Building blocks for commoning communities?

Hi everyone!

So in the past month some folks from the holochain ecosystem (@Qubeo, @raphisee, @hedayat, @pablo and @nphias) have initiated a commoning working group with two parallel branches: one about development, where we build basic commoning building blocks, and one about discussion, for now focused on thinking about the patterns that enable commons-like flows in a community, which will inform what we actually build.

We would love to hear about building blocks that are actually needed by projects in the ecosystem to be as targeted and as close to the communities as possible.

The idea is that if we built a good tool set of building blocks, any community could pull them to use them in a way that fits their context. Right now, we have some ideas about which building blocks to develop first. These include:

  • Mutual-credit currencies
  • Resource management: booking, borrowing and lending, chain of custody, etc.
  • Wikis and documentation like tools
  • Reputational currencies

If any of you know of a project building on holochain in which this seems like a good fit, we would love to get in contact. IIn this direction, we are already talking with @ViktorZaunders and @nphias is a very active part of the Hackalong community, in Liminal Village.

Thanks a lot!


Voting for Mutual Credit currencies! I have a number of uses I’d like to deploy it for. :slight_smile:


Awesome, I’ll be pinging you in the near future!

Ciao Guillem,

I see “common” interfaces as pretty interesting and I’d start that with Identity since WOT/Holochain is based on edge agents - i.e. users. If we can build a nice interface at the persona management level I think it would be pretty handy for intersecting with hApps (like mutual credit). The latter we’ve been experimenting at the village with and got to some interesting conclusions; namely the semantic seperation of value vs accounting. Ultimately we need both!

Heres one sentence to encapsulate some thoughts on creating positive sum dynamics and integrating the subjective/objective divide with mutual credit:

Gifted access while retaining ownership; this gift creates surplus (subjective) value while accounting for and tracking the (objective) resource.

I’m interested in the calls as well but dont want to be overly involved, just casual passenger that can add some memes to the infoset :wink:


I’m very interested in this collaboration, and would like to be involved. I agree that identity management will be very important, and that systems for finding contacts and managing groups while maintaining privacy will be crucial for Holochain’s mid and long-term success. I also have a few other ideas for libraries that could be useful for the Holochain community, like a localization framework for hApps.

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I am travelling to ecovillages throughout Europe and have been working on both new currency for those communities and governance models. I host a weekly call at 5 pm on Wednesdays, discussing my travels and bringing up exactly these topics as I experience them in the communities. Everyone is welcome to the call so if you would like to join please reach out to me at and I’ll add you to the zoom invitation. I have my ideas posted on this repository and I’ll be launching a website in a couple of weeks.

One of the fundamentals that I’m looking at is the community rather than the individual as the basic Holon for collaboration across these communities. Because these groups keep a strong membrane around the group, the economic activity is vis-a-vis the outside, not within the group. For that reason, mutual credit currencies are inadequatee and short-lived in these communities. Arthur talks about this extensively, so it’s not new to anyone here… but I think that people are so stuck in thinking that money is the only way to transact, that they have not seen that mutual credit currencies and LETS systems have failed to make any significant change and that we need to be thinking in more advanced ways. I’m more excited by REA and by the idea of “pools” than the idea of “markets”.


I’m also very interested in this collaboration. I have:

  • Identify management
  • Time bank
  • Accounting for financial tokens

Identity management is an obvious foundational building block, so I second that. I’m thinking: registering a new user in a group, allowing the user to manage their profile, providing proof-of-identity services within the group, etc. etc.

Another building block that we have spoken about previously in our project is a time-bank solution, to keep track of the time/effort individuals have contributed to the project. Perhaps this sits under REA style functionality?

Finally, the core of what we are building is a peer-to-peer funding model with zero interest, with the most important rule being that it is not possible to take more money out of the group than enters the group. In other words, we have a “membrane” model per Grace’s post above, and use that as the boundary for the rule that money going out can never exceed money that goes in - money can not leave the community in other words. This might fall under the Mutual Credit banner, but I’m not sure, since we have some complex (not complex: unfamiliar in the current paradigm) rules that must go with the implementation; also, we don’t think of our ‘credits’ as currency - we use the existing national sovereign currency (money) and accept that as pre payment for future production while also offering a discount. So we have pre payment credits and discounts. Both of these are I suppose tokens so I can see how they might be classed as currency. The particular need we have is to be able to track the purchase, accumulation, redemption and peer-to-peer trading of these pre-purchase and discount credits.


Hi Guillem,

This is the exact conversation I’d like to be a part of! I’m planning to start a worker’s cooperative in my local city, building and maintaining a lending library. In the interest of being practical, I need to use a few centralized services like Stripe, Google Sheets, and Mailchimp for now. In the future, I’d like to use the REA framework for inventory. It would be amazing if there were an automated tool for helping people ramp from their existing apps and datasets to hApps. After some research, I learned about the open-source workflow automation tool n8n. Would a Holo-hosted port of n8n be possible?

This might be a standalone hApp, but I can see it being extremely useful for hApp devs and regular users, allowing hApps to interface with centralized services without having to code individual integrations from scratch.

I posted in detail about holo-n8n at the following link:


I’d love to hear any thoughts and see if anyone has interest in making this tool!

I’m very excited to see this thread, as it is core to my own interests. Last year a group of us set up the Planetmakers project and applied for the €1 million EU prize, Blockchains for Social Good. Holo was a core partner, and we had a MoU with Holo for this. Of course we didn’t win, but I think we moved our ideas along very strongly, and that is what I want to share with you here.

Our starting point was the kind of society we wanted to create, and for this we built on commons principles (from Eleanor Estrom) and viable systems, and from this, derive the kinds of software that would be needed by a community. We didn’t want users to need to understand the theory. We came up with 5 core areas that are self-explanatory (if you know about viable systems, you should be able to see the link):

1 - Synergy: The overall vision is of a community working together for mutual benefit. Synergy in practice is offers and wants, combining doing favours for each other and also exchange using money, both fiat and mutual credit. This is the central, everyday part of the community. It includes offering lots of social events to build community. (And here is where much of Guillem’s initial list comes in, plus of course Tom’s comments.)

2 - WhoWeAre: We envisage not a marketplace of strangers out for their own interests, but a commons-style community which clearly identifies those who support it and work for mutual benefit, on a basis of trust. We imagine various levels of participation, from very casual to highly involved, with an ethos that those that contribute the most get priority on receiving. This creates the boundaries of the group (but isn’t rigid). (So here is where Josh’s ideas of persona management come in, plus reputation, plus profiles that include values).

3.Commons: The vision is of local self-governance, but with coordination at various levels. The Commons area is where groups spell out their common values, rules, principles, with discussion and voting on local requirements. This is perfect for the kind of distributed internet that Holo makes possible. We are discussing setting up pilots in several places, that will include setting up local community servers for local communications tools as the basis of self-governance. We will start with existing open source software and move towards Holo-based solutions as they are ready. (I’m sure this will resonate with Grace’s work.)

4.Peacemaking: We want our commons-based community to be stable, so we need to be able to handle differences and conflicts constructively. We commissioned one of our number to build a peacemaking pattern language, which will include communications skills and ways of handling conflict.

5.Direction: We imagine the local community commons working together at larger scales, for mutual benefit and to share a larger perspective and help each other to move forward. (Again, lots of resonances with Grace.)

So, I will keep checking on this thread. Perhaps we can have some regular video conferences so we get to know each other and to help us build momentum.


Nice to hear things moving along Gary!

I’m working with guillem on producing modules that are to initially satisfy the needs of our local coop we’re running here as food producer and educational space. A few calls this week on moving into REA space with these efforts too.

We’ve just got started with prototyping on The new RSM version so would love another chat at some point to se how we can keep weaving.

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Hi Viktor, Yes, I had a look at what you are doing and very much like it. Yes, too, let’s have a chat. I’ve been trying out BigBlueButton as ‘proof-of-concept’ software, and so we could use that. My room on BBB is , Perhaps early next week? Suggest a time. (Not Tuesday morning.) Gary

Hi Tom, I’ve just come across this video, that you might find interesting: A Global Payment Spectrum, . It is by Paul Grignon (I hadn’t heard of him before), but he discusses 4 types of transaction, 2 using fiat money including one that sounds like your prepayment for future production. Gary

I apologise for a late reply Gary, slight overwhelm. :slight_smile:

What about a conversation tuesday morning? Would that work for you? 10am CET say? Your room then?

We had a great discussion on our weekly call a couple of weeks ago about reputation of communities. If communities were to pool resources (not exchange for money, but just share), what reputational information would they want? The blog post includes a written summary plus a video of the highlights only.