Problem

The cooperative movement is strong, with upwards of 250 million employed by co-ops and 10% of the globe is a member of at least one co-op. However, given the fact that life has gone completely digital, conducting business through corporate-owned digital tools is becoming increasingly precarious.

The co-op movement is also disconnected and fragmented, rarely achieving the desired outcomes of collaborative economics that radiates out from the sixth principle.

Solution

This proposal presents a simple but powerful solution to harness the power of coordinated, asynchronous development — the creation of a DAO (decentralized accountable organization) organized by members of software producing co-ops.

Operating using a DAO approach has the following benefits:

▪ addresses the internationalization problem (no global legal entity)
▪ efficient tracking of code contributions and renumeration
▪ creates secure history of voting + decision making

Every day, hundreds of small software co-ops around the world produce a wide variety of products and services for thousands of clients worldwide. What if we harnessed the spare capacities of those developers in a coordinated manner, to build the common tools the cooperative movement uses daily?

These common tools could include:

▪ messaging systems
▪ user + account management
▪ financial transactions
▪ member data management
▪ collaborative work tools

A concrete example of a tool being built for co-op interoperability is the Coop Passport initiative which seeks to reduce KYC (know your customer) costs for co-op to co-op collaboration.

There have been a number of attempts to track software produced by co-ops and even a few collaborative groups operating regionally, often isolated by geography or language. Most are more passively oriented (such as simply asking co-ops to list what they’re working on) and aren’t focused on active collaboration. Therefore, the purpose of this initiative would be to set concrete goals, providing a more actionable plan to accomplish the mission of helping the co-op world migrate out of Big Tech as much as possible.

 

Author: Peter Harris, founder and board of Resonate - music streaming co-op. Reach out peter [@] resonate.coop.