This is the first in what I hope will be a series of conversations where Jason Bosch, Leo Saraceno, and I share some of our research around Web3, the environment, complex systems, community governance, and ritualized behaviors. In this two-hour chat Leo talks about his new article, “Natural Asset Managers – How Decentralized Technology Will Drive the Ecosystem Services Sector,” I discuss my new series “God’s Eye View,” and the three of us dissect an 8-minute clip about a cooperative extended reality “game” where players upload ecological data to a “Tree of Life” DAO in order to help it gain sentience. Embedded within the game is a governance structure for managing “the commons,” of the digital “park” in which the “tree” is located through proposals and voting tokens weighted to reflect individual contributions to the project. The game was pitched by Curve Labs and Weeve, based in Berlin, and leaders in framing out Web3 “regenerative finance” infrastructure. You can read more about the game in this 2021 medium post, “Introducing: Interspecies Game.” Jason and I did a live Q&A for about a half hour at the conclusion of the streamed pre-recorded discussion.
The clip is below if you’d like to rewatch it. I’ve transcribed the wording from the introduction, because it’s packed with evocative language and concepts.
“Thanks for having us. A little disclaimer on my side. Interspecies Game is a fuse between Curve Labs (We Make Digital Souls) and Weeve (Value from IoT Data), so our presentation is going to be at hyper-speed. A little forgiveness for that. At Interspecies Game we think that financializing or tokenizing nature is not a sufficient enabler for sovereignty. On the contrary, this approach risks the creation of new algorithms of extraction. Thus, we think agency must be embedded in the Internet relationality of species and their environment.
We propose playing into existence a new paradigm of a networked agency of interspecies context. Nature doesn’t need our charity. We need more robust and convivial forms of engagement to create new relations of solidarity between humans and nature that would foster interspecies engagement and coordination towards the realization of a not-only-human regenerative economy. How to activate a new “we,” a new collective consciousness that allows us to summon and perpetuates interspecies agency. We want to move from an atomized feeling of charity as the modus-operandi of impact towards a relational one where the transformation happens at the edges unleashing viral (spiral?) dynamics.
Our approach draws on the theory of social choice as apposed to classical game theory, from node-oriented systems to edge-oriented systems as we try to articulate peer influence as a multi-species paradigm. We seek to reformulate human nature, false dichotomy through play forms, leveraging automated logic and game mechanics facilitating engagement around resource accumulation and collective allocation. To introduce our game a little bit – the main game mechanic rests around the idea the “Tree of Life,” an embodiment of the spirit of the park in this case the (fox spike?) spirit sign, which coordinates the narratives and the user flows around the park.
The tree has two main objectives – to become self-aware through oracular inputs and to enrich its relations with its community. The “Tree of Life” represents the tokenomic agency with an associated Ethereum address owned by a Gnosis safe. The safe is the owner of a spectralized, fractionalized NFT, thus is the beneficiary for the majority of the stake tokens. These tokens enable both access for governance for the resources and also provide incentives for incentivizing the behavior of its community both in terms of facilitating learning and also the betterment of the public space.”
Cem Dagdelen, Co-founder Curve Labs