Thwarting an uber future for complementary currencies: open protocols for a credit commons

Bendell, Jem and Slater, Matthew (2017) Thwarting an uber future for complementary currencies: open protocols for a credit commons. In: IV International Conference on Social and Complementary Currencies: Money, Consciousness and Values for Social Change, 10-14 May 2017, Universita Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of paper]
PDF (paper) - Presentation
Available under License CC BY-NC

Download (544kB) | Preview
Official URL:


The paper explores the rationale and potential for practitoners in both complementary currencies and platform cooperatives, and their associated researchers, to consider the role of open protocols to grow the digital commons and avoid a digital dystopia of platform monopolies. The authors contend that there have been two parallel worlds of practice that have hitherto had little interaction. One the one hand, the largely capitalist-backed fields of cryptographic currency innovation and blockchain development, and on the hand the more community-oriented initiatives with older, less technological complementary currencies. Through a literature review, the same rift is shown to extend to academic literature. The authors suggest this division reflects a more philosophical divide between capitalist interests and those seeking to generate and maintain shared wealth. Based on that analysis the relevance of the concept of “the commons” is discussed, as well as the “digital commons” as a way of framing different approaches. The importance of developing open protocols in order to create conditions for new entrants to thrive, including “protocol cooperatives” is explained. The argument that a free market in privately-issued currencies would naturally avoid monopoly, without conscious effort to do so from innovators and regulators is rejected. Instead, the concept of the commons is applied to currencies and credit, with implications for the development of open protocols for complementary currencies. The vision, strategy and roadmap of the new Credit Commons Collective is presented. The methodology for the research is an adaptation of “reflective practice” through a structured use of “thinking partnership” over the years of engagement with the subject matter, complemented with periods of academic literature review, including for this paper.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Research Centres > Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS)
Additional Information: Dr. Jem Bendell (Professor of Sustainability Leadership, University of Cumbria, UK, and Matthew Slater, Currency Engineer,, (corresponding author).
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 08:18
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 12:15


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Edit Item