Macao is a centre for art and research, actually established in an occupied building in Milan (IT). Macao was born in a mobilization in 2012 within the cultural sector, creative industries and art workers. Macao started its collaboration with Freecoin and D-cent in order to design a platform conceived to share means of production and co-production in the art/creative/cultural field, and rooted in the network of occupied art spaces emerged during the political mobilization of the last five years.
Macao is currently proposing to design a crypto-currency (Commoncoin) with very specific features. The starting and radical question in this process was: can we use an algorithmic, decentralized, and peer to peer technology rooted on a political decision making process? Can we base an algorithmic machine on a shared political value, community based?
The future we imagine is made of decentralized technological infrastructures, distributed and based upon algorithms. They are governed by democratic discussions and decisional processes, put into place by communities that share values and ideas. In other words: in a plausible future in which algorithms control our economical, relational and spatial behaviours, the real challenge is to find a way to question them without creating democratic deficit as a collateral effect.
This is a central question: in a future in which machines, the digital and physical automation of production will substitute most part of the work once performed by humans, how will it be possible to keep a purchasing power? In the past, wealth was redistributed through salary and wage. Significantly, the salary was also pivotal for workers’ struggles and unions’ demands. But what will happen if the wage relation will be less and less central? What kind of models of struggle and organization can we imagine?
Around 2008 – knowing how financial markets, the system of production and the control exercised over every single life is defined more and more by the synergies of algorithmic machines – a group of hackers and activists, inspired by Open Source culture, maybe mostly anarchists and anti-systemic (some of them sympathetic to a certain anarcho-capitalism rooted in Austrian economic thought and grown in the San Francisco’s area) developed a protocol under the name of Bitcoin. Their line of thought appeared to be rather linear: since Capital accumulates value through the control of the information over our behaviour, we should construct a technological infrastructure in which there is no central accumulation (property), no traceability of the profits (anonymity), where everything is guaranteed by computers working in synergy.
The crisis of the last ten years has been a crisis of trust: debts, loans, derivatives, these are all means by which capitals produce political control in neo-liberalism. It is a crisis of relationships, of trust-ability. What we have to aim is a new economic environment, a new ecology in which the unit of value is based on a fairer infrastructure. That’s the starting point of another good example worth mentioning: Fair Coop and Fair mutual credit system. An ambitious project that attempts to provide an alternative economic environment to cooperatives and grassroots independent productions at a worldwide scale.
Currently this field is extremely lively, many are the start-ups – also business oriented – and the research programs who are investing in Blockchain technologies. In this trend we can also find initiatives based on very skilled and independent teams as Freecoin and D-cent. Rather than creating another alternative currency in order to stress the market, their goal is to create tools to foster participatory processes, decisions making systems and crypto-currencies based on the needs of specific communities. Each specific community may adopt these tools in order to shape them on their specific goals and needs.