This blog archives things I’ve written about art, the moving image, and the mass collaborative potential of the staking internet.
THE STAKING INTERNET Proof-of-stake uses a security deposit model for blockchain management. That is, it’s an incentivized method for managing blockchains, which is proposed as an alternative to the excessive resource consumption of the proof-of-work protocol.
My interest in staking is as a form of mass collaboration. Broadly speaking, the first internet gave voice to the individual, and gave a home to niche concerns. Communities were built based on common interests without regard to location of participants. This ability to “connect” people was a much-ballyhooed capacity of the early internet. The next internet gives this connected populace new powers; specifically, a new understanding about the kinds of self organization the network makes possible. With the first internet, platform interfaces like Facebook and Google brought communities together—and grew massively rich in the process.
The next internet changes the narrative. Power shifts away from the internet giants, by giving voice not only to niche but also collective interests. With the current internet, the value created by network effects has accrued to the entities that own a platform and its network. By contrast, staking enables the value created by a network effect to accrue to the users of that network. Staking is an incentive/disincentive mechanism for the alignment of group action. As such, staking presages cryptocurrencies creating a new kind of internet, one based on the self-organizing tools blockchain makes possible. This includes the mainstream emergence of the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), a format for collective governance, as a new type of online organization. An “internet with stakes” has the potential to empower a global network of users. The staking internet is the next internet.
My research essay, The Staking Internet, was written for the Vancouver arts nonprofit 221A, as part of a 200-page research report, commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts, that looks at the blockchain’s potential as an institutional technology. In the essay, I outline a brief history of this emergent culture that blockchains make possible. I also recommend that 221A explore setting up a staking pool; i.e., pooling the crypto resources of participants with the purpose of earning crypto dividends on a staking network. Overall, the project’s goal would be to create better awareness about the next web and its utility for new forms of collective intelligence and network-based collaboration.
221A – Editorial Director: Blockchains and Cultural Padlocks Digital Strategy Research Report I was the Editorial Director of the 200-page publication, Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks Digital Strategy Research Report. Commissioned by 221A, a Vancouver arts organization, the report looks at blockchain’s potential as an institutional technology, outlined 221A’s key positions and partners, and produced papers surveying our culture’s ability to enable new models for digital cooperativism.
The study leverages cultural and equity-based perspectives, using critical theory, social and economic justice lenses to foreground systemic and ecological imperatives for the technology. BACP’s research papers consider blockchain technology beyond tech startup orthodoxy, and reflects how the technology might capture the imagination—in an art context and beyond. Authors include myself; artist Julian Yi-Zhong Hou; artist and theorist Patricia Reed; and critical geographer Maral Sotoudehnia. BACP Lead Investigator Jesse McKee also contributes an editorial essay.
221A – Non-Profit Crypto Finance Working Group (September 2021 – September 2022). With a network of cultural, educational and non-profit partners, the working group will gather and develop the knowledge about crypto finance needed to benefit the non-profit, educational and cultural sectors. The group is assembling a cross-sector team of organizations, from the worlds of visual art, design, film, architecture, music, and digital culture. The questions the group will research—e.g., fiduciary duties, risk/reward equations, governance mechanisms—will comprise a basis of knowledge that can be further disseminated across sectors. More info about 221A here.
- Rosemary Heather, Lead Consultant
- Sprillow, Consultant
- Visitor Media, Partner
- Art Gallery of York University, Partner
- Ethọ́s Lab, Partner
- Deep Blue, Partner
bioGRAPHY Rosemary Heather is an art journalist, curator, and most recently, a researcher with a specialization in blockchain staking. She writes about art, the moving image and digital culture for numerous publications, artist monographs, and related projects internationally. Recent interviews include Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Anna Khachiyan, Chris Kraus, Kent Monkman, Ursula Johnson, Dynasty Handbag, Ken Lum, Kerry Tribe, Hito Steyerl, Phil Collins and Candice Breitz. She is a co-author of the collectively written novel Philip, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2006). Exhibitions she has curated include: Screen and Decor (2013); Ron Giii: Hegel’s Salt Man (2006-2007); Serial Killers: Elements of Painting Multiplied by Six Artists (1999); and I beg to differ (1996). From 2003-2009, Rosemary Heather was the editor of C Magazine (Toronto). From 2013-2015, she was Director of Publishing and Communications at Fogo Island Arts. Since 2015, she has worked in the blockchain industry as a writer and researcher. Clients include: Wellpath.me (Brooklyn); BitBlox Technologies Inc. (Toronto); Pegasus Fintech (Toronto); Blockgeeks (Toronto); Bitcoin Magazine (Tennessee); Decentral (Toronto).