January 28 - February 1, 2020
February 5-10, 2020
ECSA Team Retreat, Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
February 14-16, 2020
March 7-8, 2020
MIT Cryptoeconomic Systems Conference
ECSA team Akseli Virtanen, Ben Lee, Ana Fradique, James Foley, Jon Beller at MIT
A distributed Exchange Protocol Jorge Lopez (Chief Architect, ECSA)
October 5-6, 2019
Protocols for Cryptoeconomic Networks. MIT Cryptoeconomic Systems Summit
MIT’s Cryptoeconomic Systems Summit special session on the ECSA economic white paper. “We show how a distributed issuance of credit can ensure that the economy does not freeze when there is a blockage in the distributed ledger matching process. In a system where all agents can participate in issuance within the distributed exchange protocol and network, when offer matching is mediated through a common asset (or unit of account), netting enables exchange and settlement to occur without the need to actually hold the common asset (or unit of account). It means a non-money-intermediated means of liquidity: a distributed monetary system that can secure liquidity without the need for central control of issuance/un-issuance of a money instrument. The distributed exchange protocol constitutes the backbone of a distributed clearing house and payment system. The goal of the mutual liquidity protocol we propose is not to issue credit with the objective of seeking an income stream (interest payment of debt), but a mutual responsibility for securing inter-temporal matching on a ledger. Credit-for-mutual-liquidity and equity-for-mutual-stakeholding represent a profound change in our understanding of the economic roles of debt and equity.” From Money and credit in a cryptoeconomy
Please find more videos of the Event in our Library here
ECSA team Eugenio Battaglia, Fabian Bruder, Robin Vodruba at work
September 23-24, 2019
A Shared Economic Grammar: ECSA x DAOIncubator at Supermarkt
What is ECSA’s economic vision and what is its strategy? Why is “disintermediation” not enough? What changes when economy and its key conventions – like money, markets, credit, unit of account, issuance, clearing, liquidity etc. – in themselves become programmable? When they become distributed as protocols? When their grammar becomes shared like a language and they turn into media of expression?
What does a distributed economy mean, why is it important, and what are its conditions? How does ECSA’s take on economy differ from Radical Markets and from Hayek and his digital disciples? What happens to money, market, price, unit of account, issuance, and credit when they become distributed as protocols (as a shared grammar)? What if different functions of money were organized separately by different protocols? What is a peer-to-peer value creation, issuance and credit? What are the protocols of securing liquidity in a distributed cryptoeconomy? What is a distributed clearinghouse and how does it work? What is p2p credit? How does p2p stakeholding work?
Jonathan Beller: A Peer-to-Peer Value Creation System
Dick Bryan & Akseli Virtanen: What is Stability?
Podcast: ECSA Vision: Akseli Virtanen and Dick Bryan at Supermarkt, Berlin 24.9.2019
Podcast: Crypto-political Economy. Akseli Virtanen & Dick Bryan at Supermarkt, Berlin, 25.9.2019
Eugenio, Lene, Pekko and Akseli playing ECSA with legos
July 16-18, 2019
Full Node, Berlin
ECSA Team Creation and Play Sessions
Building economic space together is a special mission; re-creating subjectivities in post-capitalism is a task equally important as it is delicate. We steadily learn from each other: What is ECSA culture? How do we relate to each other? What does not work? What do we want to change?
These testing rounds are a paramount to what we want ECSA to be: a virtual keel, a strategy for coming together to cross-stabilize and amplify each other, to systemically allow multiple identities, within which firm and flexible relations emerge.
ECSA team Akseli Virtanen, Pekko Koskinen, Lene Vollhardt, Erik Bordeleau, Joanthan Beller in Berlin
May 6, 2019
Haus der Statistik, Berlin
After Scarcity: Propositions for a Post-Hayekian Economy. With Kim Stanley Robinson
For many of us, computer technology seems almost inseparable from the corporate hypercapitalism of Silicon Valley. In “After Scarcity”, Bahar Noorizadeh explores the soviet cybernetic past in search of our possible post-neoliberal future. “How might we use computation to get us out of our current state of digital feudalism and towards new possible utopias? Afterall, what would Vladimir “socialism is electricity plus statistic” Lenin have to say about blockchain?” https://dis.art/after-scarcity/info
This fascinating 30 min. sci-fi essay film will act as a free indirect entry point for a wider discussion around the disruptive potential of crypto- and cyber-economies. Including: Stefan Heidenreich’s recent work around a non-money economy partly based on algorithmic matching formulas, and ECSA’s general proposal to build a financial and computational infrastructure for post-hayekian economy.
ECSA team Jorge Lopez, Dick Bryan, Pekko Koskinen, Bob Meister, Benjamin Lee at work in Santa Cruz
April 4-9, 2019
ECSA Economic White Paper, Santa Cruz Session II
Economic white paper sessions. We have been working for some time now quite intensively with something we are very excited about: the Economic Space Agency economic white paper Protocols for Cryptoeconomic Networks. It is in a pre-alpha private review, so still worked on, parts unfinished, and not yet publicly shared — but if you would like to join the process of rethinking economic conventions as protocols, and thus as a design space, please just contact me — we are happy to share the text. We have realized that we are creating a language for new economic expression. It is an economic language that can express capitalist network protocols, but even more, it can go beyond them. It can encompass capitalist value calculus, but express more qualified values and refuse their collapse into the monological value-expression that disqualifies non-money values as economic externalities. It is capable of valuing, for example, the biosphere, care, intangibles and social innovation — without reducing their information into one index of price and one measuring unit of profitability. It is a post-capitalist language (a language for post-capitalist economic expression), in a literal sense. A new economic grammar for the information age.
Joel Mason with the mic, with Cassio Santiago, Pekko Koskinen, Erik Bordeleau, Jonathan Beller, Akseli Virtanen, at Trust
March 10-12 2019
Trust & Haus der Statistik, Berlin
How to Short Capitalism? The Crypto-Political Economy of Economic Space Agency.
Economic Space Agency is building the next generation network infrastructure for programmable economies. Most blockchain and distributed ledger technologies applications are oriented toward the creation of distributed markets, reinforcing rather than disrupting oligarchic concentration of wealth over time and questioning what “value” is actually traded. ECSA offers something different: a fully integrated, commons-oriented approach to cryptoeconomy. Activities currently deemed desirable but unprofitable and unmeasurable – for example care, art, affect, biosphere enhancement – can not only now be expressed as value-creating activity, but they can also be synchronised and cross-referenced with each other in a way that gives them liquidity.
ECSA team on stage in Siegen: Erik Bordeleau, Jon Beller, James Foley, Pekko Koskinen, Fabian Bruder, Jacky Vu
Akseli Virtanen on cryptoeconomic protocols
7-8 March 2019
Infrastructures of Money. ECSA at Moneylab, Siegen
How can cryptographically enabled distributed economic-organizational systems – aka economic spaces – allow for the building of a radically different political economy and modes of collective individuation? The capitalist profit extracting value calculus and its implied take on “rationality” is a design environment that is geared toward a certain kind of optimal behavior. It is a protocol for the kind of people and sociality it requires to function, seeking, nudging, sifting up and training players toward the required and desired (game theoretic, axiomatized expected utility seeking) competencies – the programmatic abstraction called homo oeconomicus. Economic agencies and DAO’s of different natures are designed to think like corporations and compete in the next level of economic game going ahead. Without techno-social devices and infrastructures that operate at the protocol level for reshaping the economic gamespace toward commons-oriented purposes, we are left without politics, incapable of addressing and intervening efficiently in the processes redefining our rapidly evolving and fragmenting future. Program: MoneyLab, Siegen
ECSA Tem Benjamin Lee, Jonathan Beller, Pekko Koskinen at NYU/Stern
16-18 October 2018
New York University / Stern Business School
Cryptoeconomic Working Session II
The Economic Space Agency project is to create new (post-capitalist) economic space and tools for people to start operating and exploring this space. We think we are discovering a new distributed value form and value calculus which are different to the capitalist commodity form and calculation of value. If this is true, it means reorganization and reproduction of economic space itself.
The ECSA token system can be framed as a put option on capitalist value calculation: people buying the ECSA token are purchasing access and relation to new value forms and thus a difference to capitalist calculation of value. ECSA is offering the right for agents to part with/sell out of capitalist calculus of value. We call it a put option as a statement of our long position as a difference to valuing and calculating just “profit” — the value of a put option rises as the value of the underlying asset (capitalist value, or more precisely, capitalist perspective on value, how it is created and captured) declines. In this session we explain the ‘big put’ as an exploration of how to organize the production of value and how calculate value in ways different from those that define capitalism.
Jorge Lopez working his way through the ECSA Tech Stack, Starfish, San Francisco
October 4, 2018
Starfish, San Francisco
ECSA Tech Stack – A Technical Session
An exploration session on the lower levels of the ECSA Tech Stack: Distributed runtime + Programmable language for organization + protocols for value expression, measurement & exchange.
Gravity: Distributed Runtime. Gravity node provides with secure computational containment, serialization, persistence, networking, and hardware interfaces to be utilized up the stack.
Gravity Protocol: Informational Integrity. The Gravity protocol provides event ordering, scaling, strong security, fail recovery and high availability. It ensures network wide consistency, and enables distributed atomic transactions.
Space: Organizational Expression. Space is a capability oriented organizational development environment and language to easily reason about, describe and program organizations.
Space Protocol: Organizational Interoperability. The Space Protocol allows distributed applications “Spaces” to interoperate, regardless of their implementation substrate.
Planning the session: Akseli Virtanen, Kim Stanley Robinson, Dick Bryan and Jorge Lopez at Davis
October 3, 2018
Starfish, San Francisco
The Big Put: On Post-Capitalist Value Forms and Value Calculus
The ECSA token system can be framed as a put option on capitalist value calculation: people buying the ECSA token are purchasing access and relation to new value forms and thus a difference to capitalist calculation of value. ECSA is offering the right for agents to part with/sell out of capitalist calculus of value. We call it a put option as a statement of our long position as a difference to valuing and calculating just “profit” — the value of a put option rises as the value of the underlying asset (capitalist value, or more precisely, capitalist perspective on value, how it is created and captured) declines. In this session we explain the ‘big put’ as an exploration of how to organize the production of value and how calculate value in ways different from those that define capitalism. Program. Organized by Starfish, Mission, San Francisco.
Jorge presenting at Token Engineering, London
Token Engineering, London
Distributed Exchange, Synthetic Indices & Network Derivatives
Space is a modular organizational grammar and an organizational development environment that allows us to describe agents, relationships, protocols and organizations through an offer centric association grammar. Space allows us to describe existing, but most excitingly, new organizational forms while allowing them to remain interoperable. Economic Space is a modular economic grammar – allowing not only decentralized exchange but also the design of distributed value production and its organization. It opens a new economic design space of a more longer term (persistent) and multidimensionally value creating social relationships (of belonging, interacting, governing, risking together) than just issuance and exchange of tokens which collapse relationships. Token Engineering Session #3, hosted by Outlier Ventures.
August 24-31 2018
Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin
Thousand Financial Plateaus. ECSA at Berlin Biennale’s Public Program
The Economic Space Agency (ECSA) conceives of finance as a creative medium and financialization as an artful practice with the potential to exceed the restrictions and extractions of the current market economy. With the emergence of smart contracts technologies, we see the potential for the cultivation of truly p2p ecosystems of value fueled by artists’ capacities to produce new aesthetic and social forms.
ECSA invites you to one day event at Berlin Biennale’s Public Program with presentations, discussions and collective making around new economic theory and design. Our starting points: (1) Economy has a history, and it has a future. (2) Finance is not primarily about monetary value but rather social-political design – a mode of coordinating the future and its emerging possibilities through the design of collective attractors. (3) The new network technologies will produce a radically different economy. Blockchain and smart contracts are making possible the open-sourcing of finance, turning economic and financial forms into modular toolkits. What future can we call into being through a re-programming of our social and financial protocols? What kind of new economic space and agency can we re-engineer?
A special thank you to Pedro Victor Brandão.
ECSA team Jackie Vu, Lene Vollhardt, Jenny Joy Miranda at work, Lohja retreat
July 27-August 22, 2018
ECSA Protocol Organization II, Team Retreat, Lohja, Finland
How to create a human relatable protocol organization? A network with consequences? A derivative community? That is held together by a virtual keel. That understands the new physics of the new economic space: voluntary organization, functional equivality, no central point of coordination, impossibility of turning into private property. Drafting of the ECSA Offer, Protocol Organization and Team Agreements. Part II, in Finland.
ECSA team at work in Portugal
July 4-11, 2018
Fortes Nuovos, Portugal
ECSA Protocol Organization I, Team retreat, Fortes Nouvos, Portugal
How to create a human relatable protocol organization? A network with consequences? A derivative community? That is held together by a virtual keel. That understands the new physics of the new economic space: voluntary organization, functional equivality, no central point of coordination, impossibility of turning into private property. Drafting of the ECSA Offer, Protocol Organization and Team Agreements. Part I, Portugal.
Dick Bryan talking about the unit of account at NYU/Stern
16-18 May 2018
New York University / Stern Business School
Cryptoeconomic Working Session I
In their money role, crypto-tokens can be an alternative unit of account, not just a means of exchange. They open a possibility to invoke a new measure of value, not just facilitate new processes of trade. As such, tokens can have a ‘backing’ in the value of output they facilitate, and not function simply as tools of speculative position-taking. Here is their radicalness, that they open a possibility of re-thinking and re-engineering what we understand by production. What are the new social units of production? How is such production measured as a social contribution? How is output distributed, accessed and owned? Re-defining and re-measuring production provides the material basis of the crypto economy — a basis that gives crypto-tokens a long-term future as the currency of an alternative economic logic. A different way of doing economy.
ECSA team on stage, Moderna Museet Stockholm
Moderna Museet Stockholm
Manipulate the World: The New Monetary Perspectivism of Economic Space Agency, Moderna Museet Stockholm
Moderna Museet invites you to discussions with artists and economists on cryptocurrencies and the future of the economy, with a specific focus on the practice of Economic Space Agency. ECSA was one of the key artists at the exhibition Manipulate the World – Connecting Öyvind Fahlström, with its special focus on manipulating the informational layer of our reality called finance and economy.
Öyvind Fahlström’s work “World Bank”, featured in the exhibition Manipulate the World, is closely linked to Economic Space Agency. A gold depot is at the centre of this staged installation, which is a geopolitical analysis of the world economy from 1971. “World Bank” is contemporary with the abandonment of the gold standard and the emergence of the current financialized economy which has come to define today’s debt relations, increasing concentration of capital and uneven distribution of risk.
Economic Space Agency is a startup company in San Francisco aimed at democratizing the financial sector. Their innovations in cryptocurrency – i.e. digital, non-governmental currencies such as bitcoin – have been described as “an alternative way of occupying Wall Street”. Their network extends from post-Marxist philosophers and human rights activists, to internet innovators and financial engineers.
Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, Jakob Senneby, Simon Goldin, Erik Bordeleau at the Stockholm School of Economics.
18-19 January 2018
Stockholm School of Economics
Economy and Its Conventions as a Design Question
Financial derivatives, blockchain and tokens are breaking the conventions of economic organization. Just as the formation of the joint stock company and the rise of stock markets from the 1840s transformed capitalism (and was the context in which Marx was re-framing our understanding of capital, accumulation, and surplus value) we are now at a turning point of similar significance. It is in the nature of a turning point that we must challenge conventional categories of analysis. The core ‘economic’ categories we need aren’t anymore the categories of the joint stock company and profit; nor are they going to be sufficiently clarified around issues of ‘intangible’ production; perhaps they are not even the emerging popular categories by which blockchain and tokens are being right now discussed. We need different frames of thinking about value and production.
AT ECSA, we create mutant organizations, wild financial instruments and economic pets.
ECSA Open Office Program.
Organized by Stockholm School of Economics
Full house, ECSA team at E-Flux, NYC
September 26-27, 2017
E-flux & Pratt, NYC
Cryptocurrencies and Its Discontents
The Occupy Wall Street movement raised an essential question that we haven’t quite been able to answer yet: How to occupy an abstraction? Financial capitalism hangs above our heads like an extractive cloud that escapes our grasp. It uses monetization as the mechanism by which social, cultural, economic, and ecological values are all flattened out and made equivalent to one another. And obviously, this whole extractive architecture is inherently hierarchical: some privileged few are allowed to issue money, while everyone else can only issue promises to pay money. How can we shift from the individual precarity generated by extractive finance to new forms of mutual indebtedness and metastable stakeholding? For starters, we need to conceive of money as a technical object of social design; that is, something that can and needs to be re-engineered to serve our collective aspirations. In that sense, the excitement around blockchain and crypto-currencies is an excitement around a new means of encryption that takes one huge step towards the democratization of finance through techniques of decentralization. Organized by E-Flux.
ECSA team Jorge Lopez and Duke Jones talking about poly-centricity and do-it-your-self blockchains at UC Berkeley
August 23, 2017
Poly-Centricity. Blokchain meets Object Capabilities, ECSA at UC Berkeley
How blockchain technologies can leverage the secure computation model of object capabilities to expand its reach, capacity, and interoperability towards open web platforms and open web infrastructure, without forsaking security and data sovereignty? Current blockchains provide trustless third parties and the ability to operate smart contracts on a public ledger. Meanwhile, object capabilities are based on transmitting tokens of authorities and rights that allow token-holders the ability to securely perform operations in a distributed system that is private, granular, and scalable. Blockchains make compromising information incredibly expensive through massive replication of data. Capabilities extend the promise of security through more light-weight mechanisms such as “Proof of Authority” and greater decentralization at the application layer.
Jorge at stage with Brian, Mark, Arthur, Zooko and Michael
July 3, 2017
Foresight Institute, San Francisco
The Next Frontier: Blockchain meets Object-Capabilities
On July 3rd GRAVITY is coming out of the garage, and co-hosting a symposium with the Foresight Institute at Alamo Square, SF, entitled, “The Next Frontier: Blockchain meets Object-Capabilities.” The panelists include Mark S. Miller, Zooko Wilcox, Brian Warner, and Jorge Lopez, and the discussion will be moderated by Michael Casey from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. For us, starting this dialogue is very important, because GRAVITY implements security and trust/trustlessness in a very different way compared to the more familiar approaches in blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The object capability framework, we feel, is less well-known than it deserves to be, and we hope that this event can create awareness of its possibilities by explaining how it expands the way in which distributed computation and ledger systems are currently seen.
ECSA team at work in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA
Beyond Blockchain. Santa Cruz Sessions I
Value production is inherently networked. In order to thrive it needs an architecture as granular, scalable, and flexible as possible in order to accommodate the kinds of diverse applications and interactions that will, in turn, support its self-organization. We want to build an ecosystem in which everyone can launch and participate in crowdsales, and exchange tokens without breaking the network. For these reasons we are building Gravity: a new common infrastructure for the crypto-economy.
March 5-7 2017
The New School & The Pratt Institute, NYC
New Economic Spaces: Financialization and the Democratization of Financial tools
The Volatility Working Group (Emanuele Derman, Ben Lee, Robert Wosnitzer etc.), SenseLab (Erin Manning, Brian Massumi etc.) and Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt (Jonathan Beller etc.) joined Economic Space Agency to conduct a series of conversations on the current aporias and and possibilities of financialization. The topic at the table: the seemingly irresolvable problems posed by jobless society, capitalist hierarchy, climate injustice, racism, colonialization, neo-fascism in relation to the fact that the coming economic, political and financial structures are opening for design in front of our eyes. In what ways can the new network technologies and the reimagined financial technologies open new economic space?
Jorge Lopez and Mark S. Miller in conversation
November 11-14 2016
Omnicommons, Oakland, CA
Open Source Economy OS!
The classic. Open Source the Economy OS! ECSA’s first open office event in Oakland. Everybody was there: Dick Bryan, Brian Massumi, Jon Beller, Rafe Furst, Mark Miller, Bob Meister, Luciana Parisi, Erin Manning, Marina Gorbis, Robert Wosnitzer, Goldin & Senneby… Three intensive days followed by the late nights at the ECSA Garage.
“We believe that economic, social and technological trends are converging so that we can design and build tools to take more control over the operating system of the economy. Unexpected breakthroughs happen when software architects developing distributed computing and smart contract platforms, thinkers of finance who can work its ideological and organizational potentiality, legal hackers, political activists and social experimenters capable of engaging in such design, artists who are imagining new economic worlds come together in an inclusive atmosphere.
This is a radical moment: We are moving from the Euclidean economic space – a given, flat, rigid, non-changeable, zero-curvatured, linear economic space of equilibriums, scarce resources, neoclassical economics and game theoretical utility maximizing – into a Non-Euclidean economic space which is n-dimensional, topological, non-linear, synthetic, curving and moldable. It is a space where the laws of the old economy don’t hold and where we can start to do new things.”
ECSA Garage Oakland, CA