Between the extremes presented by Lerner and Shirky, “For Micro-Money or the Amour”, I land somewhere in the middle.

When you sign up for ComicDrop, you hold 0 ComicCoin, but you don’t know it. This decision is driven by the same forces that illuminate the anecdote about a friend making a code contribution and being pleasantly suprized by a reward granted without expectation. Also, I don’t think I’m a “you have a 100 on the first day of class” kindof guy. Gotta earn that shit.

When a submitted sticker (a shared drawing) is approved, the artist recieves 100 ComicCoin. Approval happens when the drawing is screened to a) be School-Safe and b) not garbage scribbles. You’ll get an email in a day or so letting you know your drawing is accepted and your ComicCoin credited. Hopefully this encourages return visits. Friends* in ComicDrop can see / access your sticker immediately (to foster realtime collaboration).

I want a way for Kids like Karl(tm) to get involved. Therefore – when registered users submit a request/idea for a sticker – they’ll get 50 ComicCoin. These requests will be used as prompts for people with a proclivity to draw but want/could use ideas. These requests are also screened. No notification for successfully submitted requests, but accreditation takes place.

If you draw a requested sticker, you get 150 ComicCoin. Both the person who submitted the idea and the person who fulfilled the request are notified of the successful collaboration.

Once you’ve reached some yet-to-be-determined number of ComicCoin, you can lob a physical thing into the world at a discounted price.

For Example :

Jay has 100 ComicCoin. Jay can order a Mug for 20$, a Postcard for 2.50$, or a Poster for 10$.

Sam has 1000 ComicCoin. Sam can order a Mug for 17$, a Postcard for 1.75$, or a Poster for 7.50$.

This system is therefore not about the popularity of drawings. It does, however, reward taking time to address an unmet/stated want/need. In a system that rewards frequent sticker-reuse, the person who draws a stupid heart will be rewarded. In this system, people are encouraged to stay nimble, stretch creatively, and keep drawing.

Right now, the numbers are fungible, and I’m interested in gathering sentiments re: “what is fair” / how much effort should a discount take.

Additionally, People want a place to feel recognized for their work, and to browse each other’s sticker portfolios – I appreciate that. ComicDrop will have a zone where an individual user’s stickers will be viewable as a collection. Users can give & recieve kudos to one another. Kudos thresholds might exist for bonus discount(s). The idea is that respect and encouragement is earned by making outstanding drawings – unique work that other people feel compelled to tip their virtual hats towards.


ComicCoin earns users a discount on Material made Real. This discount would, in effect, take “my/our” cut. Which is to stay, the profit I would otherwise make when people order physical goods. I.E. a mug on lob costs 17$. If I normally charge 20$, but offer a discount for 1000 ComicCoin, I’m giving someone 3$ for their 7 – 10 Stickers, because they’ve made a contribution that improves ComicDrop for everyone. The discounts, at least to start, will not be “stackable”.

I would be interested in subsidizing printed matter even further, but I would have to see whether / how this is economically feasable. If some people are drawing a ton of stickers and other people are buying a ton of stuff at non-discounted prices, I’d be very interested in exploring stacked discounts as rewards for those superusers.

Down the road, I imagine there are also other potential tasks for people interested in accumulating ComicCoin – tasks like moderation, tagging and sorting.

EcoDollars – Colin & Alexandra

This week we began speaking about need-based economic models (food stamps initially, and then other theoretical, fixed value assets). We expanded upon this in thinking of the implications of value based systems upon climate change and the potential for incentivizing economic activity that benefits short term and long term ecological stability.

We thought through several scenarios around the concept of EcoDollars – a value system based on the ecological status of a city/country/region:

1. What if for every purchase you make with EcoDollars for a product, you retain some monetary value, which incentivises you to spend your money on ecologically friendly products.

The core idea here is that we thought about was the infrastructure costs of building higher sea walls, disaster prevention, etc. These are vastly more expensive than incentivizing purchases of ecologically sound products that if purchased en masse, could at least minimize the acceleration of climate change. From a purely fiscal standpoint, it’s more expensive to pay for the aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy etc every decade than incentivizing change in social behavior in aggregate.

2. What if you you has a currency that could be used like a normal currency for everyday transactions but the inflation rates were based, again, on how sustainable a region is doing.

Essentially we are considering an alternative system for taxing companies, but instead of focussing on creating constraints and regulations in the market, we incentivize the public and in essence give them the power to decide how heavily the factories that primarily responsible for environmental problems would be taxed (hypothetically).

Here are some of the questions we have and additional elements of consideration:

  • What are the benefits of the additional currency?
  • Do we want to avoid just thinking of a traditional currency with a tax on climate negative purchases?
  • What is the value for the end consumer actually comprised of?
  • Who owns and operates it? Crowdsourced or GOV sponsored or agency NGO?
  • What do we need to consider about building another currency on top of an existing currency?

Using Thor’s Hammer to smash HFT

This is a great article on not getting screwed by the HFT and dark pools as put into play by the RBC:,1/

“We’re trying to put the greatest number of people on equal footing,” says Katsuyama. “There’s a huge swath of participants that these [950] microseconds is meaningless to but it has huge meaning to a very small group [the HFTs],” he adds. The point is not to prevent HFTs from doing a lot of the things they normally do—such as trading on small differences between a gold exchange-traded fund and gold futures, for example. It’s just to stop the predatory strategies that make them money at the expense of real investors.”

unidad de formento and minimum wage

Interested in the implications of digitizing one of the alternative currencies – unidad de formento in particular (inflation-indexed unit of account used to set prices) and how it could impact the minimum wage.

I’m from Seattle and have been inspired by the battle over raising the city’s minimum wage to $15. The town around the airport (Sea-Tac) just established this working wage and the conversation continues as to whether Seattle will follow suit..

NYT article Robert Shiller, Nobel economist, sees potential in electronic currency in terms of its ability to solve the problem of volatility.

In the US, minimum wage is not inflation-adjusted, leading to fights over how much to raise it each time inflation makes the old one obsolete.

Shiller sees part of our monetary paralysis is in our inability to index prices. He takes inspiration from Chile, which implemented the unidad de fomento (UF), which is an inflation-indexed unit of account used to set prices.

The exchange rate between the UF and the Chilean peso is now (today) constantly adjusted to inflation so that the value of the Unidad de Fomento remains constant on a daily basis during low inflation.

Right now currency’s “value” is affected by speculators, inflation, deflation and other stuff unrelated to the value of whatever you’re buying. UF strips out those variables to just see what things cost in terms of their actual value.

If wage were instead based on value of goods, there would potentially be less need to constantly reestablish the minimum wage.

The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation



Sam Lavigne and I are looking into the collective of cooperative business, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. This organization is the most successful model of its kind, with 289 cooperatives in the organization, employing over 80,000 people.

Mondragon Corporation


The “Co-op” group [Brian Clifton and Sam Lavigne] have been subsumed into the “Bloc-kwon” group.