Incentives are powerful. They help us build systems that shape human behavior, leading the right people to do the right things at the right time.
Most incentives that we see rely on extrinsic motivations like reputation or money— things that come from outside of ourselves. This contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which appears from within us as an enjoyment of something purely for its own sake, with no expectation of additional outcomes.
When we look at social communities on the web, recognize that a majority of them rely on collective intrinsic motivation. Everyone is there because they want to be there, not because they’re being rewarded to do so.
Crypto has a fixed-supply problem. We’re obsessed with assets which can’t be diluted.
It makes sense - the original reason why Satoshi invented blockchains was to have an asset which couldn’t be diluted the same way fiat currencies have. The novelty of this digital scarcity has led to the exponential price growth for Bitcoin, and since then we’ve seen thousands of tokens launching with similar scarcity, in the hopes that it would spur their own appreciation in the market.
The difficulty with fixed supply tokens, an issue which some critics have pointed out exists even in Bitcoin’s own emission schedule, is that eventually there won’t be enough new coins being minted to continue sustaining the network in perpetuity. Only time will tell how Bitcoin’s story unfolds, but for now we can still evaluate the shortcomings of fixed-supply models for other types of projects, in particular for digital communities.
When we first kicked off work on Myco over a year ago, we had a simple thesis: that the value accruing from a community's activities should flow back to its contributors.
Over this time we've created a platform that lets anyone launch DAOs which are co-owned by their members, putting economic ownership in the hands of the many instead of the few. We've combined powerful economic tools with new types of social spaces which are optimized for healthy community building, to bring about a new generation of internet-native communities/collectives/coops/companies. We're excited to continue unveiling these powerful tools to our community over the coming months.
As part of growing this community, we’re happy to announce that we’ve closed $800k in funding from a stellar cohort of angels and funds who are helping to bring about the DAO revolution.
For part 1 of this post, please read
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of connecting with Thom, an artist/ creative/ polymath/ 21st Century Renaissance Man, who was keen to dive head first into crypto.
After seeing the sudden rise in popularity of CryptoPunks (but not being able to purchase one of his own), and the very low quality of ‘bootleg punks’ being sold on OpenSea, Thom decided to take matters into his own hands: he made his own custom Punk — himself— and began to don it as his new PFP on various social platforms. I will be honest that when he first pitched me on the idea of him becoming a CryptoPunk-style portrait artist, I was skeptical. That is, until he made me one, and immediately it clicked. Unbeknownst to all of us, Thom had just started a powerful movement.
Over the last year, we've seen an explosion of a new form of NFT project: the PFP's. Sparked by a renewed interest in CryptoPunks, creators have designed series after series of characters and provided each them with traits and unique features that set them apart from each other.
Some of the art has been top notch, with some PFP creators even going as far as to hand-design every single implementation. Others... well... it's clear that they were launched with a short-term mindset, using art made by third parties who likely made pennies on the dollar compared to the amounts earned by the people launching these projects to make a quick buck.
However, whether meant to or not, these PFP projects were creating the prime launching points for valuable digital communities.
Myco is a tool for bootstrapping abundance. It's an all-in-one platform for groups of people who have a shared set of goals and values— potential energy— to come together and convert that energy into real world action.
One of the central themes of Myco is collective ownership: the belief that the economic benefits which stem from work should be fairly shared among the group of people who contributed to its creation, in a way that promotes sustainable, long-lasting relationships.
While this blueprint may be applied to many different forms of organizations, to begin we are focussing specifically on what we call Digital Social Clubs: communities of like minded individuals who gather together on the internet. Our goal is to enable these groups to be anything they want to be: a community, a collective, a coop, a company.
We are at a crossroads in society . On one hand we live in an ultra competitive reality that feels like it's accelerating towards dystopia, where we only care about satisfying our basic needs for consumption and survival. On the other hand, we sense that we are on the verge of finding a new utopia, where we can share in the abundance that we've managed to create with our vast technological achievements, finally realizing that the well-being of the collective matters just as much as the well-being of the individual.
Although our technology has connected us in ways that has never been possible, these same technologies have diminished our sense of belonging. The modern form of Capitalism and business formation is a relentless pursuit of shareholder gains with a short term mindset. Worse yet, because being a shareholder does not correlate with involvement in the value being created, our problems (like environmental waste, monopolization of markets, and the ever growing disparity between the 'haves and have-nots') are being compounded in every moment.
What if I told you there’s a way we can all benefit from the amazing new technological growth that we as a society have created. There's a secret new world being built, that allows us all to all be co-owners, flipping the cap-tables to be in our benefit.
Close your eyes, and try to imagine all of the different media that you produce on a daily basis. The posts, the stories, the memes, and even the likes you make on other people's content. Imagine them all floating in the air in front of you, forming a cloud.
When we post on social media, it often feels like we're releasing something that's weighing us down. As if our content is just a series of shells we've each outgrown; a trail of breadcrumbs we leave behind as we attempt to self-actualize together. Something to be discarded, not something to be treasured. A liability, not an asset.
But in the back of our minds, we remember that it has to be valuable to somebody, right? We're supposed to be living in the age where "data is the new oil". We've all read the headlines about how Facebook sells our data. Yet somehow, the entire thing still feels like a big blur, like we don't really understand how we each fit into the equation. This feeling is not an accident. It is the result of one of the greatest deceptions of our age.
Every time we use the internet, we encounter an endless supply of new ways to make money. The attention economy is booming, and people are becoming comfortable spending money on high quality digital media. Although the last several decades have seen us earning mostly as independent agents, people are increasingly joining forces to earn money together under shared group identities.
The challenge that we're facing is that the internet isn't built for group users. This means that everything that a group does, it does via its individual members who act on its behalf. In order for high levels of control to be placed in the hands of key individuals, these groups either need a high degree of structure or a high degree of trust for one another.
Faced with this tradeoff, more and more people are choosing the latter— working with people they already trust, starting with their friends. Even the uncharted territory of mixing business and friendship seems to be an improvement over the stale bureaucratic structures of the last century, which clearly no longer reflect the way that we coordinate with one another.