Designing Speculation, Creation and Gift

The workshop participants at Economia Festival helped define some “magic numbers” in the Warhols currency design, in this way influencing the three economies (Speculation, Creation and Gift) programmed into this experimental digital money.

market3One of the decisions was to make losses more likely than gains in the Speculation Economy. Would people keep spending their Warhols using this option even after realizing this fact? It’s one of the things we were hoping to find out. Coincidentally, another experimental art currency launched in the festival, the Egonomia, also featured a speculation option. But they adjusted their odds for winnings outnumbering losses. The first person to figure this out started to bet all his ego-money, acquiring big piles of this paper currency. The festival venue bar had a deal to accept as payment for drinks, and they rushed to inform the artist his tab was getting huge. The result: the experiment was halted.

fountainoverflowIn the Gift Economy, our choice was to offer Warhols in a “pay it forward” manner. People agreed to perform an act of kindness and in exchange received a random amount of Warhols. The decision was to reward generosity without establishing a price for it. In this way it would not so much resemble a monetary transaction. After all, kindness is priceless – and valuable.

One of the ideas is to add reminders so after a few days the users will be asked if they had already performed their chosen act of kindness and how was the experience. The Warhols can then evolve with the feedback from currency users, and suggestions for improvement will be put to test in future events.

vouchersTo get a glimpse on how the currency was used during the festival, you can check the Warhols Channel. There you will find an archive of important events, such as results in the flavors market, gift fountain distributions, as well as all the content added by users to the Creative Economy.

For future events, the Warhols can be configured with different settings and we will see the results of these currency design choices in the three economies.


A peek at the Warhols Currency Design workshop at Economia Festival in Eindhoven

Lenara Verle

Lenara Verle researches media art, collaboration and alternative currencies.

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