Blockchain technologies have the potential to facilitate and support the implementation of circular economy (CE) principles and practices that can take place in urban contexts.
We coined the expression “Urban symbiosis” to make an analogy with “Industrial symbiosis” practices involving mutually beneficial exchanges between industries involved in production ecosystems.
Blockchain-supported networks have the potential to enable urban symbiosis by facilitating exchanges of tangible and intangible values not only between organisations, but also between people, in a commercial or social (bartering) way. Exchanges can involve a mix of goods, services (e.g. exchange of skills) and spare facilities (e.g. parking spaces), this way prolonging the use of resources as advocated by the circular economy.
We want our solutions to be inspired by the latest innovations in tech driven thinking – decentralization, democratization, distributed knowledge procurement inherent in current trends of DLT, IoT, AI, VR, AR, 3DP, WYOD, BYOD … or future evolving technologies (ie future cities, ultra-scale computing, biocomputing etc). We want actors, from coders through designers to users, to all understand how to use their skills to meet the possibilities that society demands from them now and in the future within the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Essential to the move towards the 4th Industrial Revolution there is the question of how to devise a way to keep track of value circulation. The 4th IR is posed to be not a monetary economy, but a value based economy. Value will comprise both monetary value, and knowledge-based value. This knowledge-based value economy is the new frontier for understanding, development, and exploitation. It is in the way in which we devise more sophisticated measurement systems which we can bring together both what we can already count and what we know implicitly has value. Devising such a measurement framework raises technical, economic, educational and, above all, moral questions.
Furthermore, before you can transact value, you must be able to capture it in a digital, fast, cost effective way. For this we have turned to the Social Earnings Ratio (s/e) that:
Digitizes Non-Financial Value
Turns Sentiment into Financial Value
Uses Fast Data, typically < 10 seconds
Transacts intangible value via blockchain
The S/E Ratio is the corollary to the Price Earnings Ratio (p/e); together s/e and p/e represent total value of an organisation, person, product, process, project or network. It relies on a multi-stakeholder Citizenship framework covering organisations, staff, shareholders, consumers, suppliers, community, statutory bodies and the environment. It plays this out across scale from the value of our thoughts through to personal value, family value, community value, organisational value, city value, network value, regional value, national value, continent value and finally global value. It allows us to understand how one influences the other, to model it, to forecast it, and to turn that into a 360 intervention.
The call for a more sustainable economy is not new. It goes back as far as the call for global responses to climate change and the rapid growth of populations associated with the rising scarcity of natural resources. We are living however a momentum of unprecedented favourable alignment of technological, political and social factors that are enabling an effective transition to a more sustainable economy. The term ‘circular economy’ has emerged to represent this new economic landscape which is paving the way for business model innovations that maximise environmental and societal benefits with no detriment to economic gains. In general, the circular economy advocates, inter alia, the creation of production/consumption systems that:
Emphasise the delivery of functionality and experience (value in use), rather than product ownership;
Build upon collaborative or shared consumption approaches;
Create closed-loop or cascading (open-loop) value chains where recycling, remanufacturing, repair and reuse processes substitute or minimise disposal processes.
An increasing number of businesses are already implementing one or more of the initiatives above, which are fundamentally based on the prolonged use of products. The role that end consumers can play to prolong the life span of products is not just a consumption issue, it is also a supply issue in the sense that consumers can potentially supply other consumers or businesses with products that can be further used, repaired, remanufactured or recycled.
There are actually digital platforms where consumers can make their assets and even their skills available to the market (e.g. Ebay, Airbnb and Taskrabbit). But these business models are third-party centralised marketplace systems that control the flow of information and currency between the parts involved.
Another limitation for consumers is that a number of current circular economy business models are still primarily focused on the firm, relegating the end consumer to roles such as use or share and the subsequent separation of products or waste for reuse or refuse collection. This wastes consumers’ capability and effort which an effective circular economy should co-opt.
Co-opting the consumer’s capabilities and skills has the potential to transform regenerative product-service systems and accelerate the shift towards the circular economy. The main question is: How can consumers be empowered to engage and participate more actively in product reuse and recovery processes? Blockchain seems to be the key enabler to significantly empower consumers for the circular economy.
The advent of the blockchain technology offers unprecedented opportunities for circular economy business models geared by peer to peer (P2P) networks which are particularly likely to happen in urban contexts. Digital ‘blockchain-enabled’ platforms allow P2P transactions to takes place on the cloud without third-party intermediaries. That is, consumers can engage in transactions and securely pay each other directly, without intermediaries, through a decentralised and globally distributed blockchain network. By enabling consumers to circulate and recapture value from their underused assets, blockchain platforms have the power to significantly catalyse the shift from the linear to the circular economy.
The Seratio Coin is a digital asset that provides standard cryptocurrency functionality, and has 3 additional features which drive greater value:
ATTRIBUTE INFORMATION: Through the smart contract, the attribute gives the ability to confirm or reject a transaction based on the rules set on the non-financial and intangible value of an organisation / project / product / process / person connected to the seller, the buyer, or a third party. The rule is coded into the smart contract at t the minting of the Seratio Alt-Coin and the Proof-of-Value confirmation of the above rule is set via the S/E platform which draws its data from information provided by stakeholders. An example of use are in Impact Investment where a transaction may only take place if the impact is achieved. This gives much greater control to the users of the coins, which is highly attractive to organisations and corporates and will encourage their move towards cryptocurrency use.
MICROSHARE TRANSACTIONS: We have devised a non-financial token, the Microshare, which represents the transaction of a non-attribute value gained through volunteering, social credits, being a care giver, buying products with positive provenance, shopping in the ‘good’ retailer, etc. Microshares can be transacted through the Seratio Coin but do not have to be featured in any Seratio transaction as a rule, simply optional; equally a Seratio Coin could only transact Microshare on some occasion, with no financial value. The Seratio blockchain will be a ledger for both financial value and Microshares. Microshares can be credited to your wallet through many ways including physical loyalty cards, and can equally be transferred into other reward mechanisms including normal FIAT currencies to gain benefit. Microshares are a feature and store of value. They can be used as a discount, transacted in their own right or in time, converted to cryptocurrency or FIAT.
SERATIO ALTCOINS: We believe that all transactions will one day recognise both the financial and non-financial aspects of value and want to build a world where there are branded Seratio coins for all kinds of strong vibrant communities that transact including women, particular religious faiths, city inhabitants, corporate CSR, product provenance, etc. These coins all have the values of their community attached to them captured through the S/E metric specifically for that community (eg. women’s values, Islamic values, Christian values, etc) including pre-existing certificates from the community, accumulated and recognised through issuing Microshares, These Alt-Coins will always be trading at a uniform Seratio price but aimed at different communities with different values with the Microshare component only recognised values, beliefs and actions aligned to that community. The branded coin will thus transact your financial value based on the non-financial values that you hold eg. how good beliefs. We do not believe that this will dilute the market as we all hold differing beliefs (coins) and there are millions of communities all with their unique coin but interchangeable with other Seratio family coins. The Seratio Family Brand, will become known as “The Cryptocurrency with Values”. Recognising there are different value sets, for each community group, whilst sharing overarching standards of exchange, acceptance and recognition, all of which create confidence, stability and growth.
As people hold more than one belief or are a member of more than one community, so it would be normal for us to hold multiple branded coins in our wallets. Any new minting of the Seratio Alt-coin will create new markets and new demand. This will ensure the continued expansion and usage of Seratio Coins, a benefit to all users and leading to Circular Economy of monetary exchange and values.
Innovation Districts, Blockchain and City Coins
Blockchain (BC) as a General Purpose Technology can protect innovators while incentivizing innovation. BC can help with patent registry and publication, but, beyond that, it can provide overall transparency and accountability to transactions in an Innovation District (ID). Crypto Currencies can foster markets of holistic values within the perimeters of such districts. Special DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, can help run ID by encoding their operational
rules in Smart Contracts to improve efficacy and governance.
Seratio Coins are a new Crypto Currency to facilitate exchange of tangible and non-tangible values with measurable social impact. They are based on the Social Earnings Ratio developed by CCEG,
Center for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance, to help comply with UK’s Public Services (Social
Value) Act 2012 that "require public authorities to have regard to social, economic and environmental
well-being in connection with public service contracts”.
City Coins (CC) can facilitate the exchange of these social earnings within the confines of public and
private space of a particular Place. Developed jointly by DigitalCivix and CCEG, CC can help create an inner economy of values pertinent to achieve the goals of each ID, and become relevant instruments for their “Place Management” operation.
As a complement to traditional measurement of the three main assets of an Innovation District: Physical, Economical and Networking, CC can measure, capture and trade values of key interactions between these three assets.
Our first suggestion is to consider the values of Proximity, Innovation Revenue, and Connectivity in a crypto-currency-based exchange of risks and rewards to induce ID Goals:
- To facilitate idea generation and accelerate commercialization,
- To co-invent and co-produce new discoveries for the market,
- To expand equal employment and educational opportunities,
- To promote compact, inclusive, integrated and connected urban environments
CC can link location, revenue and connectivity capital into a medium of payment, a unit of measurement, a standard and a store of value, to capture, translate, transact, and report interactions between ID subcomponents: Innovation drivers, Innovation cultivators, Neighbourhood building amenities;
Physical assets in the public and private realm, Physical assets that knit ID together and/or tie it to the broader metropolis; Networking assets that build strong ties within similar fields, and weak ties that build new relationships of knowledge. New funding opportunities and financial instruments can emerge from this exchange
The Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance (www.cceg.org.uk) is the leading not-for-profit global Think Tank on the Movement of Value with 106,283 members, 7000 Heads of CSR of the world’s largest companies and 2000 politicians. It is the curator of the Social Earnings Ratio, the fastest adopted impact metric in the world according to Vatican Press (here). CCEG has received over 100 commissions measuring a broad range of non-financial and intangible value (www.socialearningsratio.com) and operates a trading SaaS provider www.seratio.com underpinning laws internationally; in the UK the Social Value Act 2012 (www.publicvalue.online), Modern Slavery Act 2015 (www.modernslavery.com) and 5 commissions in the EU (www.socialvalue.eu). CCEG runs the IoV Blockchain Alliance for Good (www.bisgit.org) and the CCEG Blockchain UN Lab. It communicates through a bi-yearly journal Social Value & Intangibles Review, and regular newsletters (May 2017 Feb 2017)