March 10, 2020
‘Stablecoins’ have claims to legitimacy because they avert the supposed principal flaw of cryptotokens: their price volatility. But whose stability is stable? What is the appropriate benchmark for ‘stability’?
We would like to challenge the conventional understanding of monetary ‘stability’ and reconsider its significance for the role of stablecoins. Being stable with respect to a fiat currency (or a basket of fiat currencies) is one take on stability, but it embeds the primacy of fiat over crypto, and leaves the stability of fiat currencies unquestioned. In this context, stablecoins are being styled as the acceptable face of crypto because they are a crypto version of fiat: the US dollars you hold when you don’t hold US dollars. But where do you go when you want to dissent from fiat, when you want to take a stand against fiat by betting against it (shorting it) and finding new stability from a different set of economic and social relations. For make no mistake, money is a social relation.
We think the latter is the real social potential of cryptoeconomy. It provides an opportunity to re-think the social role of money, and the social incentives that are embedded in fiat currency — money as a series (protocols) of social relations. And if and when fiat currencies face their next future crisis, we want to be talking already about what new stabilities — new social relations, processes and goals that we believe should be constant; new metrics of stability — we are advocating.
This is the issue we should pose of every aspiring token: what is its own notion of inter-temporal stability that it claims to secure?
3 oct. 2019
In the course of writing the upcoming white paper Protocols for Cryptoeconomic Networks, we have realized that we are creating a language for new economic expression. It can express capitalist network protocols, but even more, it can go beyond them. 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.
Is cryptoeconomy just a refinement and acceleration of a capitalist economy or can it create a new understanding of Economy? This article explains how it could be either or, indeed both, by introducing the chapter “Crypto-Political Economy” of our upcoming white paper.
“The technology permits both capitalist and social versions to be designed centrally or in a distributed way. In both cases, there are clear cost and speed advantages of cryptoeconomic platforms because of the absence of need for central clearing houses, and we see large corporations and states adopting the technology for fast, low cost and accurate record keeping.”