Article by Gudo Stevens (Dark Edge)
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, a community of Earth-States People gathered in a sunny, eco-friendly co-working space at the edge of the River Tague, in Lisbon. In the slipstream of the Cosmoverse conference, ixo organised an open space UnConference to brainstorm about the Earth Mission. As we gathered, we were welcomed with snacks, coffee and friendly banter, meeting fellow participants from the US, South Africa, Chech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal and other places; representing diverse backgrounds as founders, blockchain developers, local currency and community organizers, business developers, and investors.
Open space principles
Our facilitator explained the open space principles that would structure our UnConference. An unconference doesn't have an agenda, but it does have structure. Instead of a speaker lecturing an audience from a podium, the format is that of self-organising groups who determine their own agenda. We were to have multiple parallel tracks, with 3 45-minute sessions each. The open space principles foster an open environment, where you can leave a session any time you want to, to join another one that suits you better.
The principles are:
- Whoever comes are the right people: Being here means you are part of the solution.
- Whenever it starts is the right time: You are not late (or early for that matter) in discussing the issue at hand.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have: Whatever comes out of the discussion is the right thing. Once it’s done, it’s done and the only direction to move now is forward.
- 4) When it’s over, it’s over (in this session): Once you feel an issue has been resolved, you should move on to the next one. There’s no need to keep talking about the same topic just because there’s still time left in the session.
And then there's the Law of two feet: if you're not contributing or learning, get up and walk over to join another group.
Ixo founder Dr. Shaun Conway then sketched the context of the Earth Mission, and the goals for this UnConference.
The Interchain Foundation (ICF) plays an important role in the Cosmos ecosystem, with the mission to ensure that core Cosmos and interchain technologies get built and used in ways that are relevant and useful to as many people as possible. With the Earth Program, the ICF moves to meet a real need. The initial ICF focus was on building Enabling technologies: get IBC up and running, etc. This has evolved to become the The Interchain Foundation Builders Program. We are now in the phase to connect technology with what is needed in the world. So led by ixo and in partnership with Regen Network and a growing coalition, ICF has recently launched The Interchain Foundation Earth Program.
The big vision behind the Earth Program is to drive R&D, partnerships and advocacy in the Cosmos ecosystem towards societal transformation, economic sustainability and ecological regeneration. We know the current state of the planet and the predicament we're in. We need incentives to support making dramatic changes. Cosmos has the potential to build that change.
Cosmos is the internet of blockchains, consisting of sovereign application chains that are inter-connected through the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) Protocol.
What is the purpose of an Internet of Blockchains? Is it more DeFi protocols? No! We need to direct this effort towards a greater purpose: to change the state of the planet. To reach a better future state, we need tools and mechanisms for sustainability and regeneration. How do we get there?
- Set intent: the Earth Mission program focuses on:
- empowering people to make an impact towards equitable societies, sustainable economies and regenerative ecologies.
- organizing ideas, demonstrations, people and technology towards market and capital opportunities
- Programmatically moving towards concrete actions to realise the vision.
The Earth Program is requirements led, very much use-case driven.
The key question to focus this UnConference on is: how do we (ixo & Regen) connect with the rest of the Cosmos ecosystem, in an impactful way? How to build the Cosmos ecosystem to achieve the Interchain Earth Mission?
We then made a round where people proposed topics to discuss. Proposals were written on a yellow post-it note and put on the session planning board. It was quickly apparent that several proposals were about similar topics, from a slightly different angle; these were clustered together. What remained were 3 tracks with 3 sessions each, some of which turned into longer-running conversations across multiple sessions.
We touched on a variety of subjects I am skipping here: universal basic income; moving web3 integration from a browser add-on deeper down into OS and hardware; a methodology for classifying stakeholders on the global/local spectrum; like coin; preparing for the HackAtom.
The main track, which attracted most participants, was a conversation that continued across 3 topics: making the Cosmos ecosystem carbon negative and climate positive; defining and structuring synergy between the ixo and Regen projects; and go-to-market strategies including attracting investments.
Cosmos: carbon negative, climate positive
Regen ledger is on the verge of launching a carbon credits module, as well as liquidity to serve offsetting. This can be used to automatically offset any carbon emissions for blockchain transaction processing. Regen made some preliminary calculations about the carbon costs of running a chain, amounting to about 1,000 tons of carbon per chain per year. It should be very doable to offset that. There was consensus to pursue a per-protocol strategy, rather than offsetting per validator. Ixo and Regen will take the lead on offsetting their own protocols, and invite Osmosis and Juno to do the same. To ease adoption of offsetting on other protocols, some kind of educational/governance toolkit might be handy. We can use the Earth State publication and everybody's Discord to support a campaign, raising awareness that we're working towards making the Cosmos ecosystem carbon negative, climate positive, and how to participate in that. All of this should be executable before Christmas. Additional ideas mentioned were, to use some kind of token incentivization to support adoption; and to have a dashboard for the whole map of zones where, for each protocol, you can see for each of the emissions scopes 1, 2 and 3 how big the emissions are, and how much is currently offset. We also need to take into account that some validators are already carbon neutral, running on renewable energy sources.
Ixo & Regen collaboration
We then had a conversation about coordination and synergy between Ixo and Regen. Ixo targets investment into multiple aspects of impact, encompassing all the sustainable development goals. Regen focuses on ecological regeneration and carbon sequestration, with a primary focus on land use. Given the prominence of carbon considerations, that is the one aspect that may tip an impact project into profitability. There is clearly an overlap in terms of product and market. There is an opportunity to have a more clearer definition of what those products are, and to deepen our understanding about the product mix. Ideally we would articulate that as a joint product roadmap, including integrations, then iterate on that while evolving the products/protocols via incremental upgrades. The example of Osmosis was cited, as a project that is driven by a clear product roadmap (as opposed to a technology roadmap). Can we articulate a shared Ixo/Regen roadmap and provide updates on that with a regular TwitterSpace community update?
The final session in the main track was about funding and participation. Can we move beyond the early stage VC & accredited investor model, and instead perhaps have a DAO investment vehicle? Regen network founder and CEO Gregory Landua elaborated on the Regen crypto fund, which follows a more traditional VC model. The Regen crypto fund currently has nearly $15m committed, and is raising an additional $15m. The focus is on technology in the Regen adjacent Cosmos space. Regen will deposit $4m into Osmosis, and participate in governance. Ixo is preparing its launchpad for alphabonds that will function as a virtual accelerator for invcentivising and supporting projects that build marketplace platforms, oracles, and other applications on the Internet of Impact. The coming Earth DAO, announced by Shaun Conway at the Cosmoverse conference, will invest in sustainable growth of the Internet of Impact ecosystem, by financing projects that align with the Earth Mission and that achieve on average an ROI of >1.0 back into the DAO to make it evergreen. The Earth DAO should ideally be a multi-asset DAO, and Regen Network co-founder Gregory Landua committed to REGEN being included in the DAO treasury.
We closed off with a plenary session, in which summaries were presented of all the sessions that had taken place. The two most significant outcomes of this day are:
- A concrete action plan to move the Cosmos ecosystem to become carbon negative, climate positive;
- To use the Earth DAO as a shared treasury for the Earth Mission with both ixo and Regen contributing into a multi-asset DAO treasury in a way that brings in other contributors to become custodians of the DAO.
Having these conversations in-person is fruitful. Hopefully the COVID situation will allow a follow-up meeting next year. Meanwhile, let's join the online community forums where these conversations are going to continue, boosted by the Open Space gathering of great Earth-States People.