FairCoop Ecosystem

FairCoop Structure Chart 2018

We understand a cooperative ecosystem as a process of building a post-capitalist society that consists of the creation of cooperative relationships in all aspects of life; such as economy, politics, ecology, culture, and human needs. Cooperative ecosystems are, thus, antagonistic to the capitalist system and to nation states. They aim for the generalization of solidarity relationship amongst participants and for the building of autonomy in a progressive way in as many domains of social life as possible.

We call FairCoop an ecosystem, because it is based on principles, codes, connections, and actions that allow each project, and all humans involved, to have available to them all kinds of resources to support as many needs as possible. Each part has a role in a way that the whole is only possible with the participation of all parts. We say it is cooperative because the relationship between all initiatives and individuals involved is based on mutual support, solidarity, equity, and generating cooperative practices; which is often in opposition to the competitive experiences that predominate in capitalist systems.

A cooperative ecosystem can become a synergistic meeting point amongst many different alternative economy frameworks, joining practices that any of the networks agree on. These ecosystems can work locally or globally in an interrelated way, combining autonomy and shared values.

The FairCoop Ecosystem has already developed some important, interconnected pieces since it was born in September 2014.

FairCoop Tools

These are the different tools that form the ecosystem:

  • FairCoin - The cryptocurrency on which we base the entire economic system. It is a fair, autonomous, and stable digital currency used by a growing community that upholds ethical values and principles.
  • FairFundsFairCoop’s grant funds for projects related to its principles (Global South, Commons, Open technologies, etc.). There are more than 9 million coins reserved since 2014 for distribution when the local nodes and the whole ecosystem are extended enough and ready for such distribution.
  • FairMarket - An online market platform using FairCoin. Anyone can add their own shop to this marketplace. There are already around 200 shops in 2018.
  • FairSaving - A safe and ethical FairCoin savings service at FairCoop.
  • FairPay - An NFC card system for customers and merchants to make FairCoin payments as easy as with a credit card.
  • Feedom Coop - A Europe-wide self-employment cooperative linked to FairCoop. There are currently around 200 members.
  • getFairCoin - FairCoop’s service to buy FairCoin online.
  • UseFairCoinAn online directory to find places, merchants, services, and projects where you can use your FairCoin. There are currently around 300 entries.
  • CoopFundingA crowdfunding platform created by Catalan Integral Cooperative and adopted by FairCoop in 2018. Its flexibility allows collective and coop projects to fund themselves without depending on usual crowdfunding terms or a competitive mindset.
  • Bank of the Commons - An interconnected, worldwide, cooperative developing financial tools for the autonomy and the empowerment of grassroots cooperative movements. Bank of the Commons is already offering a multicurrency wallet - with access to Sepa network for individuals and collectives – and it is developing CoopShares as a platform to invest in cooperatives and collective ownership projects.

Circular Economy - A Key Element for the FairCoop Ecosystem

circular economy is one of the five areas of open coop work. In the FairCoop ecosystem, we define circular economy as an economy in which the participants are able to find each other and exchange products and services, without the need to go outside of the ecosystem and use Euro or other fiat currency to cover their needs.

FairCoin, as could happen also with social currencies, is the main tool that keeps the circular economy running. When the participants use it for their exchanges, they are giving priority to buying with social and ecological criteria in mind. In order to encourage exchange between the participants, we look for parts of the local economy that are more cooperative, fair, and sustainable. We have an opportunity to promote social change on a local and wider level if we use ethical criteria to choose our collaborators and suppliers. We can pay attention to criteria such as their working conditions, environmental considerations, how equitable their partner relations are, and how well they respect human rights; rather than simply making decisions on the sole basis of low prices or choosing big chains and multinational companies with no such considerations.

It cannot be a full circular economy without promoting the sustainability and circularity of the materials used for economic activities. A priority would be to find something as locally sourced as possible. Learning to avoid waste of materials is one important element for each producer and merchant in the ecosystem. As such, the more traditional concept of a circular economy that is focused on the ecological dimension is also included in the vision of a circular economy that FairCoop holds.

Local Nodes and their Extensions

Local Nodes (LNs) are the local, grassroots base of FairCoop. They offer the link between the global ecosystem and the local projects, initiatives, individuals, and collectives. Therefore, an LN can be seen as a connector team which shares the information bidirectionally (local-global-local).

From the local perspective, the LNs act as facilitators supporting people in their area in learning to use the tools and key elements (circular economy) of the ecosystem or developing their new projects.

The geographical dimension of an LN should be such that it allows people to meet physically, for a reasonable amount of time. In contrast with the global ecosystem, personal relationships are created at the LNs, enabling a major level of trust.

In fact, LNs have FairCoop’s trust and extend the trust process into their local area. In this way, they can have a central role in the distribution of resources in their area (e.g. in form of Faircoins), since they would be able to meet the projects in person. FairFunds are envisioned to work in this way.

FairCoin and its role in the Development of the Ecosystem

The steady growth of the value of FairCoin, from the beginning until today, has provided the means for a steady development of the cooperative ecosystem.

Right now, FairCoin is already used to reward the Open Coop Work in the global ecosystem, and to support the local nodes.

This happens in two different ways:

a.) The Local Nodes Sustainability Campaign phases makes it possible to boost the plans of the local nodes during 6 months of FairCoin rewards based on the level of commitment of the more proactive participants. Already, 19 local nodes from three different continents have been funded by this campaign, building local economy connections and using FairCoin (status May 2018).

b.) Each quarter, all the active local nodes receive 60% of FreedomCoop incomes, which comes from the membership fees paid in FairCoin.

c.) Also, there is a donations campaign for non-profit collectives, receiving a contribution from FairCoop if they accept FairCoin donations on their website. For more go to this article about the campaign.

The stable price of FairCoin is decided by the FairCoop General assembly and can be changed, at most, once a month. This stability provides the basis for participants to engage in circular economy networks with their connections. This provides a guarantee to avoid any risk that could be derived from volatility; which is the case with other cryptocurrencies.

All the components mentioned above create a unique context for the development of the first steps for local empowerment of a group of activists in any area of the world. They count with a currency and a toolkit that comes with it. They are given an amount of FairCoin which incentivizes them to promote the first merchants of their area to accept it, and to build an exchange office (Point of Exchange - POE) to facilitate the use for the local participants.

Being a decentralized currency gives the advantage of being resilient to attacks from central powers and ensuring transparent accounting.

FairCoop Ecosystem from an outside perspective

source: https://board.net/p/FC_Economic_System

FairCoop is committed to building a fair market-based economic system, where the main values/principles are: cooperation, solidarity, justice and decentralization (among others). This market orientation is shown by the implementation of the FairMarket, an online trading platform open to all people and merchants that embrace the values of a fair economy. For trade aspects, FairCoop embraces the general principles of Fairtrade (but in a more radical and holistic view), the free circulation of gdoods and capital (in its many forms) and claims also for the free circulation of all people.
FairCoop is a trans-local movement, i.e. it has a global attitude but it acts through the development of local communities. Proof of that are the local nodes, that are the active branches of the movement, and the support of local projects and also local currencies through the FairChains platform that is under development.

FairCoop is degrowth-oriented and this is shown by the environmentalist claims, the not-consumerist view and the antagonism to advertisement and also by the fixed amount of the supply of the FairCoop’s currency (FairCoin). Indeed, the purpose of the economic system should be to satisfy the basic and vital needs of the people without breaking the equilibrium with the biosphere.
FairCoop aims to build a self-sustainable circular flow of goods and services at different levels, from local to global. To identify this process, it uses the expression “Circular Economy” that has the goal of boosting the real economy of the FairCoop ecosystem.
FairCoop uses and promotes the FairCoin currency (even if it uses also other ones) that is a decentralized cryptocurrency that is fixed in quantity (about 53 million units). The first implication of this limited quantity is that no single entity can create more units of this currency (especially private for-profit banks). Another implication is the deflationary character of the currency. The market value of the currency increases as the demand for it increases as well. In this way, trust in the system is created and people are incentivised to “invest” in it because the value of their faircoins will increase during time.
FairCoin aims to be an anti-speculative and a stable currency.

For the second aspect, there is a fixed and stable exchange rate within the community (the price in the market can vary) that was chosen, and it is updated, in the democratic general assembly. In this way, all the people that agree on it can trust on the stability of this value.

FairCoop supports and uses donations as form of investments. They take the form of crowdfunding and direct donations. For the first method, there is CoopFunding, a crowdfunding platform that is used to finance cooperative projects with a common-good goal. This platform is used also to fund FairCoop’s projects. For the second method, FairCoop uses donation campaigns to finance non-profit projects. The resources for these campaigns come from the FairFunds, where faircoins were accumulated in the first stages of the project.

FairCoop uses and supports also Bank of the Commons that offers some banking service and is developing a cooperative investment system to finance social enterprise and cooperatives. As it is possible to see, the investment criteria should not be neither the profit generated by the entity that takes the money nor the monetary interests gained from the investor.

Indeed, FairCoop uses these sorts of investments to support one of its main goal, that is the creation of Commons. At the bases of this process there is the open source and free knowledge “philosophy” that claims for the creation of free and accessible “common tools” that can be shared and replicated by the community.