bitREPUBLIC is a work of tactical media that situates the blockchain technology – the infrastructure behind the bitcoin – as a critical, disruptive force, challenging EU’s controversial management of the migration crisis. The aim is to implement an open DIY framework guarantying those disenfranchised, displaced or excluded, an unconditional right to socio-economic inclusion, restoring, beyond the control of states, some actual shortcoming on the refugee status as, for instance, the right to move freely and work. This aim shares an awareness of the condition of migrants. Taking a grassroots, bottom-up approach in regard to the migration crisis, bitREPUBLIC is an attempt to redefine and redesign socio-economic strategies beyond national and international prevailing systems.
The bitsoil popup hack campaign
One of these grassroots strategies is to deploy a reallocating funding mechanism on bitsoil, the main resource of bitREPUBLIC as a new common resource: a digital artificial primary resource. As once, people dig mines to get valuable mineral resources, today the lifeblood of the digital economy is bitsoil; the data generated by anonymous users. A Google search on any topic, a post or a like on facebook or twitter is enough to trigger loops of value. But for now this golden resource is captured in walled-gardens by corporates. So, what if this wealth is tapped again and returns to its instigators, the crowd for instance? How can we transform bitsoil into a fair welfare system and redesign strategies that turns the bitsoil resource into a universal redistributing mechanism? Bitsoil as primary, co-created, co-owned, and shared value produced by the crowd – by the activity and actions of bunches anonymous users – and managed in the interests of all people and future generations. Like we could charge corporates for their use of oil, gaz, our atmosphere, our grants of copyrights, our trademarks and patents…, corporates should redistribute small amounts of their affluence to use bitsoil, this co-created and co-owned resource produced by the crowd. People’s activity online and even offline generate wealth. Why should corporates get a free ride on assets owned by all of us? The latest innovations initiated by the cryptocurrency, the bitcoin, and the blockchain – the protocol that underlies the bitcoin – enables the deployment of such a system.
At the core of this innovation, there is indeed the idea of decentralized validations of digital transactions. The blockchain operates without a central controlling organization. It is based on a permanent register that keeps trace of all transactions. Instead of being stored in a central intermediary, transactions are stored and distributed on tens of thousands computers from multiple participants through a peer-to-peer network. A large chain of time-stamped transactions is created that are checked and validated by power of people’s networked computers. To operate, one only needs power of computer. The computing capacity of the computers of participants plays the role of auditor and ensures a secure environment for the transfer and exchange requiring no intermediary or trusted third party (government, banks etc.).
Couldn’t we redesign a universal, redistribution mechanism on data streams rooted by an in-depth understanding of P2P architecture of the digital ecosystem, the blockchain. This is what we intend to do with the bitsoil popup hack campaign: deploying a blockchain based redistributing mechanism that gets the value of “users generated data” back via micro amounts, claimed, on the volume of value of data, generated by the crowd and captured by GAFA corporates & co (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) and its childs (Uber, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Alibaba, Baidu). The political philosopher Thomas Pogge has done something similar with the “global resources dividend” to be funded out of a tax on the use or sale of the natural resources of the earth.