Prof. Dick Bryan & Dr. Akseli Virtanen

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?


  1. Derivative

    This composable economic instrument of risk exposure works as following: an individual or a collective is taking a financial position on the change in the index on an underlier, without needing the ownership of the underlier itself. Written on one or more underlying assets, the Derivative is designed to manage risk, preserve wealth and provide liquidity. 

    See: Network derivative, Social Derivative

  2. Liquidity Bridge

    The ECSA Token constitutes the Liquidity Bridge between existing capital market and Economic Spaces.

  3. Liquidity Of Value

    The capacity to change, to move (a particular Right) without a dominant unit of exchange.

  4. Money

    We see Money as an order of value abstraction. Classically, the roles that fiat Money is called on to perform, are: measure, medium of exchange and store of value. By understanding Money as a set of Protocols – not as a “coin” but rather a Token – the Protocol can be redesigned to allow ‘Money’ to become something beyond its classical functionality. In this model, the basic functions of Money are being disaggregated and Protocolized separately, because they are different building blocks of the social.

  5. Network derivative

    The Network derivative exemplifies how a Token works, in the way that ECSA’s conceives it. Network derivatives allow valuation to be expressed ‘beyond’ price, an array of qualitative indexes of ‘expressed knowledge’. In programming languages, these Tokens must speak the same transactional language and be interoperable.

    See: Derivative

  6. Network Performance Index

    A unit that measures or tracks one or more dimensions of value (or “performance”), as one magnitude. An index counts performance occurrences, “events”, and increases according to them. A performance index can be Tokenized.


  7. Peer-To-Peer Credit

    Peer-to-peer credit is one of the forms that Self-issuance may take. Token issuance starts with an offer and is realized on acceptance of the offer. Users exchange Tokens grafted to their economic Spaces in effect issuing each other credit in an act of mutual Trust. This provides users with liquidity. Rather than paying interest for liquidity as one does with tradition credit in capitalist sytems, here one offers and recieves Trust on a peer to peer basis. This economic dyad becomes the basic building block of the social and economic fabric of the ECSA platform.


  8. Post-blockchain

    This is a simple term to cover the combination of cryptography, secure distributed computation, object capabilities and blockchain technology.

  9. Protocol

    A named sequence of expressions, describing actions across real and virtual Spaces to be performed to completion (and as a whole).

  10. Right

    Interchangeable with value

  11. Self-issuance

    The ability and Right to issue Tokens grafted to any project, where Tokens are understood as a primary user-interface and building block of an economic Space. Thus Self-issuance is a way to design economic Space and to write Social Derivatives.

  12. Social Consensus (Governance)

    When we say blockchains are “Trustless,” what we mean is that there are mechanisms in place by which all parties in the system can reach a consensus on what the canonical truth is. Power and Trust is distributed or shared among the network’s stakeholders, rather than concentrated in a single individual or entity (e.g. banks, governments, and financial institutions).

  13. Social Derivative

    See Derivative

  14. Social Derivative

     A social form designed to manage contingency on the way to desirable outcomes in a volatile world. Seeking an upside on the volatility wave of social practices before they were formalized financially. Financial forms include options: calls, puts and then and then more complex Derivative instruments — in all cases, they are positions on volatility. 

  15. Space

    A programmable environment enabled by the Space language. An organisational calculus to reason about and describe networks as relationships and interactions between Agents within a Space.

    Within Space’s Semantics, Space is a stateful container that binds resources and agents together, creating a relationship where their expressions and interactions gain a context.

  16. Token

    The computer generated Token is an asset with a Protocol that describes and enables its functionality. Its programability expands the classical function of Money. It can be a real-world asset, a utility, a meaning, or all of these. It is a structured interface with a network, a building block of economic Space, a form of expression and a Derivative.

  17. Transactions

    Transaction within an Economic Space holds a variety of relational possibilities that aim to strengthen synergies, create securities and value intangibles. Transactions are not simply to clear the market, but to build mutual knowledge that can potentially transform what gets transacted towards a thriving ecosystem. Each individual economic Space Token accordingly shares a common Token.

  18. Trust

    Blockchains minimize the amount of Trust required from any single actor in the system. They do this by distributing Trust among different actors in the system via cooperation with the rules defined by the Protocol.

  19. Unit of Account

    The unit of measure of value, that allows two or more Tokens to be put at par and facilitate an exchange. See: Network Performance Index


  20. Value Calculus

    Social relations are majorly influenced by the ways in which value is being determined. It is a well known fact that price is as a form of coordination, with effects on every individual, every corporation and every government participating in fiat markets. The ECSA stack allows a discourse to take place where Finance traditionally does not concede it. This discourse is automatically part of a mathematical procedure, its results take place in the calculation of price. These steadily updated forms of measurement allow value to be distributed and  allow new definitions of “surplus” to emerge.