YAP Cast

YAP Cast S2E10: “Money Programmed For Good” With Kevin Owocki, Founder of Gitcoin

Samantha Yap continues her discussion with Kevin Owocki on his vision for crypto and money as something greater than a financial medium of exchange. 

Can crypto have a positive impact on society?

Owocki believes this is one of the most straightforward questions to answer and responds with an unwavering ‘yes’. This belief led Owocki to create Gitcoin, a crowdfunding platform with the mission to grow and sustain open-source software. Open-source software is an interesting market as it has high economic value, yet its nature of being open-source, and therefore a public good, means no one wants to pay for it. Gitcoin’s mission is to solve that problem for open-source software. They have successfully delivered $72 million dollars worth of funding to open-source software developers through leveraging crypto.

The Northstar at Gitcoin has always been open source, and therefore the decision was made to shift Gitcoin away from a traditional company structure and into a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO). Gitcoin is a living example of how crypto can be used for good and for pro-social causes. The ecosystem of DAOs is growing, and projects are emerging with a bottom line of what impact they can create on the world. Owocki believes this is going to be an up-and-coming category in the Web3 space. 

Crypto has the power to positively regenerate the world

Samantha and Owocki discuss how money is often focused on individual gratification. This leads them to question what it would look like for money to be programmed in such a way that it reflects not just instant gratification but what’s good for the individual in the future. 

Additionally, what’s good for us as a society? And what’s good for future generations? The focus needs to be on building sustainable monetary systems that are good for groups of people and not just an individual. Money should regenerate material and spiritual capital. This is the powerful potential that the design space of crypto has. We can now program our values into our money. Once we isolate what problems we think there are in money, we can create higher dimensional value systems in the web3 space. 

We are all familiar with financial capital, but there is also cultural capital, spiritual capital, experiential capital, intellectual capital, living capital, and material and social capital. Future capital will seek to build protocols and tokens that can help people transfer different types of capital, whether it be to build something that regenerates people’s spiritual needs or regenerates the earth. But crypto has the power to positively regenerate the world. The real end goal is to create more human thriving, to create more stability for people where they can climb Maslow’s hierarchy of needs they can house, feed and clothe themselves. Regenerative economics should enable the attainment of what you want out of your life. The focus is to then ensure we are building crypto that serves people and systems that continue to improve over time.

How money can organise the world through code

Monetary systems are hyper objects which are basically something that has a ton of impact on our lives, but you can’t see or smell it or grasp it. We don’t have any sensory perception of it, and hyper objects are really hard to talk about because they’re so abstract, but they’re also important to talk about because they have an effect on our lives. 

What is exciting about web3 economics is the reality that money and scarcity can now be designed by anyone who has a computer science degree. This gives millions of people across the world access to participating in a system that used to be reserved for insiders of the Federal Reserve Bank. This means people can design systems that suit the needs of their community and not just those of Wall Street. 

Today, three people can walk into a hackathon and build something in a weekend that would have taken a bank $20 million and 100 people to do ten years ago. This is thanks to open-source money Legos and the amount of talent that is in the space. We’re speed-running the history of capital and finance right now in web3. Web3 is inevitable. We just have to guide it towards a more regenerative future. 

In conclusion

Money means something different to different people, but it nearly always comes down to money and finance being about the same thing: a sometimes-necessary evil that greases the wheels of commerce, survival, growth, and of wealth. 

But Owocki has asked a different question: he’s asked whether money can be programmed to do something different. Whether it can be programmed to make society more resilient, whether it can be programmed to reflect values other than the financial wealth of individuals, companies, and governments?

There are dangers, of course; we are still in the early stages, and Web3 has hardly proven itself to be resilient to internal shocks, greed and mismanagement, so why should we expect it to be resilient to external shocks? But amid the rubble of the DeFi upheaval, there are the seeds of a stronger, more noble kind of finance that focuses on regeneration. Samantha Yap and Kevin Owocki like to think so.

Follow Kevin Owocki on Twitter here

Buy “Greenpilled – How Crypto Can Regenerate The World.” here

Listen to Kevin’s Podcast – “The Green Pill” here