Connecting and adapting financial instruments to social and bio-regional regeneration

Tags: cacao, chocolate, CSA, carbon, research, open source repositories, bio-regional, bioregion, colombia, curacao

image Braiding an Economic COmmons in Barichara

I’ve just had an amazing journey to see community groups in Colombia and Curacao and am headed back home to Kenya. I don’t get out much, so this was a big deal. So what are the big takeaways as a head home!?

Between all the great people and projects I met like, Ryan Christoffersen, Antonio Paglino, Rene Reinsberg, David Casey, Xochitl Cazador, and so many more, it was and is wonderful to be among a community of practice that is connecting and adapting financial instruments to social and bio-regional regeneration. #refi

Bio-regional Focus

Meeting Joe Brewer and all the Earth Regenerators at RefiBarichara in Colombia was an amazing treat. Likewise meeting Luuk Weber and Cindy van Lieshout-Eman and the Kolektivo who are greening Curacao and spreading their methods across the world was inspiring. As much as communities we work with at Grassroots Economics are scattered across Africa, I really want to bring back this bio-regional focus into my home community. It was really nice to see how gatherings that involve technology and international collaborators can be grounded in the actual communities.

Voucher purchases as production loans was a common theme in linking together financial instruments and kick starting localized financial instruments.

Cacao -> chocolate

What if groups of farmers (Campesinos in Colombia) could create vouchers redeemable again kilos of cacao? The vouchers could act as a local medium of exchange (similar to how the Mayans used Cacao) - and people and chocolate makers could buy these vouchers (in-kind or with cash) and redeem them for cacao or chocolate later? This was the impetus behind meeting Sergio Figueredo from and cacao farming communities he is working with.

Community Supported Agriculture

What if Food Forest farmers in Curacao needed a production loan to purchase an automobile? What if they created a voucher with Kolektivo redeemable for weekly baskets of fresh produce and sold these vouchers in order to raise the funds for the needed pickup truck?

Carbon and other Impacts

What if these vouchers could also be used to purchase carbon credits and support other certifications (like biodiversity) created by these farmers?

Research, open source repositories

What if Universities issued credit (vouchers) to their researchers and students that were redeemable for research outcomes and open source repository development. Organizations like the Digital Public Goods Alliance could buy these vouchers (as a production loan) - in order to support the research or software development, and redeem them as payment for outcomes (research submissions, git checking and peer reviews)?

Promises for price: A futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity asset, or security at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future.

Since we don’t know what the market price (say in USD) will be in the future - such contracts involve a lot of speculation. With a futures contract we need regulation because the price might have extreme variation and could be subject to manipulation. One Futures contract might by the right to buy 1 ton of tomatoes for $100 - while the market price may vary.

Promises for product: A voucher contract (or credit obligation) is a legal agreement that can be settled as payment for a particular commodity asset, service or security at a predetermined quantity and quality - before the voucher expires.

With a voucher - you have a claim redeemable as payment for something. I.e. A gym subscription or 1000 vouchers = 1 ton of tomatoes themselves. In this case you’ve already bought the tomatoes - you gave the seller a production loan for them (often at discount) and are holding a type of tradable invoice that can be used to claim them - or be resold.

*Note that I consider a voucher that can change hands many times but the issuer is liable to redeem it as payment (given a clear contract by the issuer).

Because of all the capital in the financial market built around securities we tend to focus on futures contracts and ignore vouchers because they are too illiquid. I’m really excited about what is happening to change this and create connections between vouchers, insurers, liquidity providers and market makers. Eventually on those securities and futures contracts that are promises against prices - we may want to re-index those prices against (network tokens) / baskets of promises against products (vouchers).