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6 weeks in the US, new steps for free currencies

During this last Burning Man I made an important decision: I want to carry the torch in the conventional world for free currencies to become a global reality. These past years I took no real lead to get the work done. In the absolute, free currencies will happen mostly by emergence as a natural evolutionary force. But in order to activate things in the conventional world, to set up fertile soil there, I feel that the old energy is required too: talk to investors and philanthropists to raise some money, build a dream team with names, faces and accountability, build exec summaries and business plans, create legal structures, make alliances with other tech players, etc. That’s the leadership I am talking about.

As I was walking in the streets of L.A. with the last $100 in my pocket and the vow of wealth in my heart, my sense of direction is stronger and clearer than ever.

Since the decision to go into action has been made, it seems that the energy I hold is ready to turn into material form flawlessly. I want to share this journey in this post. As there is way too much for me to write in detail, so I should try to make it short bullet points.


PHASE 0 (today): build a dream team and the vessel

We want the best geeks ever, the best community facilitators, the best story tellers, the best financial & business plan experts, the best philanthropists and investors, the best P.R. people, the best web and GUI designers, etc. Not only these people have the best expertise in their field, but they hold the highest moral and spiritual values.

As for the vessel of those who will hold the integrity of the project, I want to create a very clear description of what are the lines, levels, genders (inner subjective / outer objective), destinations and agreements.

This phase requires $20-30k to cover travel costs for an intensive period of meetings in different places in the world (mostly in the US). I have been supporting this myself these past months, now external support is needed. And another trip to the US asap.

PHASE 1 (next 12 months): spread the memes

  • Write a free currencies manifesto: building on universal right for the people to be in control of the wealing tools (those that help create wealth), then how it breaks down into architecture (open source, then open transport, data, rules, ID, etc), and strategic path that people can envision.
  • Write stories: the most profound way to reach people consciousness and understanding.
  • Create a viral media: like Story of Stuff, and the Meatrix.

This phase, if well done, should ignite and leverage the whole dynamic without asking for big conventional money for the code to be done.

PHASE 2 (next 24 months): write the code

From MetaCurrency architecture to GUI, it takes us in many different directions.

  • I want a usable online platform for free currencies to flow, no matter how temporary and dirty is the code, so that people can start build experience. That’s the role of the flowplace, as imperfect and temporary as it is. People see and play directly. Many have the aha experience. It creates consciousness, it attracts new resources, and hopefully will it allow free currencies to ‘self-ignite’ earlier than later.
  • I want a universal protocol for free currencies constellations to be easily designed and to be interoperable. That’s the MetaCurrency project.

From a conventional financial perspective, this requires a few M$ investment for a “startup” to carry the project in the old world, and support an open source community (still living in the old world too). There are different models and legal vessels to explore here. I have no religion, I want to be pragmatic, as long as everything built is destined to the Commons.

It is very likely that phase 1 (flowplace + viral buzz) will leverage phase 2 (code writing + launching), so that phase 2 could happen with much less conventional money to support it.


Here’s a quick overview of some of last September meetings during my trip in Boulder & California.

  • Darrell Laham: Darrell is currently co-creating a social synergy startup company, NextNowTech, with partner Claudia Welss, with whom he also serves on the Board of Directors of The Foundation for Conscious Evolution. Darrell is also working with partner Barbara Marx Hubbard on an evolutionary theatrical project called The Eighth Day of Creation (which I am involved in too). Fernanda and I had a whole day with him. His vision, intelligence and technology on synergy engine could be a key piece in the whole picture.
  • RSF (Rudolf Steiner Foundation) – John Bloom: 2 meetings of 3hours1/2 each. John has become a brother and a true supporter of free currencies. I have asked him how we could be supported with $20k asap to finance our trip and continue ignite the dream team process, and $200k philanthropic money to support the whole phase 1. He is currently checking for the $20k, and has good hope that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find. As for the $200k, he saw a clear sky and said it could be very possible. The process shouldn’t take more that 3-4 months. It needs to be allocated to a US non-profit.
  • Brad Nye – Founder of Red Lightning and CORE Conference (that was postponed): Brad had been instrumental in opening his huge network for us. I can’t count how many connections led to other connections, and all the ripples that our encountering created. Brad is a social capital angel.
  • Charity FocusNipun Mehta : I attended a 1 day retreat with Nipun’s Charity Focus partners. It was mind blowing to witness how many projects they are supporting, and to encounter so many beautiful committed souls gathering in one same room. It was so good to reconnect with Nipun and see him in this amazing environment. This is where I met Rahul Brown (see below).
  • Louis Fox – co-founder of Free Range Studios: we had 2 meetings in Berkeley. Louis is very excited and is going to work with us! Estimated cost in conventional money $80-100k to get something of the same quality as Story of Stuff. Louis is open to include free currencies in our deal, he just needs to hear more about how we are going to play.
  • Rick Lukens: He is a well known figure in the entertainment industry. He organized huge international events and concerts, and he knows most of the showbiz players. Right now he is working on a site with his friend Carlos Santana: Architects of a New Dawn. Rick has invested in a software company that developed a whole new interface between machines and humans. This is mind blowing, it’s disruptive, it’s the next generation. It is likely to become the operating system in the Chinese iPad competitor that is soon to come (a much better product). It might be a shock for America where such innovations has always come from so far. The point is there is a perfect affinity between this technology and free currencies. The last meeting with Rick lead to the conclusion that more time is necessary before synergies can manifest. But it’s cooking.
  • Moses Ma – Founder and CEO of NextGen: Moses is a genius visionary, a very bright entrepreneur.  His long Taoist practice turned him into a spiritual warrior watching life with fun. Moses has opened his impressive network to us. He wrote to his friends: “I’d like to introduce you all to Jean-François Noubel, who was co-founder of AOL France and I declare that he is my true brother from another mother! He’s spiritual, he’s brilliant, he’s a meditator, he’s a martial artist, he wants to change the world… his latest ideas on free currencies are amazing, radical, brilliant.” That’s quite an introduction and a mark of trust. Mose can also offer us incredible technical support as well.
  • Barbara Marx-Hubbard: too long to explain here, but Barbara is 100% supportive to free currencies and we are synergizing. One of the many paths we share is the piece that she wrote: “The Cosmic Family Reunion”, which leads to mythology, archetypes, our relationship with the cosmos, conscious evolution and the way we want to manifest the next social forms.
  • Barnet Bain – Movie maker: Barnet is one of those Hollywood movie makers committed to bring consciousness in movies. We had a wonderful online conversation and are committed to meet next time I come to California (he couldn’t do it this time). He wrote these wonderful words: “I am really looking forward to meeting you in person and spending time building and birthing our friendship. I will probably discover more of myself in you.”
  • Paul Taylor, CEO – Craig Hamilton, Founder – Integral Enlightenment: we have lot’s of synergies to explore with them. I wrote to Craig: “Fernanda and I deeply appreciate the work and service you are doing for the world. However, whatever we want to do in raising collective wealth and consciousness is still done with the old, unconscious, scarce, centralized monopolistic money. It has a built in “social contract”, worldview and karma in it. It keeps people stuck in old conventional predatory hunting modes, be it for them to buy evolutionary time for themselves! I don’t think we can expect to cross the next evolutionary Rubicon while still using conventional money. We can get closer to it, sense it, but not cross it. Evolutionary communities can begin to use free currencies. Not 100% in the first place, but progressively. 20%, 50%, and let the rest unfold organically. Currencies are a set of agreements for the social game we want to play together. It brings our social contract to a new level, as currency design is equivalent to social DNA design.
    Paul and I reconnected after a couple of years being busy on our respective paths. He is a brother and I am sure we are going to explore beautiful generative paths together next time I come to California.
  • Mark Chasan – A.W.E.: Mark might become a good partner in writing some business plans about free currencies, seen from the conventional world perspective. He holds a grounded spiritual practice combined with good experience in the corporate world.
  • Sandra de Castro-Buffington – director of Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S): Sandra and I spent a week-end retreating together. She is connected to the best story tellers and script writers in Hollywood. We are going to collaborate. Our intention is to organize a 1 week retreat with 20 of the best story tellers she knows, next June 2011 in France. We expect amazing stories to emerge about consciousness and free currencies.
  • Brock Pierce – Co-founder and President of Revenue Apex: we had a 2 hours meeting together. Brock understands 100% free currencies, and that conventional money is not going to compete for very long. Very clever and bright mind. As developing different currencies in the MMOGs world, and being connected to big projects in the banking world, he has access to technical resources as well. Brock could become a partner, although more time and mutual investigation are necessary. Brock would like our next meeting to be with Eric Pulier, one of the world experts on cloud computing. They work together. Eric might provide pieces of technology that can be pieces of MetaCurrency.
  • Indian Philanthropists: on Oct. 5, 2010 morning I had a meeting with Indian entrepreneurs who offer some their support to the world via philanthropic actions. This meeting was set by Rahul Brown, whom I met during Nipun Mehta’s retreat. Since this meeting, I have come to discover Rahul as a wonderful committed brother. I feel a deep companionship growing. This meeting was supposed to last 2 hours in the morning, it lasted until mid-afternoon. I was deeply honored to be received by wonderful human beings showing deep listening, respect, appreciation and inquiry for this hot topic that are free currencies. We went from big questions about the evolution of our society to how free currencies could play at massive grassroots level in India. As Rahul wrote later: “Its that spirit that I palpably felt in the room, that spirit of sincerity in how to collaborate and ignite people into selflessness that kept me there 5 hours longer than I anticipated.  I know that many of your have spoken to audiences of hundreds, even thousands so it was an absolute privilege and honor to have your presence in such a small group and for such a large chunk of the day.Very grateful to Jean-Francois for deepening my understanding of free currencies, and also appreciated everyone’s focus on nuts-and-bolts realities about the challenges for making this a tool in grassroots development for India.” Those who were present were
    • Bhikhu Patel: founder and CEO of Tarsadia Group whose offices we used. Bhikhu manifested deep listening and presence during the whole meeting. His generosity and heart were palpable in the room.
    • Shirish Dayal: Executive director of the Tarsadia Foundation. Shirish asked many generative questions and proved how open his mind is. His big heart was present all the time, he took care of me during and after the meeting, making sure that I had a place to stay and good conditions for working. I loved his sweet presence and care combined with his great intelligence.
    • Anand Karia, chairman of Arpan Foundation
    • Ashim & Anu Jain: Ashim was passionate about tackling gov’t corruption and bribery in India and willing to do something about it. As a technologist and an appreciator of servant leadership, he was highly receptive to new and better ways to serve. I appreciated his understanding of the monetary questions and the interest he expressed in free currencies. Anu, his wife, was a clear-eye and wise grounding force. Both looked like walking hearts, committed to serve.
  • Susan Davis – Founder of Capital Missions Company: she just wrote me an email tonight and she said “Count me as ‘in’ with your work!!!“. She can provide us with powerful support and connections, as she knows how crucial free currencies are.

It’s no doubt that I need to come back to California soon. I will work on the intention and see if it wants to manifest.


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