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Ideas for RH

Yeah, check my comment above. :wink:

I have been involved with the project before, though I left it after some issues between the high level people which obstructed the work. Now that they have resolved that, I have a good relationship with the founder Susanne.

BitNation in general is an interesting approach to governance, because it uses blockchain technology to offer a host of services usually seen as reserved for states. It is still far from where it needs to be, but I appreciate its efforts to be relevant to the lived reality of people all over the globe. One of those efforts is the refugee emergency response.

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Do you have links to any good talks / podcasts / whitepapers / discussions?

In particular in relation to new governance approaches and experiments on the blockchain?

A good and timely example of why we’re interested in this is our currently Annual members meeting, which is running in Loomio.

For regulatory reasons we have to follow a rigid set of rules (a legacy of cooperativism in the face of industrialized society) - it would be great to be able to see more flexibility in governance that more suits our desires and needs at this time.

Thanks for the stimulating links so far!

You can learn more about the founder and her story in this interview:

Whitepaper, dev plan etc. are available on the website bitnation.co here:

Whitepaper [Google Doc]

Dev plan [Google Doc]

etc.

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Ah, sorry, I seem to have jumped straight to Saint Alban while reading it.

Hmm. I’m wondering about the special series. Maybe we could do one with BitNation, where the possible proceeds would go to their Bitcoin refugee aid.

What would be the problems with this? Well, at least the proceeds would take some time to manifest, if they would manifest at all. Then there would maybe have to be some sort of time limit, or would the proceeds continue to go there forever?

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Agreed. I hadn’t thought that far ahead… Haha. The issuance is then not the best idea, I presume. At least not one that does has measurable effect right now.

Perhaps for now we have to resign ourselves to helping them out with publicity and personal donations.

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Certainly better than nothing when things are looking seriously as distopian as they are right now.

Helping refugees seems like a tangent for a group which is working to rebuild finance.
Following my last blog post
in which I proposed that the collective shift its focus from
hedgefunding to more mundane financial services, I now have a real life
use-case which I hope will be of interest.
My friend Brian owns a flat in London but collects rent from it while living in an
ecovillage in Germany. He wants the 200K value stored in the flat to be a
benefit to the ecovillage while he lives there, but still to pass it on
to his child.
So the question is, if he could sell his flat, how could he make that capital available to the ecovillage, but have the assurance that the ecovillage would return it within, say six months on
demand? How could he protect it against inflation, and could he avoid paying exchange rates twice over? What kind of intermediary would be needed, and what kind of legal fees would be demanded?
I think the answer could help a lot of ecovillages with their capital shortages and empower ordinary people to use their retirement pots with low risk and keep them close to home.

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A very intriguing idea. Possibly some kinds of blockchain enabled ‘smart contract’ could govern the ownership and the capital. I don’t think such service exists, as of yet.

As for the refugee idea; I don’t think we have to be exclusive here, we can work on several ideas at the same time, depending on people’s interests.

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Record keeping is the easy part!
As with bitcoin, we can keep records of who owns the currency, but some kind of law or contract is needed for a currency or contract to be worth anything.
Brian needs a contract that says if the ecovillage cannot produce the cash within six months of its being recalled, then a whole family can live there, cost free, until such time as they can scrape together the cash. i.e. it would be cheaper for the ecovillage to borrow money from the bank than to not pay him back.
What kind of enforcement can there be without involving the courts? Do we need financial hackers to design ways or do they exist already?

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IMO the best way we can help them is get tools to them that they need. The one tool that we can provide - where we have an advantage - is in the group-economy area. From RH’s perspective, if you can provide groups with the groupware tool that more or less manages their financial interactions that would be worth a lot to them.

This would be similar to RH phase 2 if I have the name right. It hasn’t been built as yet for RH but I have an app that does some parts of what they need - so I know it is possible, I know we have the elements in place and knowledge to do it.

iang

postscript: There are two critical questions that need to be answered with any “help others” project

  1. what do they need, and
  2. can we provide it?

(1) The first is by far the hardest. Because we’re not there, we’re working from fairly limited information, so before anyone gets into it deeply it probably would help to check out the ideas with someone who’s got a lot of experience in this area. For my part I’m only guessing that the experience I have with savings groups relates to refugees. It’s just a guess.

Then (2) can we help? For that I would say, can we shift the requirements of phase 1 to include the requirements of say refugees, as determined before?

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Reposting here, as requested, the proposal mailed a month ago.
This post contains the preamble and digest. Whole proposal, see a pdf here: https://freelab2014.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/robin-hood-thermaikos-proposal.pdf


Groundwork for Freedom
Towards Liberatory Technologies

Development and proliferation of open technologies to support independent society development in Rojava, Greece and beyond.
Proposed model, set of activities, system of seed funding and cooperative investment fund.

Digest
In the search for „alternative” social models, a lot of effort is spent on finding political and economic constructs. Much less attention is paid to the fact that technology (or, as somone may say, „technical culture”) is closely related to those two areas. In fact, every political and economic system introduces its own way of dealing with production, services and logistics, which in turn makes certain technical solutions privileged, while other ones
obsolete. Some of the most subversive concepts are plainly excluded from circulation and labeled as hoaxes.
If we want to support the construction of new society, we need new technological ecosystem.

I propose to create a center (house) for advanced open technologies, aimed to support the development of resilient, self-governing societies in Greece and Rojava – and possibly beyond.

Assuming rules of self-governance based upon Murray Bookchin’s municipalism. social economy based on the cooperatives, open technologies will complete the system, providing ways of production tailored to the political and economical needs of the society.
This proposal integrates my previous thoughts and concepts, until now separately developed for Rojava and Greece.

The goal of the house will be:

  1. To interact with communities, identifying their current and future needs. Chief criteria of the selection will be: resilience, sustainability and compatibility with the social system.
  2. To select, elaborate and implement open and appropriate technologies meeting the identified needs.
  3. To monitor and audit previous implementations, providing learning feedback loop.

The house will be formed as a cooperative, with stakeholders being various entities of the solidarity society. The cooperative will not be scaled up beyond regional level. Instead it will work as an example to be replicated in case of need. The house will develop a business model (subject to stakeholder decisions) to become financially independent.

The testbed for the house will be the Thermaikos region in Northern Greece, near Thessaloniki. Initial team will be created by the local citizens’ association members, a group of volunteers in Rojava and several open source activists from Europe and beyond.

I propose that RobinHood Coop would become one of the f(o)unding stakeholders, assist in setting up the general financial framework, provide seed funding and establish a cooperative investment fund to support implementation of the solutions developed.

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A quick update on our activity in Thermaikos:

  1. We have completed “dry” assembly of a prototype solar heating panel following the documentation published here: http://www.iedu.com/Solar/Panels/index.html If the tests go well, we will prepare simplified design for mass production (Assemble-Yourself kits) and be ready to provide unlimited number of such heaters for refugee camps and post-war reconstruction areas (think Rojava). We have a deal with a local woodworking company that they will not only manufacture these kits for every interested party, but also employ (paid positions) our people in the manufacturing process. It means – apart from the fundraising aspect – that we shall be able to provide training both in the area of assembling/installation and manufacturing process.
  2. Today we had the meeting, initiating our local “Refugee Welcome” team. The goal is to organize a long-term, optimized support for refugees/migrants going through Greece in a smart and organized manner.
    The plan includes, for starters:
  • Design, prototyping and manufacturing of a “Refugee Welcome” pack (aka refugee survival kit). a compact set of utensils, provided to a migrant person at the beginning of their route in Grteece. The pack will contain various equipment (example: personal water filter, first aid kit, thermal blanket/poncho, thermal accumulating pack, etc.) and information sources (European field survival guide, cultural shock absorber, language helpers).
  • Introducing the “repair, reuse, recycle” system for the equipment dopnated to refugees. The operational life of certain elements (slleping pads & bags, tants etc.) is longer than one trip from Greece to Stuttgart. If possible, we shall try to get these items back here to Greece and give them to those, who cannot/do not want to buy new ones.
  • Getting local people, along the migration route, involved in a positive way in the support for migrants (providing - on fair terms - shelter, food and transport) to create friendly (but not exploiting) attitude among them.
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Let’s think about this a little.

So what if RH launches a special series of shares, branded to refugee rescue;

  • when buying a share, a sum goes directly to bitnation refugee aid (e.g., with a 30€ share, 5€ directly to aid)
  • then profit from the 25 is pledged to bitnation refugee aid, for
    instance, for a year; after that the share is “released” and the member
    can decide over profit allocation (according to standard model)

plus for RHC; new vehicle, possibly new members, etc.
plus for Bitnation; new source of funding
plus for “customers”; can give directly and continuously, “a gift that keeps on giving”

would it be attractive enough?

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I would like to start discussion about free internet for development countries. Altough there are things like Googe Zero, people in development countries must still pay subscription line costs for using telephone line. Telephne line costs are high when landlines are used, but mobile telecommunications have operational costs much lower. Still people in developing countries must pay high cost for telephone line. The cost of using internet with its copyrighted material and royalty payments increases costs of using the net. Internet also brings lots of advertising money to teleoperators, also in poor countries, but teleoperators still charge money from line user. However, internet has also full of freeware and public domain material, and internet operators like Spotify who offers copyrighted material for free, and places like openculture.com which is full of public domain things. But telephone line costs prevent poor people in poor countries to use those. When even 4G networks are being build in the most poorest countries of the world, and they have dozens of megabits data rate, if operating cost for one tens of megabits- scale line are so high that subscrition line fee must paid, what about if that capacity is divided to between 20- 100 smaller users, and simultaneysly advertisements that are aided towards one user, are going to 20 -100 line users, so advertisement money generated by teleoperator is increased to 20 - 100 times per typical megabits scale 4G or even 3G channel. If internet access is restricted to copyright payment free public domain and freeware, teleoperator does not have to pay it either. There is a crossing point where teleoperators costs and slower data rate for user / increased money from advertisements meet each other, and teleperator can now have total cost- free internet which is paid by commercials (advertisements, adware, other payments by those who offer material or want to sell something in the internet), so end user in poor countries does not have to pay for internet line. 600 million cell phones and 100- 200 million laptops, tablets on other computers are discarded each year. They cannot be shipped to poor countries because costs of using internet line (telephone line) are so high that it prevents their usage. So those are scrapped wich brings much pollution. If line costs were free, hundreads of millions of pieces of electronics that are discarded and now scrapped can be given to poor people. Also cost of modern electronics is so low (tablet PC at 15 dollars with Allwinner A 13 processor is lowest factory price for large orders in China) that it is not the cost of electronics, it is the cost of telehone / mobile internet line that prevents poor people having internet connection. Also if they had access to internet, these poor people could form “buying pools”, concentrations of net shop users in same geographical area, and make large factory orders together for netshops like alibaba.com that sell cheap things but demants large order of 1000 - 10 000 pieces for single order. Also teleoperator can cut costs restricting the use of free internet to limited number of files and netpages on the net, using “Virtual File System” or other instead of search engine and browser, minimizing search engine and server usage to minimum. Google Zero, Airtel Zero and others are doing it already. Most of worlds teleoperators that have largest numbers of subscribers are state- owned, owned by some rich country like Norway (Telenor/VimpelCom/Grameenphone), United Arab Erimites (Etilasat) or France (Orange, previously France Telecom), and these very rich countries have wholly or partially state- owned teleoperators that operate in almost every poor country in the world. Because they are state owned they are under political decisionmaking of citizens. Also those firms get their money from teleoperations in rich countries, and having telebisnes in poor countries is not very important to them. If there is a way that enables total cost free internet in developing countries and it wont even bring substantial economical losses, what is the reason that these large state- owned firms cannot offer free internet at least poorest of people? These firms are “owned” by citizens of each individual country that have large teleoperator under governmental control, so if people want this cost free internet to come true, it will come true, if people have a will to make this decision and start political process towards total cost free (commercially paid, slow data rate, restricted use) internet in poor countries. In almost every poor country can be found teleoperator which is wholly or partially owned by some rich country. Effect of cost free net connection would be enormous, perhaps greater than other aid projects together, if things like GNUhealth or Ekopedia are integrated to it. But if user wants to use for example normal telephone call or send SMS message, user must pay, and cost free use is restricted to VoIP calls over internet and internet message services. Also free net must be monitored and sensurized, and if it is a closed filesystem it is easy.

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Since no one else answered yet, I like this idea. Just need to get a press release out, send it to refugee org’s and ask if they can redistribute it to get the word out.

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There are plans to launch balloons and satellites in order to offer people free internet connection, partcularly in poor countries. These need large dishes to gather information in every device, so receiving devices are not cheap. If normal internet connection today is not possible to be free because of costs per one channel, altough advertisement money that goes to internet increases exponentially each year. When data rates are drastically lowered per customer in 3G and 4G networks that means for 20 - 2 megabits/sec channel teleoperator gets advertisement money only for one customer, but if data rate is lowered to one hundreadth, to 200 - 20 kilobits/sec teleoperator now gets 100 times more advertisement money than before per 20 - 2 mbits/sec transmission. At some point totally commercially paid internet connection without subscription fee becomes profitable and not anymore bring financial losses to teleoperator. If data rates are as slow as 20 kbits/sec data compression is needed. Where people in poor countries need megabit- class net connection anyway? There are efficient data compression methods that have names like AFOR, VSE encoding (vector of splits encoding), PFOR Delta compression, k-Gamma compression, Group Variaple Byte (GVB), Morphing Match Chain (MMC), Simple 9 / Simple 16, SIMD-BP128, 2D hash table, Finite State Entropy (FSE) encoding etc. In netpage endlesscompression.com are some more exotic compression schemes. Video and and image compression methods that are better than before are invented almost every day. For very slow data rate video compression must be maximum scalability, and fractal compression like TMMI-TRUDEF is best if its scalability is in maximum. There is also image compression MyPhotoZip with 1500 to 1 compression ratio. Screen view can be compressed using ScreenPressor “screensaver”, PDF documents using pdfCompress, and text using IDBE (Intelligent Dictionary Based Encoding) and its versions. For character text there are Unicode alternatives using 8 bit a-law or mu-law logarithmic companding, 16 bit floating point values, or Simple 9 or Simple 16 mathematical compression. For standard Unicode text there is FOX compression. If instead of Unicode, 16 bit floating point etc. is used, character set expands to millions, and then dictionary based encoding like IDBE can compress zillions of characters, complete or partial words, complete sentances etc. to dictionary and present them in 16 bits to large mass of text, if receiving device has dictionary space large enough. And for search engine use: search results concerning pdf- files etc. can be limited to cached results like Google when it shows “cached” results as option to full search results, instead of full internet access with billions of netpages cost free net can be restricted to limited amount of files on the net so server and search engine usage is minimum, etc. So almost same level of information can be transmitted if instead of megabits/sec, rate is some dozens 7 hundreads kilobits/sec. Teleoperator get however now about a hundread time more advertisement money per data transmisson rate. When in poor countries there are state-owned teloperators that are owned or partially owned by governments of rich countries, and very rich countries, there exists no more reason why total cost free internet in development countries cannot be true.

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Hello!

This is an exciting thread for sure!

Instead of having lots of different discussions in this one thread, go to the top post (or the post most relevant to your idea) and then press the ‘Reply as linked topic’ button.

This means each thread will be specific to a topic so we won’t be speaking over eachother :smile:

Who has experience with this? I’m currently proposing the idea to the BitNation Team and would love to run with this once it’s accepted.

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It is relatively easy to create a marketing campaign that promises to deliver X% of some value into an aid project.

It is relatively hard to actually deliver that value in a way that counts as aid. It is so relatively hard that I propose it is absolutely hard. We’re talking 99% hard.

You have to search a long way to find an aid project that actually delivered, and often the circumstances are accidental/deceptive. Eg, mPesa. If you actually look at the aid delivered on the ground, the results are mindbogglingly bad.

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If someone can spread this idea of state owned / partially state owned teleoperators delivering no line cost- internet in developing countries (TeliaSonera, Orange in France, Telenor with its VimpelCom/Grameenphone, Chinese and Middle East countries state owned teleoperators) that would be good. “Zeronet” has perhaps closed Virtual File System etc., limited internet connection with Wikipedia, GNUhealth, Ekopedia ym, openculture.com etc., access only for public domain/ freeware material (online translator like Google translate that is used on texting videofiles etc, or voice translation for people who can`t read). When server/ search engine requirementsts are small because of limited netpages access, and data rates are drastically slower per ciustomer (about 100 times slower than normal 3G/4G, but advertisements money generated per customer remain same for teleoperator, teleoperator gets 100 times more advertisement money for same data rate as for one paying customer. Large number of state owned teleoperators operate at developing countries, and if the financial loss of free net connection can be compensated partially or fully, only political decision (the people who are living in these rich countries and “own” these state owned teleoperators) is needed to start zeronet at developing countries. For example in Afghanistan one teleoperator is owned by TeliaSonera, Monaco telecom (state owned) and Aga Khan charity fund (majority stake). If charity fund owns teleoperator that is a good starting point for zeronet. If someone can do something about this zeronet/ free internet for development countries matter, if only telling people about this possibility of zeronet, it would be good.

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