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Karl Ward, Surya Mattu, Jon Wasserman

Bitcoin, like any currency, carries a built-in agenda.  In Bitcoin’s case, that agenda can be described as techno-libertarian: it forestalls government intervention in monetary policy, de-privileges central banks, while privileging those who are computationally powerful and/or highly connected to the network infrastructure.  We find many aspects of this agenda to be unsavory, which leads us to this question:

Can we create a currency platform that embeds an agenda that is good for society as a whole?

A primary avenue of investigation is the power of physical geography to reduce the network effects that privilege the powerfully networked.  What if, for example, a currency is more valuable when used in transactions where the participants are physically close, and less valuable in transactions that occur over networks or large distances?  Might this encourage local economies?

Or perhaps the currency is more valuable when spent in an area with high population density?  Might this encourage public transportation, and discourage suburban sprawl?

What if people can mint their own currency in some fashion, and the currency is more valuable when used close to the source that minted it?

Aside from geography, what if verification of others’ transactions is required in order to participate?  Rather than rewarding computationally powerful participants with newly minted currency (as Bitcoin does), perhaps the currency cannot be spent unless both the buyer and seller have verified an unrelated transaction?

We’re not yet sure where our research and efforts will lead us, but we hope to present a sketch of such a currency next week.

Similar Ideas

The alternative currency space is growing rapidly in size and variety.  We hope to analyze the agendas of these currency (or currency-like) projects:

Our analysis should include a brief description of each project, a short analysis of its built-in agenda, and a list of reference materials we used to evaluate it.

Measure of Success

Total Domination. Where Domination = Equal Opportunity for underserved communities.

Yo mami, what’s the deal with the name?

“Bloc” means block, like the block you live on.  “Kwon” means coin, because someone said it in some movie Jon saw.

What about Raekwon?

Bloc-kwon, not Raekwon
Bloc-kwon, not Raekwon

What about J-Kwon?

Not J-Kwon, either

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