Humans are social beings. We surround ourselves with like-minded individuals to grow and experience new things. The spectrum of possible experiences one can have based on their family, culture, and surrounding physical environment is pretty vast.
In a world where so much is motivated by trade, currency can also be thought of like language. It is an expression of how we value things — time, physical goods, attention, infrastructure, etc. When two parties are using the same currency, they are speaking the same language and can price items accordingly. The logical extension is that everyone should be using one currency, so we can have a universal language for the global economy.
The Struggle for Coherence
However, in such a diverse world it is only natural that people value things very differently.
Think of an artist displaying her paintings at an event. An attendee sees a painting he wants that is priced at $1750. The Artist values the painting based on how expensive the materials were, the value of her time, as well as the value of the quality of her work. The attendee might think about how much value they would get from buying the painting or how many hours they would have to work to afford it. As you can see each of them value the painting differently and if they want to transact they’ll have to reach a consensus.
So, not only is there a range in the value placed on certain things, but for each person, the system of valuing the medium of exchange could be completely different. If currencies are languages that express posited denominations of value for goods and services, it is not only the medium that matters (ie USD), but also the perspective and relationship that each person has towards one unit of that respective medium. This is why local currencies have such a unique value proposition (literally). Organized groups of individuals who understand each other through a shared set of experiences or beliefs have the ability to operate an independent economy, where all participants speak a more uniform language and have a system of values that everyone in the community can relate to.
But what happens when you have to leave your isolated system of value? Doesn’t that make transacting impossible outside of your own system? Let’s return to that in a bit…
What is Community?
In much of the Western world today, we see a lot of companies and groups in general talking about community but what does it mean to be part of a community?
The community is commonly defined as a group of people who come together through a shared interest.
We are provided with a unique frame to think about how many types of communities there currently are, and how many more could be. It is really exciting when we consider how each one of these communities already has the foundation of a value system that everyone understands.
Traditionally, a community was limited to geographic location. Today, with increased connectivity, a community can be built through just a shared view or common interest.
The Internet and Communities
The internet has enabled communities to expand their networks without the need to aggregate into a common physical location. Initially through forums, and followed by the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, connecting people with shared interests has become remarkably easier. This also creates conditions for the faster spreading of information.
“Crypto Twitter” is a great example of this. Whenever an important message needs to be spread through the community, Twitter facilitates the distribution so that any active person can know within a matter of hours. This can include news releases, technical knowledge, and of course memes.
Additionally, industries like software development rely on technology-driven communities that share the same attitudes, interests, and goals. One of these groups is the open source community, which brings together technology, community, and collaboration. These kinds of communities are not defined by location but by ideas, values, and skills. The people that lead in these groups are chosen through merit.
Local currencies have existed for hundreds of years. The BerkShares currency in Massachusetts has their own paper bills and many local organizations (including banks) accept it in their region. This model has proven that federal governments aren’t required to maintain the value of currencies.
The emergence of cryptocurrencies is another evolution for currency models. It’s the first time a group of people could attribute value to a decentralized, purely digital asset that had a limited supply, and acted as a uniform medium of exchange. The value has grown because people chose to value it. Trust in math became more important than trust in organizations to execute a transaction.
After the rise of the Bitcoin community and currency, many other virtual currencies started to form. These currency’s communities were initially focused on the cryptography and underlying code (and still are to some degree), but have also started in many cases to have more symbolic value, or value based on an underlying asset.
The rise of Ethereum added a different element to the mix. Now almost anyone can create their own digital token, and attach any meaning to it all. In many cases today, the tokens are created for upcoming projects, but a community (and therefore value) can be built around pretty much anything.
Native and Communities
Native is a newly launched Ethereum-built platform building community-based DAOs, offering several tools for communities to operate effectively in a tokenized economy including a Community Token, staking-based membership function, and collective decision-making mechanisms. Each community also has its own resource pool, which can be used to fund projects and important tasks.
Ultimately, their vision is to enable communities to realize the value that they inherently already hold or plan to consciously create, where every individual can allocate their time, money, and energy into systems that they truly care about. These local communities are more effective at allocating funds into relevant projects, because they understand their group’s needs.
One of the other fundamental components of Native is that it allows for each Tribe to plug into a universal liquidity network. Through the Bancor Protocol, all local currencies created on Native are instantly convertible, allowing communities to transact between each other at will. Through a shared vision of creating real social change combined with innovative use of blockchain, Native is helping communities to function as independent economies where members can store and exchange value locally, and collectively decide how to allocate resources in service of the community vision.
Here are some other useful links to connect with Native on the community tokenomics conversation: