From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond: The Quest for Identity and Autonomy in a Digital Society

John Clippinger & David Bollier

Language: English

Published: Jul 27, 2014


What can we learn from Bitcoin and Burning Man about re-inventing money and designing better forms of self-governance?

Why are “decentralized autonomous organizations” the next great Internet disruption?

From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond: The Quest for Autonomy and Identity in a Digital Society explores a new generation of digital technologies that are re-imagining the very foundations of identity, governance, trust and social organization.

The fifteen essays of this book stake out the foundations of a new future – a future of open Web standards and data commons, a society of decentralized autonomous organizations, a world of trustworthy digital currencies and self-organized and expressive communities like Burning Man.

Among the contributors are Alex “Sandy” Pentland of the M.I.T. Human Dynamics Laboratory, former FCC Chairman Reed E. Hundt, long-time IBM strategist Irving Wladawksy-Berger, monetary system expert Bernard Lietaer, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Hirshberg, journalist Jonathan Ledgard and H-Farm cofounder Maurizio Rossi.

From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond was edited by Dr. John H. Clippinger, cofounder and executive director of ID3, [] and David Bollier, [] an Editor at ID3 who is also an author, blogger and scholar who studies the commons. The book, published by ID3 in association with Off the Common Books, reflects ID3’s vision of the huge, untapped potential for self-organized, distributed governance on open platforms.

One chapter that inspires the book’s title traces the 28-year history of Burning Man, the week-long encampment in the Nevada desert that have hosted remarkable experimentation in new forms of self-governance by large communities. Other chapters explore such cutting-edge concepts as:

• evolvable digital contracts that could supplant conventional legal agreements;
• smartphone currencies that could help Africans meet their economic needs more effective;
• the growth of the commodity-backed Ven currency; and
• new types of “solar currencies” that borrow techniques from Bitcoin to enable more efficient, cost-effective solar generation and sharing by homeowners.

From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond also introduces the path-breaking software platform that ID3 has developed called “Open Mustard Seed,” or OMS. The just-released open source program enables the rise of new types of trusted, self-healing digital institutions on open networks, which in turn will make possible new sorts of privacy-friendly social ecosystems. (YouTube video on OMS.)

“OMS is an integrated, open source package of programs that lets people collect and share personal information in secure, and transparent and accountable ways, enabling authentic, trusted social and economic relationships to flourish,” said Dr. Clippinger.

1. Alex Pentland
Social Computing and Big Data
2. John H. Clippinger
Why Self-Sovereignty Matters
3. David Bollier & John H. Clippinger
The Next Great Internet Disruption
4. Maurizio Rossi
The New Mestieri Culture of Artisans
5. Peter Hirshberg
Burning Man
6. Irving Wladawsky-Berger
The Internet of Money
7. Bernard Lietaer
Why Complementary Currencies Are Necessary to Financial Stability
8. Stan Stalnaker
Ven and the Nature of Money
9. Reed E. Hundt, Jeffrey Schub & Joseph R. Schottenfeld
Green Coins
10. Jonathan Ledgard
Africa, Digital Identity and the Beginning of the End for Coins
11. Mihaela Ulieru
The Logic of Holonic Systems
12. Jeremy Pitt & Ada Diaconescu
The Algorithmic Governance of Common-Pool Resources
13. Thomas Hardjono, Patrick Deegan & John H. Clippinger
The ID3 Open Mustard Seed Platform
14. Patrick Deegan
The Relational Matrix:
15. Harry Halpin
The Necessity of Standards for the Open Soc