$AMPLED community tokens are a new way for our cooperative to recognize the labor of all our or workers, contributors, and community.
Conceptually, you can think of $AMPLED community tokens as an extension of our current time banking system. This new and improved system is intended to reward all forms of contribution to the Ampled network -- from developers writing code, to artists gaining supporters, to members for being active community participants.
In addition to improving our time banking system, $AMPLED tokens are a way to strengthen our artist and worker-driven community as well as be an experiment in bringing a solidarity economics lens to our digital economy. It's part of a broader experiment in the development of worker-owned platforms, networked cooperatives, community currencies and peer-to-peer mutual marketplaces.
A way to recognize labor that builds and grows the Ampled platform
Distributed based on labor and value provided to the Ampled network
Collectively controlled and managed
A shared economic and utilitarian tool for our community
An abstract representation of the trust we put into the Ampled organization
$AMPLED is NOT:
An ownership interest in the cooperative (see our bylaws on how to do that!)
A financial interest in the cooperative. (like revenue share, profit sharing, an equity stake, income share, or debt agreements)
A unit of decision making power (this is not a governance token)
Sold to the public or investors (it is earned instead)
A speculative investment or something to expect a profit from
Something with an implied price or value determined by Ampled
We used to recognize labor hours as static numbers on a spreadsheet. Now, we can instead represent community contribution and engagement as something that is spendable and tradable.
Our Ampled Time Bank is an egalitarian representation of all of the unpaid hours that have gone into building Ampled. This system was initially used because we didn't have venture capital investors backing Ampled, so we had to largely bootstrap the building of the platform with collective labor. To keep track of the work, we developed what we called our "time bank" -- a ledger of self-reported our unpaid hours of contributions.
You can see a copy of the most recent snapshot of our time bank <here>.
<INSERT TIME BANK IMAGE>
This community token project addresses several issues with our previous time banking system.
Our previous time bank data lived on a Google Sheet. There was always a risk that this data could be corrupted -- either by human error, or by a bad actor.
Our time bank was limited to recording the hours of contributions of workers. This excluded the valuable contributions of artists or the broader community.
In practical terms, we weren't sure what the hours translated to. For the most part, they were just numbers on a spreadsheet.
Old Time Bank
New $AMPLED Token
Only tracks hours of workers
Rewards contributions of all stakeholders
Numbers on a static spreadsheet
Spendable, tradable, and portable
Limited to recognition within Ampled
Uses a standard recognized across the web
Lives on a corruptible file
Live on an incorruptible, distributed, public computer
$AMPLED community tokens were created using the Ethereum ERC-20 standard.
The fact that these are built on this particular ERC-20 standard is really important -- and unlocks several opportunities.
Firstly, this means that any labor contributed towards Ampled can now be recognized with standardized "tokens" that have the ability to be traded or recognized outside of Ampled. Plus, it can all be done on a public and open record of transactions.
By representing community labor and engagement in a form that is tradable, a token can help facilitate trade, exchange, and collaboration among members. Building lateral relationships and a stronger p2p network. What can members of the community do for each other?
For instance, we could develop a directory of people that are willing to accept $AMPLED tokens in exchange for their time or services (similar to a local city currency).
Recognizing community labor and value as a token means that work done towards helping Ampled could be recognized outside of Ampled. As more applications are built for ERC-20 tokens, third party developers or platforms will likely continue to add functionality and usefulness in growing contexts and purposes.
Ampled has been built by dozens of talented, generous, and dedicated individuals working towards creating something of collective benefit. These individuals have largely been working as volunteers without a clear line of sight towards financial compensation. This token could become an effective bootstrapping tool for our cooperative -- allowing us to maintain independence from venture capitalists.
An experiment in creating a regenerative economy
Ampled started as an experiment. When we decided to be a cooperative, many people thought we were foolish and impractical. In hindsight, this ambitious leap has helped define who we are and give more meaning to a vision of a collective future that Ampled is working to accomplish and demonstrate. The experimental nature of Ampled is part of who we are and can naturally continue with this community token initiative.
Build upon the cooperative legacy
Cooperative equity is traditionally linked to participation, rather than something liquid. Layering on a community token on top of a democratically structured organization could become a very interesting precedent for how cooperatives can be collectively built by recognizing labor in new ways.
The goal of the $AMPLED community token is to develop a system that benefits both the Ampled organization as well as its members.
We also seek to:
Stimulate community pride
Expand the economic power of Ampled members
Grow the Ampled network and platform
Reward all stakeholders for providing value to Ampled
Promote and expand value exchange within the network
To do this, we want to articulate utility for these tokens, as well as clear ways to earn and redeem them.
$AMPLED community tokens can be earned through bounties to incentivize community engagement. This can be used to reward labor building the platform, marketing efforts (like street team activity), artists using the platform, or even care work for providing benefit to member artists.
There are a growing suite of tools being developed that allow tokens to serve as ways to access online content. This means we could use tokens to access member-only materials-- like docs, calendars, workspaces, etc.
As an ERC-20 standard, $AMPLED tokens can be used not only for peer-to-peer exchange, but also for Ampled-specific redemptions. For instance, Ampled could set up a commissary which allows people to bid on auctions for gear (or other goods/ services) with the native $AMPLED token. In addition, this standard could be used across the web, like for bidding on 1-1 releases on Catalog.
An Ampled community token may allow us to:
More directly recognize collective sweat equity of Ampled contributors
Reward all stakeholders (including artists and community members) for helping to build and grow the Ampled network.
Allow our co-op members and community to better capture the value they create and potentially achieve some level of liquidity for their contributions (whereas participation and benefits within co-ops tend to be illiquid)
Create a medium of exchange that is unique to the Ampled community