From coordination failure to a regenerative future
We speak to Kevin Owocki the founder of Gitcoin, thought-leader and author of GreenPilled, about his recently published book on regenerative crypto-economic systems, and the potential to overcome coordination failures.
Coordination failure occurs when a group of humans could achieve a desirable outcome by working together but fail to do so because they don’t coordinate their decision-making. – Greenpilled
Kevin Owocki has walked a 15-year journey in software development, worked in corporate America, and has forged a 10-year path in engineering leadership experience working in startups. He used open-source software, databases and web servers as open-source programming languages throughout that journey. Kevin already understood then that the open-sourced software provided a considerable amount of value to the world but didn’t have a good business model within that framework. When crypto entered his world, he felt that this new mechanism had an opportunity to change everything.
In 2017, Kevin founded Gitcoin. Gitcoin supports and seeds public goods through creating collaborative, decentralised funding mechanisms. GitcoinDAO enables building for the public by the public. They help both individuals and communities to start, fund and scale open source projects.
Today, this new open-source financial system has $2 Trillion to its name, and an open-source community is harnessing it. The vision for Gitcoin was to find open source developers, and it’s still centered around that core mission.
We build for human thriving. – GitcoinDAO Mission Statement
Open source is just one public good, Vitalik Buterin – founder of Ethereum – told Kevin once. Climate, journalism, online privacy and the ability to earn it all carry the stamp of being public goods. This inspired Kevin to be drawn down the ReFi rabbit hole. Today, he is a pillar in the space and recently released a groundbreaking book – illustrating his vision and experience in an easy-to-digest yet richly written piece of work.
Kevin has been brain dumping his thoughts and ideas into blog posts for the past three years, and within two months, he poured it all into his book — “Greenpilled: How Crypto Can Regenerate the World.” And it hasn’t stopped there – there’s an entire Greenpill party happening, including a GreenPill podcast.
Even the book is open source. Kevin has encouraged his readers to “fork” it and to share it. His passionate energy around working in such an open way is contagious, saying that he's already received several translated versions from people across the globe. It’s permissionless — it’s open source. It’s a new way of thinking and a new way of sharing resources.
When capital and impacts meet
The traditional financial system has been around for 70 years — it’s mature and well understood. Blockchain is a new global open-source financial system, and it’s unknown how exactly it’s going to grow and what it might become. Kevin firmly believes in an idea from Gregory Landua, co-founder of Regen Network – “The Eight Forms of Capital.” There are many forms of capital. Instead of optimising for one form of it (for example, financial means), imagine if we focused on material capital (natural resources, social and intellectual capital).
A regenerative crypto-economic system is renewing these forms of capital instead of exhausting them. If you hold something that is regenerative and not extracting – meaning that they are creating more resources and are resilient against shock – that is a pluralistic financial infrastructure for the planet. You've found arbitrage between financial, intellectual, social and material capital, Kevin says.
As long as the system is regenerating each of those resources, I think that’s good. But I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s where we’re going as an ecosystem. It’s the highest form of where I think we could go.
A world where there is impact and that impact is evenly distributed across many forms of capital is a world that holds hope.
Industrial age institutions are decaying
Kevin illustrates that we are swinging from one monkey bar to another, and he will attempt to help others around him understand how they will grasp the bar in front of them. But not alone — collectively, in coordination with one another.
We’re in an uncanny valley where we’ve let go of the old monkey bar, and we’re grasping for the next (new) one. And I don’t think people see that we can create news institutions on the internet using smart contracts and immutable trust networks.
He wants to help people grasp the future and have complete trust that they won’t remain in freefall in mid-swing. In this growing market, there are still a lot of players who can’t truly get the concept of Web3. He’s had a lot of ideas and concepts living inside his head, and for the past few years, he’s developed a narrative through his blog posts and now his published book to share those nuggets of wisdom with the world. He plans to write more books, following the journey of regenerative crypto-economics, planning on naming the 2nd Edition, “How Crypto is regenerating the world,” and finally, the last book will be called, “How crypto has regenerated the world.”
Human coordination as part of the ReFi Solution
It can be challenging navigating the choppy and unpredictable waters of ReFi, as well as DeFi. There are circulation questions that evoke thought leaders to unpack these topics. Where will we end up in 5 years? Do we find ourselves in a bubble currently? Is this potentially a fundamental change to how humans coordinate? For Kevin, he’s personally still attempting to untangle these questions, and he’s equally aware that even though programming one’s values into your money is excellent — what if an individual’s values aren’t aligned with positive impact/change?
If coordination failure is the illness, coordination is the medicine – the Green Pill remedy. We can build the best coordination system globally, but it doesn’t matter unless the actors in that system decide to use it to coordinate.
All collaboration is a choice. The power is yours. – Kevin