It's understandable that many of us in the Ampled community have an aversion to anything crypto-related. It has a bad reputation - and for good reason. The space can seem dominated by right-wing techno-libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, and insider bro culture. Plus, all we hear in the news is about meme coins, trading speculative assets, and scams. These criticisms are fair! In my personal opinion, the popular culture of crypto at-large is over-financialized, and antithetical to the spirit of a musicians co-op.
However, that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the technology.
Blockchain-based technology, like the internet, isn’t inherently capitalist. However, it may appear that way because they have both been dominated by capitalist institutions, with little clear alternatives or opposition. This presents an opportunity for us.
One thing is for sure. Crypto is not going away. Today, we can work to understand this tech, and be early to help shape it, or be subjected to it and have to deal with it later.
I believe that earnest explorations of this technology (firmly within a solidarity economics framework) can help us create entirely new relationships towards both our cultural production and to each other. And by learning together, we can begin to fight back.
The web is going through a major shift right now. This is often categorized as a transition from “Web 2.0” to “Web 3.0”. We want to be ready and help shape it. Many of the themes are already familiar to Ampled.
Centralized, top down
Decentralized, bottom up
Data on corporate servers
Data on public computer
Value extracted from community
Value captured by community
Platforms own and distribute media
Artists own and distribute media
Look closely at some crypto-enabled projects, and you’ll see a lot to be encouraged by. Decentralized apps are being collectively governed (much like co-ops). There are inventive experiments in <universal basic income> and funding public goods. Groups like Songcamp are completely redefining the modern day conception of a record label to shift power to the artists. And Web 3.0 tech allows for new ways for artists to get paid: automated payment splits, streaming micropayments, and ownership of platforms.
There are a few interesting ways in which Ampled could leverage Web 3.0 technology too. The experimental crowdfund in this post is an example. Also, I’ve written about the potential opportunity for how “community tokens” can benefit cooperatives. Memberships within Ampled could even extend beyond our platform -- to create unique experiences and access across the web and beyond into real world spaces.