How to Host a Currency Potluck



Let's get the potlucks started! Here is a short introduction to the methods we use for Community Inclusion Currency (CIC) potlucks and how they could be applied to any community – even on social media groups such as: WhatsApp, Telegram Discord, Facebook and so on.


These are all short iterative processes that can happen in cycles as the group learns by doing.


Step 0. Bringing People Together

This is its own challenge, especailly (physically) today- so I’m assuming you have or can pull together a group of people where each person brings something to the table/social media group (a church group, whatsapp friends etc). Think of this as a potluck (a.k.a braai, coroga, faith supper, hatch party or participatory dinner party) where everyone is bringing an ingredient to amazing dishes that you are all going to cook and eat together.


Step 1a. Resource Mapping

What ingredients do people have and what does everyone want to eat?! Have each person identify what their needs are and what they can offer - including goods, services and national currency. Share this list of offers and needs and see how well the community can meet its own needs and what is missing to have that perfect potluck.


Step 1b. Community Projects

From the needs and offers discussed are there any commonalities? Could the group decide on one or more community projects? (Collective farming, elderly care, open source software development... etc)


If there is consensus on projects the community would like to do as well as sufficient offers to do those projects – as well as needs being fulfilled by those projects and offers – then you have all the ingredients you need for a great Community Inclusion Currency (Potluck!). Now, solidifying (mixing) these resources toward your goals and projects involves commitment.


Step 2a. Reach Commitment

What can everyone commit to putting into the potluck? Individually and together we express what we can commit to accepting in return for the CIC we will create: our goods and services, our time on community projects and as well National Currency.


Step 2b. Develop an Agreement

  • Creation: Based on what everyone is putting in: goods, services and national currency – how many CIC tokens should be created? How should they be connected to collateral valued in National Currency? We use a metric in Kenya that for every 1 CIC created there is 1 unit of national currency worth of commitments of goods or services as well as 0.25 national currency (collateral pool) bonded to it – this way the CIC can be spent on committed goods and services as well as cashed out to national currency – note that as well people can add national currency the pool.


  • Allotment: Based on the community projects and commitments people offer how should the CIC be distributed? We take the full amount of CIC to be created and divide it in half – where 50% is divided in proportion to people’s commitments and the other 50% goes toward community projects – with designated managers.


  • n.b. There can be many other rules, such as taxation, demurrage, fines yearly recycling of the CIC. It is good to take time here to think about all the possibilities as you design your own financial system.


  • Trade Balance: One core concept/commitment in CICs is the need for people to over time maintain a trade balance – accept as much as you spend, and spend as much as you accept.


Now that all the ingredients are there and they have been mixed together your currency potluck is ready to divide and serve. Dish it out!


Step 3a. Develop a name for your CIC

Give your creation (CIC) a name! Both a long name and a short name – this will be the token name people see on their devices when trading.


Step 3b. Mint and Distribute

These CICs are created and then distributed as per the rules decided. Note there are a lot of options on how to digitally or physically create these tokens and distribute them! See technical discussion below.


Step 4. Circulation - Let's eat!

  • The group can trade with themselves or anyone else by sending them the CIC tokens they have.

  • Anyone can do community projects and get paid by that community project manager in CIC tokens

  • Anyone can add national currency (or other market valued tokens) to the collateral pool and create more CIC.

  • Anyone holding a CIC can liquidate it and pull out the collateral behind it.

Step 5. Keep meeting and planning and starting over

No dinner party should last forever and one potluck is never enough! Ideally your CIC is humming along unlocking your collective untapped potential, but reassessment is key. How is the potluck going and how might we do better next time? Having a duration for your CIC and the community projects you create naturally gives rise to the next CIC – which can be created by a group liquidating the current CIC and creating another with the same process as above.

We wish you the best loving community currency potluck ever and are here to help!

Grassroots Economics is dedicated to developing and supporting public infrastructure so the each CIC can be independently created and owned by a community without extractive rent seeking platforms, smart contracts or blockchains. We still have a lot of work todo here and welcome you to our potluck and would love to be invited to yours! You can find a link to Kenyan training materials here: https://gitlab.com/grassrootseconomics/cic-docs/-/blob/master/README.md

Technically:

In Kenya we manually do the Mint and Distribute step on behalf of communities – but anyone with a bit of blockchain tech savy can deploy these contracts (we are working on makign this much easier). We mint a CIC/token and bond it to a collateral pool in a digital asset (such as USDC, XCHF - note a community could create it's own reserve currency basket). This process is called defining and deploying a smart contract on a blockchain. The contract is transparent and the rule for how it can be used need to be totally clear. The open source Bancor V1 Bonding Curve contracts can be augmented in many ways to suit the needs of the group. Also note that a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) can be used to do much of the above process and distribution as well as maintain the contract – in lieu of a trusted contract deployer. There are a lot of options if you get stuck on this creation and distribution process - we are happy to discuss!

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