sabato 29 marzo 2014

Attend The World’s First Bitcoin Sporting Event @ O2 London, 5th April 2014

On the 5th April, at the O2 London, we are bringing the bitcoin community and the martial arts world together, for an 8 man K-1 rules kick boxing tournament. Attend The World’s First Bitcoin Sporting Event We love Bitcoin and the power it gives ordinary people to achieve their financial independence. We are also passionate about combat sports, which is why we are proud to bring you the Bitcoin Fighting Championship. On the 5th April, at the O2 London, we are bringing the bitcoin community and the martial arts world together, for an 8 man K-1 rules kick boxing tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive £5000 in Bitcoin and become the first ever Super-middleweight Bitcoin Fighting Champion. We will also see some world class thai boxing bouts from some of the top fighters in the UK and Europe. (????? ObCap says: Oh my gosh!!)

venerdì 28 marzo 2014

Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock @ The Neoliberal University, 11April2014

Brett Scott's Interview + Applying the Hacker Ethic to the Financial System @ Moneylab (21March2014)

MoneyLab - Brett Scott - Applying the Hacker Ethic to the Financial System from network cultures on Vimeo.

MoneyLab: Coining Alternatives Session 2: Dismantling Global Finance Brett Scott (UK): Applying the Hacker Ethic to the Financial System Conference Day 1 (21 March 2014) Our perception of high finance frequently bears a resemblance to our perception of high technology. We often view it as a black box that we interact with without really knowing how it works. This in turn disempowers ordinary people relative to financial professionals, disconnects us from the investment process, and contributes to a pervasive sense of alienation from the money we use every day. In this talk Brett Scott will sketch out why hacker philosophy can be a useful framework with which to approach the financial sector, and will share examples from his experience working both within the financial sector and with financial campaign groups.

>> Brett Scott (UK)

Brett Scott is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money. He has worked with groups like Move Your Money UK, ActionAid and the World Development Movement, and is setting up the London School of Financial Activism. He has written for publications such as The Guardian, The Ecologist, Wired Magazine and Aeon, and has appeared on the BBC, Arte TV and other media outlets. He is also a fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab.

Hacking the Future of Money: An Interview with Brett Scott

  • Obsolete Capitalism: On integral democracy. With regard to the economy field can we define the hacker philosophy an attempt of "full democracy"? If we consider that today the issue of money no longer belongs to the people but to the power of central banks, that is to say the political power, does the action of the hackers in finance mean a new transfer of power to the activists and therefore to the people?

Brett Scott: Hacker philosophy is mostly just an outlook towards complex interconnected systems. It’s an outlook that takes pleasure in exploring such systems, messing around with their connections and attempting to rewire them. It tends to be an empowering outlook because it firstly seeks to break complex systems down into understandable parts, and secondly fosters a rebellious, creative attitude towards experimenting with those parts. In that sense it can have democratic implications, but I don’t claim that this alone would change the whole financial system. In terms of money, commercial banks are the major creators of money, but yes, the hacker ethic encourages people to engage in DIY experimentation with new forms of money.

  • OC: "Hacking the future of money" is the subtitle of your book. Starting from what is already happening, what will the future of money and the main topics or the main actions of hacking be?

BC: Some people think the subtitle just refers to new forms of money, but ‘the future of money’ can also refer to changes to financial instruments, and how we use normal money. I don’t claim to offer a single vision of what that future will be, but I know that people are getting more confident in experimenting with alternatives. I don’t really think in terms of end-states of being, as if the point was to create some final financial system to replace the current system - the point is to be able to adapt and change and build diversity whilst fostering social justice and ecological stability.

  • OC: Do you really believe that ”money alteration" will be possible through the hacker philosophy? And if so, what do you think “altering the currency” could mean ?

BC: As mentioned, hacker philosophy is just an outlook that lends itseld towards rebellious creativity. It’s not really a concrete methodology, so I don’t claim that one needs to adopt the mindset of a hacker to make interesting alterations to money. In terms of what alteration means, you can change the geographic  scale of money (e.g. local vs. global), the speed (e.g. fast vs. slow), the intended use (e.g. gift currencies), the way it is created (e.g. commodity money vs. credit money) and many other factors.

  • OC: The global monetary system is moving towards a greater openness and a clear decentralization, being now a closed system only focused on the hierarchical logic of the market and finance. Is this a positive signal or is it the usual "libertarian-utopian” dream that will break on reality?

BC: I do think technology has opened up possibilities for forms of decentralisation that previously didn’t exist, and that presents interesting opportunities. Just because something is open and decentralised though, doesn’t make it positive and free of politics (that’s where the libertarian-utopian dream always goes wrong), so any technological changes need to be accompanied by political analysis of who benefits and who loses, and how to deal with that process.

  • OC: Much has been talked about Bitcoin (the topic of the day). Some interventions have been very critical including that of Beat Weber, arguing that Bitcoin is the perfect currency of turbo-capitalism because it represents the global currency of a free-nation world as required by neoliberalism. What do you think of Bitcoin and has your judgment partially changed after having listened to the pros and cons of the participants in the debate @ Moneylab?

I’ve always found Bitcoin interesting for how it has opened up people’s awareness to the possibility of creating change. In terms of whether that change is positive or negative is a separate issue. I find elements of the philsophy behind Bitcoin pretty questionable, but I also don’t like to be one of those people that just closes myself down to an innovation because it also happens to attract right-wing libertarians. I retain an active interest in how one can take the Bitcoin concept, alter it and create new and more interesting versions of it.

  • OC: Moneylab, the symposium organised  by Institute of Network Cultures, has just finished: which news, themes or interventions have impressed you most in Amsterdam? Can we start hoping in a "non-monetary" world or future?

I love the intersection between art-technology-economy-philosophy, and MoneyLab was the first symposium where I’ve seen a really coherent mix of those. In terms of a non-monetary future, I’m not sure. I don’t dogmatically assume that a non-monetary world would somehow be better than a monetary one - all systems have tradeoffs built into them, so I’m just interested in continuing to explore those and to learn more about them.

martedì 25 marzo 2014

Tiziana Terranova: Virtual Money and the Currency of the Commons @ Moneylab, INC Amsterdam, 21st March 2014

Tiziana Terranova @ MONEYLAB Amsterdam 21st March 2014 from LETIZIA RUSTICHELLI on Vimeo.

Sincere thanks to Geert Lovink and his team for the amazing three days in Amsterdam @ Moneylab/INC. Official INC videos up soon. >> Tiziana Terranova (IT) Virtual Money and the Currency of the Commons Terranova addresses tensions, oppositions and possible convergences between post-autonomist analyses of the financial crisis to be found in the writings of post-autonomist authors such as Toni Negri, Christian Marazzi, Andrea Fumagalli, Maurizio Lazzarato and Carlo Vercellone (and their notion of a ‘currency of the common’) and the processes of creation of virtual currency. It reviews some of the points of tensions and the oppositions to a project such as Bitcoin (such as its extractivist model of money creation as mining and its faith in algorithms), but also some of the convergences in the drive to experiment with a constituent critique of financial capital. What kind of relation can be drawn between virtual money and the kind of currency which would support alternatives to neoliberal capital? How can social struggles and subjectivities be brought to bear on the process of money creation? If money is a social convention, now inflected by the powers of digital communication and computation, while the social is a relation, what could be the role of social network technologies in practical experimentation with virtual currency creation? >> Tiziana Terranova (IT) Tiziana Terranova is Associate Professor of Cultural Theory and New Media in the Department of Human and Social Sciences at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ where she coordinates the PhD programme in Cultural and Postcolonial Studies. She is also currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. Terranova is the author of Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age.

mercoledì 19 marzo 2014

Moneylab @ INC, Amsterdam - Saturday 22 March (Detailed Program)

Saturday, 22 March
09:30 – 10:00 – Doors open
09:30 – 18:00 – Floor -1 : Alternatives Bazaar opens for the entire day  & Film program loop (Cinema Hall)
10:00 – 11:45 – Session 5: Bitcoin and Beyond
11:45 – 12:00 – Tea break
12:00 – 13:00 – Session 6: Alternatives Bazaar on Stage
13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch break
14:00 – 15:30 – Session 7: Critique of Crowdfunding
15:30 – 16:00 – Tea break
16:00 – 17:45 – Session 8: Designing Alternatives

Saturday, 22 March

09:30 – 10:00 Doors open, coffee and tea

09:30 – 18:00  Alternatives Bazaar is open

A number of organizations involved with alternative finance/currencies will be present throughout the day, looking forward to meet visitors  for acquaintance, discussion, exchange of ideas and advice during the breaks or sessions. Each organization is presenting a different type of exhibition, from books and flyers to visual installations and experiments. Come and meet the people directly engaged with alternatives, and get involved!
The participating Alternatives Bazaar organizations are:
>>Bitcoin Automated Teller Machine is developed and built by two students from Enschede who believe in the power of this new technology. The machine is built to bring the cryptocurrency to people without the need of any technical knowledge. Getting into Bitcoin has been made easy with only three steps. Learn what these are at the Bazaar!
>>Noppes ( is is an Amsterdam-based alternative currency that is used to exchange goods and services for 20 years. It is also the name given to the group of hundreds of people who trade through this digital unit without interest. Noppes is a slang for “Nothing”. Noppes users, or “Noppers”, value personal contact, a small environmental footprint and some independence from the international banking system. Knowledge, services and goods are exchanged the way they would be in large families or in a village where neighbors help each other out, knowing that the help will be returned. Noppes is completely independent of subsidies and/or sponsors.
>>Peerby ( is a website and iPhone app that enables people to borrow the things they need from others in their neighborhood in 30 minutes. Save money, live green and meet awesome people!
>>Qoin ( is a pioneering social enterprise based in Amsterdam, providing consultancy on all aspects of setting up community currencies worldwide. Qoin supports public authorities, businesses, financial institutions and citizens to realize their goals around the social economy, entrepreneurship, environmental responsibility and healthy government finance through community currencies. Community currencies are money at service of people and the planet. They are instruments designed to fulfill specific social, environmental or economic objectives. Qoin has contributed to the development of community currencies including the Bristol Pound, Brixton Pound, Makkie, TradeQoin and WeHelpen.
>>Art Reserve Bank ( is a monetary experiment set up by artists and economists to test the viability of a new reserve currency. Since 2012 every week a new coin is designed by the current artists. This currency is minted in public with the bank’s own coin press, that is now based in the city centre of Eindhoven. Every coin is issued for one week only. The exchange rate varies and is set by the trade value of the coins already in circulation. At the MoneyLab Bazaar you are able to buy the latest design.
>>Share NL (
COMMUNITY : informs and inspires individuals
COMPANIES : connects and represents entrepreneurs who are engaged in the sharing economy
CONSULT : consults corporate organizations and governmental institutions
CO.LAB : facilitates through knowledge, research and publications
CONFERENCE : brings together entrepreneurs, corporate & governmental institutions
CONCEPTS : co-creates innovative concepts
‘One of the 10 ideas that will change the world’ – TIME
>>The Next Nature Network ( explores how our technological environment has become so omnipresent, complex, intimate and autonomous that it has become a nature of its own. At Moneylab they present their proposal for an ECO currency, a monetary value that makes environmental value explicit.
>>Timebank CC (  is a tool, accessible to everyone, to help, work and cooperate with each other. Users can exchange skills and services using time rather than conventional money. One Timebank Hour equals exactly one hour of work. The services for which Timebank mediates range from piano tuning to programming web applications, from bicycle repair to business consultancy. is an independent association founded in 2013. It is an open platform that facilitates and encourages user-initiated projects on parallel economies. With users mainly in The Hague, Amsterdam and Lisbon, the community has grown into an active network of over 1200 users.
>>Transition Towns Netherlands (  is the Dutch branch of the global Transition Network. This international organization has thousands of local grassroots initiatives (in 45 countries on all continents) working on the transition from oil dependency to local resilience. Today, TT Netherland offers its services to about 85 local initiatives. Transition initiatives are creating numerous educational and practical projects in a wide range of areas, such as the relocalisation of the economy, food production, sustainable energy, health, well-being, education, water, housing and transport. At the Alternatives Bazaar, TT Nederland will present the REconomy Project, which is aimed at a thorough relocalisation of the economy. 
>>geheimagentur / Theatre of Research (
For geheimagentur and Theatre of Research there was one thing about the financial crisis that seemed more important than everything else: to learn that banks in fact create their own money. Alongside the respective criticism on the topic, we were also jealous that banks could do this. Therefore, we turned our ambitions to making the same thing ourselves. Yet how could we learn to create our own money? We got advice from the most successful community bankers in the world: our friends from Banco Palmas Brasil and those from the NEF (New Economic Foundation) in London. We started our own banks: the SCHWARZBANK (in the bankrupt city of Oberhausen) and the KINDERBANK (in Hamburg, where one of five children has to deal with poverty). Now, three years later, we want to share our experiences and to search for an alternative digital currency, that might work for the trans-European network of real democracy activists.
Film program loop (floor -1, Cinema Hall)
TRANSFORMONEY 2.0 – A film by Daniel Nogueira and Dadara
MON3Y as an 3RRROR | MON3Y.US – Curated & happened by Vasily Zaitsev (
BITCOIN CLOUD – Film by Artistic Technology Research // Tarasiewicz/Gurresch/Repp // (
SLIDES FROM THE MONEY AND ART LIVING ARCHIVE – Curated by Max Haiven, Assistant Professor, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (

10:00 – 11:45  Session 5 : Bitcoin and Beyond

Session description:
The internet currency Bitcoin would benefit from a differently-angled inquiry – a debate that moves away from the overrated media narratives and dedicated forums. This session first accommodates a historical perspective on encrypted and anonymous payments that first started with e-cash and Digicash in 1990s, in order to position Bitcoin within a broader context and development. This is followed by discussions on Bitcoin’s pragmatic, but less controversial functions and implications. Bitcoin stands as a real attempt to radically redesign global finance. Like the current order, Bitcoin privileges specific forms of exchange and monetary models (such as the gold standard). Bitcoin is currency as Weltanschauung. And like all systems, it is producing its own animal spirits. Will it be possible for Bitcoin to scale up beyond the geek economy? What are the technical and economic criticisms of Bitcoin, and how can they be fed back into the currency or be used to create others? Is Bitcoin the ‘make or break it’ for alternative crypto-currencies, or is it possible to imagine a future currency market?
Moderators: Nathaniel Tkacz and Lana Swartz
>> Eduard de Jong (NL)
Cash or Currency: an overview of electronic payment technology
Bitcoin has recently been stirring up lots of attention for electronic payments. Electronic payment already has quite a history: in Europe, the first forms of electronic payment emerged with phone cards around 30 years ago. e-Cash, an electronic cash technology invented by David Chaum, was implemented in 1991. In subsequent years many electronic payment initiatives arose in many parts of the world, with names like Mondex and DanMønt (DanCoin), Geldkarte, ChipKnip and n-Count. The emergence of NFC as short-range contactless communication, and smartphones as advanced user interface devices, has given a new impulse to electronic payment after the lacklustre take-up of earlier initiatives. This talk looks at the history of electronic payment and identifies common properties. It defines the key aspects to be realized securely in any system of electronic payment. The talk concludes by with an analysis of Bitcoin in the light of these insights.
>> Aaron Koenig (DE)
Why Bitcoin is Better Than Central Bank Money
The current monetary system is evil. When central banks can manipulate the money supply, the devaluation of money is inevitable. Only those close to the artificial source of money being created ‘out of thin air’ benefit from this, while everyone else’s money loses value. Government monopolies on money are a relatively new phenomenon. For thousands of years, naturally scarce metals such as gold and silver were the basis for currencies – banknotes were simply receipts for precious metals. Fiat money, which is only backed by governmental force, has allowed skyrocketing government debt and fuelled countless economic bubbles. It is only a matter of time before this system, in which debts are paid by new debts and a few people make huge profits at the expense of many others, collapses like a house of cards. Bitcoin has many of the qualities of gold; it is decentralized, stateless, free market money. Moreover, Bitcoin is a global payment system that allows direct transactions from human to human, with no need for banks or government regulations. Can decentralised money replace today’s failed financial system?
>> Beat Weber (AT)
Overcoming the legitimacy crisis of money with Bitcoin?
Fuelled by the legitimacy crisis of the current monetary and financial system in the wake of the recent economic crisis, Bitcoin has gained much attention in recent years. While speculative trading and Bitcoin’s suspected use in non-legal activities have been at the centre of popular discussion, the project’s ambitions are larger. It claims to offer an alternative monetary and payment system. What can we infer from economic theory for these claims?
>> Quinn DuPont (CA)
From order to control: how cryptography functions in Bitcoin
Quinn DuPont explores the cryptographic aspects of Bitcoin. He suggests that cryptography can be re-imagined and re-conceptualized, putting forth an alternative to the dominant view that cryptography is secrecy. He argues that we can fruitfully view cryptography as a discrete notational scheme. As a notational scheme, cryptography has the potential to reorder representations of the world in subtle but powerful ways. By looking at the use of Bitcoin cryptography in the light of this re-conceptualization, DuPont suggests that Bitcoin functions as a new weapon in our control society.
11:45 – 12:00 Tea break

12:00 – 13:00 Session 6: Alternatives Bazaar on Stage

Practice is complementary to theory, and we cannot debate alternative finance models without being aware of actual practices and developments. The Alternatives Bazaar hosts a number of prominent organizations directly involved in creating, implementing and building communities around their ideas. In this session, the organizations exhibiting at MoneyLab Alternatives Bazaar will pitch their projects on stage to the audience.
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 15:30 Session 7: Critique of Crowdfunding

Session Description:
Seeking to bypass government patronage, venture capitalists and other intermediaries, crowdfunding has become a boutique industry – there are at least 120 platforms in the Netherlands alone. Serving for-profit and non-profit organizations of different constituencies and goals, many claim to raise millions per year. Practice advances quickly, and literature on the topic abounds in self-marketing tips. However, failure is more frequent than success: more than half of all Kickstarter projects fail. Crowdfunding has an inner dynamic that remains unknown. What, then, are the critical issues we should address? This session will look into how crowdfunding is signalling an entire cultural shift, especially in art production and artists’ relationships with their audiences. It will also tackle some lesser-known shortcomings of crowdfunding – from time and effort investment, the artist’s unwillingly assumed role of marketeer, and the debatable existence of an ‘actual crowd’.
Moderator: Brett Scott
>> Inge Ejbye Sørensen (DK)
Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in the UK – Peer to Peer or Mine to Mine?
Sørensen compares traditional and new ways of co-funding and co-creating documentary film and theatrical features in the UK, and asks what it is that digital financing forms, like crowdfunding, pay-if-you-want schemes and online distribution sites mean for documentary and feature films and their industries today. As crowdfunding and crowdsourcing enter the mainstream, Sørensen explores the possibilities and problems that these new financing, cultural and creative practices present for producers, traditional funding models, and national funders and policies. Are new digital production and financing forms democratizing film production in the UK, or rather paving the way for new cultural elites, gatekeepers and hierarchies? Do these new creative and funding models enrich the creative industries, or are they a symptom of the beginning of an erosion of arts funding in the UK? Following the money as well as the cultural capital in a wider socio-economic context, Sørensen will ask who really benefits from crowdfunded and crowdsourced projects.
>> Jamie King (UK)
Rethinking the film industry: crowdfunding and online distribution channels
King’s film series Steal this film and Steal this film II tackle the controversies around copyright in the creative industry sector. King has successfully crowdfunded his productions (also allowing donations with Bitcoins), which have been viewed more than 5 million times via P2P file-sharing torrents. He also launched VODO, a successful, pay-as-you-want online distribution channel. He will discuss his experience as an artist using crowdfunding and online distribution as new instruments of both production and revenue.
>> Marijke Hoogeboom (NL)
Changing notions of crowds and funding in the performing arts in the Netherlands and beyond
Unfortunately, Marijke Hoogenboom will not be presenting at MoneyLab.
>> Irina Enache (RO) and Robert van Boeschoten (NL)
Visualizing crowdfunding and beyond
This presentation will introduce MoneyLab’s interactive Crowdfunding Visual Toolkit. Its database gathers Dutch and international crowdfunding platforms serving creative projects. It allows potential crowdfunders to select relevant criteria, such as their project category (visual arts, performing arts, music, tech, etc), the model they want to use (donation, investment), and the budget size. Then they can filter and sort according to certain statistics made publicly available (average number of funders / success ratio on the platform / average donation, etc) and thus visualize the platforms that answer the project’s needs. The visual toolkit is accompanied by insights from a number of interviews with artists and creative workers who have crowdfunded and now share their challenges. These experiences are often undocumented, although they have the potential to reveal much about crowdfunding mechanisms and implications. The scope of the MoneyLab Crowdfunding Toolkit goes beyond visualization and insights. It is a proposal for a long-term, close collaboration between academics, designers, artists and entrepreneurs, as well as crowdfunding platforms founders and policy-makers to further inquire into the sustainability of crowdfunding as a revenue model. 
15:30 – 16:00 Tea break

16:00 – 17:45 Session 8: Designing Alternatives

Session description:
Alternatives to the current monetary systems have been around for a long time. We are discussing not just currencies themselves, but also alternative ways of trading, understanding value, and communicating. This session looks into developments as old as the 1930s, moves up to the 1990s and its first e-cash payments, delves into today’s social, technical and art practices in relation to money, and inquires into what we are missing in today’s landscape. Who designs alternatives, and for which constituencies? Can we see a collective imagination arising here?
Moderator: Rob van Hilten
>> Matthew Slater (UK)What about credit? Bitcoin is only half of the revolution
Trusted or powerful central authorities have been issuing tokens for the people to exchange for as long as states and empires have existed. But too easily we forget the other half of money, which has been equally present throughout history: credit money. Credit money is made of promises, so instead of persisting through history as gold does, it is created and redeemed as needed. All the cryptocurrencies, bar one, are issuing a fixed quantity of tokens and becoming vehicles for speculators and usurers and assets for hoarders. Credit currencies, by contrast, have no value in themselves and are as good as the reputation of the issuer. Disintermediating central banks is important, yes, but if we want actual economic justice we must allow everyone to issue credit in their own name.
>> Max Haiven (CA)
Money as Artistic Medium: Mediating Capital, Three Strategies
Over the past two years I have been seeking to build an online collection of instances of art that mobilizes money as an artistic medium ( – from the integration of material money (coins, bills, credit cards) into various aesthetic processes (sculpture, painting, performance, etc.), to a preoccupation with more ephemeral thematics, including debt, global economics, and the dynamics of the art market itself. This presentation explores three (and a half) strategies that artists use to engage with money: crass opportunism; a stark revelation of money’s power; and a coy playing with art’s subjugation to money. It close with a more profound attempt to reveal the shared labour at the heart of both money and art’s aesthetic-political power. Money’s perennial appeal to artists, I argue, stems from the irony of its tantalizing capacity to ‘almost’ represent capitalist totality. At their core, both money and art are animated by a certain creative labour, the suspension of disbelief, and a politics of representation. As such, art becomes an important vantage point for studying, understanding, and seeing beyond the rule of money over social life. In spite of everything, there is something utopian about the power of the imagination that is, today, bound up in our use of money.
>> Eli Gothill (UK)
#Punk Money
#PunkMoney is an experimental money system which allows users to ‘print money’ as Tweets, using a simple set of conventions. Nobody owns or operates #PunkMoney; it exists by consensus between its users. This talk will explain in detail how #PunkMoney works, what the motivations behind it are, and what has been learned since it began.
>> Lana Swartz (US)
The Past, Present, and Future of Payment: From Diners’ Club to Bitcoin and Beyond
The everyday act of payment – transferring value from one person to another – is undergoing dramatic change. Increasingly, payment systems are situated within an array of social media – not financial – services. A variety of new actors are getting into the payment business. Many are hoping to harness the promise of transactional ‘big data’ and put it into conversation with other ‘social’ datasets. Others see in these datasets an opportunity to create new forms of value: niche ‘currencies’ based on reputation, relations and behaviour. Many are seeking to develop interoperability between these new forms, older systems like airline miles (which have been called ‘the world’s largest alternative currency’) and, indeed, good old-fashioned state-issued money. These technological and economic changes force a reconsideration not just of payment, but of money and value themselves. In order to imagine the future of payment we should also consider its history – metal department store Charga-Plates of the 1930s, the Diners’ Club, and the first charge card popularized in the 1950s-60s. Many new payment ‘rails’ are forging new channels of communication and value in the tracks of or alongside old ones.

Moneylab @ INC, Amsterdam - Friday 21 March (Detailed Program)

Read more @ INC

09:00 – 09:30 – Doors open
09:30 – 11:00 – Session 1: Monetization of Everything
09:30 – 10:30 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
11:00 – 11:15 – Tea break
11:15 – 13:00 – Session 2: Dismantling Global Finance
11:15 – 12:15 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
13:00 – 14:00 – Lunch break
14:00 – 15:40 – Session 3: Critical Art Practices
14:00 – 15:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
15:40 – 16:00 – Tea break
16:00 – 17:30 – Session 4: Mobile Money
16:00 – 17:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)

Friday 21 March

09:00 – 09:30 Doors open, coffee and tea

09:30 – 11:00 Session 1: Monetization of Everything

Session description:
Emerging digital technologies have enabled an explosion of alternative financial models. However, they cannot and should not be discussed as ‘internet solutions’ without positioning them in a larger context. They may have sprouted as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, but do internet currencies and their models offer a sensitive response to this by simply monetizing all aspects of life? What other functions can we imagine for them? Can alternative revenue models also make bold claims to resolve current contradictions in capitalism? In addition to new money flows it is necessary to design new economic models for the redistribution of existing wealth. These can be used as vehicles for discussing growing inequality worldwide; however, while some directly target these issues, long-term development is still missing. How can they be made viable at a larger scale, acting more like public money and tax money rather than staying outside the regulatory framework? Is an equivalent of money even needed, and what would a non-monetary economy look like?
Moderator: Geert Lovink
>> Saskia Sassen (US)
Sassen’s research intertwines topics such as globalization (including its social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities, finance and terrorism), and the new networked technologies. Her previous works have challenged the hard-armoured, established truths and dynamics of mainstream finance. In The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press, 1988), Sassen showed how foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants. How, then, can the financial inequality of less developed countries be addressed differently in the light of new financial models like mobile money? Similarly, in The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991; 2nd ed. 2002), Sassen showed how the global economy is far from being placeless. It has, and needs, very specific territorial insertions. The paradox with the world’s most powerful financial cities is that while their centres benefit from a highly digitized financial activity (from banking to investments and consumers markets), this financialization has physical footprints: with rocketing house prices and loan interests, the city pushes those who can no longer compete to the periphery. The need to re-empower people is vital when discussing what functions alternative financial models and currencies should fulfil.
>> Stefan and Ralph Heidenreich (DE)
At its base, economy deals with the allocation and distribution of work and goods. We are used to taking money as a given, a sheer necessity, but the tasks of allocating and distributing work and goods can also be redefined in network terms in a graph-theoretical approach. In that case money would not be the only means of solving these tasks; data and algorithms could perform the same service. A non-monetary approach to economy poses some general questions, both in theory and in practice. Do we need a general equivalent of money, or can it be avoided altogether? What existing economic models might be applied? Who can be considered an economic agent – a person, a group, an object? What elements of a non-monetary economy are already in place? What kind of time frame is set and which data are needed? How do we organize infrastructure without money? What about innovation or progress? And what would a technical implementation look like?
>> Bill Maurer (US):
Closed Loops and Private Gateways: Money, Technology and the Public Interest in Payment
From ancient tallies to coins, cards, and now mobile devices, money has always been a matter of technology interfacing with law, with rights and corresponding remedies embedded in institutional arrangements, and with the material form of money and/or its accounts-keeping. A ‘Cambrian explosion in payments’ is currently taking place – a profusion of business experiments with new technologies for the systems that people use every day in physical and online spaces to buy things. It is raising anew questions about the role of the state and public institutions in warranting the clearance, settlement, and safety of retail payments, as well as, more profoundly, the role of the state in warranting money itself. That this Cambrian explosion comes on the heels of the global financial crisis is no coincidence: the financial crisis put the wind back in the sails of alternative currency proponents, ‘sound money’ advocates and gold bugs, as well as others interested in challenging the state’s monopoly over money. How can we understand the public function of payment as a kind of utility in our digital and data-saturated world, especially as ‘big data’ leads many corporate actors to seek to commodify behaviour and activity in a new way, simultaneously creating and enclosing new commons?
09:30 – 10:30 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
“By igniting leadership, you can ignite crowds” – Karim Maarek, founder of teach2fish, is a creative trainer and advisor with a big heart for others’ passions and enterprises. He has developed numerous crowdfunding, community building and personal leadership programs and is especially interested in accelerating sustainable and creative ventures, via the crowd. He defines crowdfunding nowadays increasingly as crowd campaigning and crowd caring because money is just one part of the equation. Moving crowds has three main components: excellent preparation, a damn good story and passionately seeking connection. The intensive course “Crowdfund your Dream!” is the flagship product of teach2fish.
Joining this workshop is for free, with the condition that you have purchased a ticket for the conference. You can register for the workshop by sending an e-mail to with your name and the preferred workshop and time. Seats are limited so be sure to book early!
11:00 – 11:15 Tea break

11:15 – 13:00 Session 2: Dismantling Global Finance

Session description:
From Occupy Wall Street and anti-student debt protests in the US to global protests against neo-liberal budget cuts, we are seeing rising protest against the radical redistribution of wealth into the hands of the 1%. Given the waves of market crashes to come, how can resistance be better organized? What are the vital concepts and tactics that we believe can create a new dimension in global protest? Is electronic disturbance a necessary and desirable strategy? What about boycotts? This session calls, first, for a better comprehension of the current financial system and its crisis, followed by experiments with alternatives. How can people grasp finance, given its constant portrayal as a complex, highly digitized giant that is always run by ‘others’ (states, banks, and corporations)? How can they be encouraged to take up active roles and experiment with alternative models?
Moderator: Nathaniel Tkacz
>> Franco Berardi (IT)
Money language insolvency
Money and language have something in common: they are nothing and they move everything. What can the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics with which we analyze language tell us about the concept of money? What is the referent, the signifier and the injunction in this case? Could we identify them in ‘money as equivalent’, ‘money as abstraction’ and ‘money as blackmail’? How have the changes in money’s substance (from coins to paper to electronic transfers) affected its very meaning and its relation to value? Can we expand the discussion of debt by adopting similar linguistic analyses: financial debt, moral debt and semiotic debt? Is it possible to use money as a tool for social composition? Franco Berardi will address the insolvency of money language and the position of alternative currencies within this context.
>> Brett Scott (UK)
Applying the hacker ethic to the financial system
Our perception of high finance frequently bears a resemblance to our perception of high technology. We often view it as a black box that we interact with without really knowing how it works. This in turn disempowers ordinary people relative to financial professionals, disconnects us from the investment process, and contributes to a pervasive sense of alienation from the money we use every day. In this talk Brett Scott will sketch out why hacker philosophy can be a useful framework with which to approach the financial sector, and will share examples from his experience working both within the financial sector and with financial campaign groups.
>> Tiziana Terranova (IT)
Virtual Money and the Currency of the Commons
Terranova addresses tensions, oppositions and possible convergences between post-autonomist analyses of the financial crisis to be found in the writings of post-autonomist authors such as Toni Negri, Christian Marazzi, Andrea Fumagalli, Maurizio Lazzarato and Carlo Vercellone (and their notion of a ‘currency of the common’) and the processes of creation of virtual currency. It reviews some of the points of tensions and the oppositions to a project such as Bitcoin (such as its extractivist model of money creation as mining and its faith in algorithms), but also some of the convergences in the drive to experiment with a constituent critique of financial capital. What kind of relation can be drawn between virtual money and the kind of currency which would support alternatives to neoliberal capital? How can social struggles and subjectivities be brought to bear on the process of money creation? If money is a social convention, now inflected by the powers of digital communication and computation, while the social is a relation, what could be the role of social network technologies in practical experimentation with virtual currency creation?
>> Brian Holmes (US)
Money Unlimited: The Consequences of Quantitative Easing
Austerity is usually presented as the implacable discipline that must follow easy credit in order to clip the wings of profligate speculators. Yet it has only affected those without major resources, who formerly depended on the job market, public institutions, and state redistribution. Meanwhile the US, Japan, the UK and a number of other countries have re-inflated their stock markets and property values by emitting new currency on a hitherto unseen scale. This creation of value ex nihilo could potentially have been used to meet urgent human and ecological needs, launching a twenty-first century socialism. Let’s look instead at the real consequences of a world built on fictitious capital.
11:15 – 12:15 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break

14:00 – 15:40 Session 3: Critical Art Practices

Session description:
An artist’s relationship with money has always been one of crisis. Perhaps this is one reason why money itself makes a particularly suitable subject for highly critical and unique artistic practices. In this session three artists will illustrate different histories and understandings of money and finance in relation to the art world and society. These include an experimental art reserve bank, an exhibition of interactive public sculptures, and finally a humorous stand-up economy performance.
Moderator: Patricia de Vries
>> Ron Peperkamp (NL)
Peperkamp will talk about the Art Reserve Bank – a monetary experiment set up by artists and economists to test the viability of a new reserve currency. The value of this currency is based, not on the promise of endless economic growth, but on the value of art. With an industrial mint and a big concrete safe, the theatrical set-up of the Art Reserve Bank has unmistakable artistic appeal. However, it is not a regular art-project, taking place in the sheltered setting of an art gallery or museum. It’s a real-life experiment involving a real bank that takes real risks with real money. The Art Reserve Bank is doing fundamental research into the premises of a stable monetary system – like public trust in the value of money. Until the early 1970s this trust was inferred by the gold standard, but this can be considered the relic of a Bronze Age value system. This experiment is testing the possibility to introduce a modern equivalent of the gold standard – one more in tune with contemporary values.
>> Dette Glashouwer (NL)
MoneyMoneyMoney (theatre performance)
In her own personal way, like a merchant of the Dutch East Indies Company, Glashouwer takes you through the history of money and alternative money (the Brixton Pound), the first shares, the first multinational and the first bonus, the FED, and what the dead presidents are doing on the dollar bills. She shares her fascination with debt and offers solutions. She confesses her money therapy secrets, wonders how she will ever obtain the happiest income, and whether that would even be a good idea. A personal search for this common subject is easy to imagine, but for many money is a mystery. Everybody wants more, but is there such a place as the ‘Point of Enough’, and how would it feel? Glashouwer has played MoneyMoneyMoney and other (money) performances all over the world, from New York to San Francisco, Berlin to Riga, Nairobi to Durban.
Quotes from visitors and reviews:
“Can I kiss your hand? Your story was so totally to the point this evening”
“Never knew money could be so sexy”
“Money did not interest me, but now it does”
“My brother is a banker, he really has to see it”
>> Dadara (NL)
Amsterdam-based artist Dadara is internationally known for public sculptures that intertwine performance and multimedia to critically challenge our relations to different utopias. In this session he will present his experiences of two particular projects.
Exchanghibition Bank: In today’s financial crisis art is frequently cited as an advantageous alternative asset class. But do the millions of dollars that might buy you a Hirst, a Koons, or a Picasso have anything to say about social and artistic value? The potential for change? Whatever your opinion, the Exchanghibition Bank is committed to serving Art: The Art of turning Art into Money.
Transformoney Tree (exhibited at the Burning Man Festival, Nevada): Our current form of currency is increasingly turning from a neutral medium of exchange into a system, solely based on our trust, that mortgages the present moment for an ever-receding future payoff. Participants at Burning Man Festival were able glue banknotes to the Transformoney Tree. In this process money lost its financial value, but became added value for the artwork. Money has become almost a part of our Nature, so it’s hard to realize that for a large part of their history humans lived without Money, and this might be the case again in the future. But long after Money is gone Nature will still be there, and we might still be able to pick things of real value from trees.
14:00 – 15:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for beginners (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish
15:40 – 16:00 Tea break

16:00 – 17: 30 Session 4: Mobile Money

Session description:
Whereas in the West US-American credit card companies remain in control when it comes to Internet payments, elsewhere in the world things look different. When traditional banks were not interested in servicing citizens of the so-called ‘developing worlds’, telecoms took over the job. They expanded their initial monetary system of purchasing airtime and SMS credit to include a wide range of services, from P2P payments to water and electricity bills, school fees and transportation. Today, mobile money is front and centre in development discourses. While it is often positioned as a solution for the unbanked, this session tackles some lesser-known but problematic issues: what are the implications of mobile money being simultaneously a private tool for people as well as a marketing and surveillance tool for providers? What do we know about the underlying infrastructure between ‘peers’? What challenges is mobile money currently facing?
Moderator: Bill Maurer
>> Stephen Musoke (UG)
Mobile Money – What is Needed for The Next Stage of Growth?
Mobile money has grown by leaps and bounds as a means of peer-to-peer money transfer in Uganda and Kenya – this is the case for the world famous M-pesa. Mobile money’s growth has been fuelled by the availability of feature mobile phones, poor transport infrastructure, low financial institution penetration, and a large agent network for cash-in and cash-out. However, mobile money is facing multiple challenges as it aims to grow beyond its initial successes, as financial institutions have realized its threat to their traditional business models and are now responding by partnering with telecoms, providing competing products, and improving existing services. In addition to the inherent simplicity of the technology, the use of USSD menu-driven sessions that quickly expire, the lack of cross-border transfers due to regulations, and the complexity of USSD menus for less literate populations are challenges to growth. 80% of commerce is centred around agriculture, so the further development of mobile money from the initial peer-to-peer money transfer application will require changes to support transactions for merchants, deferred transfers, simpler transaction steps for the less literate, a simpler transaction fee structure, and integration with 3rd party systems outside the telcos.
>> Erin Taylor (AU)
Mobile money and the ‘social good’ of financial globalization
After decades of mixed results from microfinance initiatives, mobile money has the potential to provide a portfolio of financial tools to the world’s poorest people by building on existing infrastructure, reducing transaction costs of service delivery, and providing more reliable ways of identifying financial customers. Yet mobile money is not just ‘microfinance’: it is a private good that incorporates individuals into a global financial system – often for the first time. Drawing upon a case study of Haiti as well as global data, Taylor teases apart the private and public properties of mobile money to address the historical and economic implications of incorporating everyone around the globe into one global financial system. She contrasts mobile money on the demand side (as a tool that frees people to build their own networks and economic security) with mobile money on the supply side (as a device for surveillance, marketing, and public goods provision). Taylor uses the term ‘social goods’ to describe how, as development and market ideology collide, private goods and public goods are taking on each other’s properties. Finally, Taylor argues that socio-economic development and global finance, when objectified in mobile money, lose their distinction.
>> Taylor Nelms (US)
Mobile Money and the Social and Technological Infrastructures of Transaction: Lessons from the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion
The rapid expansion of branchless banking and mobile money initiatives around the world, often in the service of an explicit ‘financial inclusion’ development agenda, has provoked questions about the intersection of novel technologies and financial systems with existing monetary practice. The Institute of Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine has supported five cohorts of researchers, mostly from the global South, who have carried out investigations on the interface of technology, policy, and practice. This talk will focus on a finding in their research that complicates the taken-for-granted peer-to-peer (P2P) model of much mobile money discourse: the plurality of the P at either end of the mobile money transaction. The lesson that not all ‘peers’ are individuals — or rather, that such actors are always situated in a particular social context — gives rise to questions about the technical and social intermediaries that connect them, the ‘2’ that stands for the infrastructure through which value is transacted. In turning our attention to the transactional architectures foregrounded by mobile money initiatives, we must ask about the technical specificities of those systems, but also about the specific ways people use such systems in everyday social settings. How is our understanding of money transformed by a focus on the infrastructures of transaction?
16:00 – 17:00 – Crowdfunding workshop for advanced (parallel event in Cinema Hall)
Organizer: teach2fish