilometer-token to be utilized and pay 15 tokens.
As a digital native Koprah quickly sorts out everything to upload their artwork. Done. Now crossing fingers that the observers would realize the moment Koprah tried to capture when taking the photos and find it worth halting for a moment. Biting into their chocolate croissant they wonder why they’re so relaxed even though tomorrow is the big day. Last night at the bar they worried about something! “Isn’t there anything they forgot to prepare for their trip? What could possibly go wrong, if they hadn’t thought of everything? Can and must they even foresee the future and be ready for any circumstance or can they not just embrace whatever is coming?”
Since the rise of communities, the important recognition of all work, tasks and creative doing and their representation in the form of digital tokens, life has become easier. People now own the means of creating value and issuing money based upon it. Koli’s statistic finally made it into their consciousness: “Nowadays, 99 % of the people feel economically safe & secure!” And that was it! That was what Koli said last night at the bar. That was what they overheard while preparing the brunch. And that was what they needed to realize about their worries.
Andreas Arnold, 2020
verfasst für die Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung