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Categories: Interviews

Code as Scripture & Monastic Coordination Technologies

Published on February 5th, 2019 by Legendface66
Code as Scripture & Monastic Coordination Technologies

Ben Vickers

Spent most of teenage years playing ultima online Ran a gold farm aged 15 – 16, made considerable amount of money Involved in unspecified fringe groups Does not align with Libertarianism Interested in the potential of Bitcoin to disrupt institutions Hosted Bitcoin meetups in 2010 / 2011 for radical left, academics and Artists, non-technical CTO of Serpentine Galleries What is your primary interest in blockchain technology?

Read Nick Szabo and found Ethereum more interesting than Bitcoin Was excited about new forms of organisation Has experimented with organising groups of people in cooperatives & corporations Has a tech background but more focussed on the arts Interested in history of organising in different ways, like the Bauhaus DAO notion interested Ben for practical purposes Interested in monastic codes particularly Benedictine rule as precursor to open source software development. Benedictine rule is a set of 73 rules about organising people living together Interested in the emergence of sovereign orders of different kinds, particularly as contrasted with monastic orders from the 10th – 15th century. Are there similarities to the way DAOs and religions operate?

This is a big thing missed in silicon valley and startup culture Most prior examples of challenges to state sovereignty involve religion. Code can be seen as scripture Part of what is scary about autonomous software is the notion of a god/non-human entity making decisions which affect us. Through research/experiment has found it is hard to not build an authoritarian organisational structures. Interested in testing these systems now Concerned that current state-run programs are building platforms that never forget inside institutions that never forgive. Imperative to understand these systems before it is too late. How do we proceed safely down the path of creating these systems?

Some friends surveyed the blockchain space 12 months prior – 98% vaporware This has since changed. Examples given: Colony Backfeed Aragon It is important that a plurality of types of organisations adopt tools as soon as possible Also important not top simply replicate existing structure in new medium Many blockchain music startups erroneously imitate spotify When true industry participants begin building platforms to serve their industries we will see real progress made. Sees misconceptions about what the art world needs. As in permaculture, before beginning work, it is important to observe the environment for a sufficient period of time. How did you meet Trent McConaghy of BigchainDB?

Working on a festival called Transmediale Trent and Marsha reached out to pitch the Ascribe Platform Initially skeptical Understood storing of cultural objects over time Trent & Marsha saw the potential of neutral museums to support blockchains Liked the thinking. As they were building out the infrastructure for Ascribe, pivoted to BigchainDB What do you find exciting about blockchain technology and the way it might interact with Art?

Wants to see a renaissance in the way cultural practitioners self-organise, a re-exploration of guild-like structures and development of novel structures. To escape the commercial side of the art world. To break the control of museums over the representation of time and the structure of history. Could you relate the sale of cryptographic tokens to the sale of art?

They are totally irrational markets It is often forgotten how bizarre this moment is The replicability of ethereum and valuable blockchain infrastructure is amazing. Especially in light of the fact that unknown people all over the world are contributing financially to its development. It is deeply disruptive to silicon valley. ICOs are the opposite of the hard work of silicon valley – put a vague idea out there, collect tons of money, then figure out how to deliver This is destructive not purely because of scams. It is because most people do the silicon valley thing because they want to get rich. With ICOs the money comes before the work. This disrupts the ability to produce things of value. There is an opportunity to change the ownership model of art – elites or states own art. The ICO model opens the opportunity for crowd ownership of culture.

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