Solarpunk and Web3

Posted on September 29, 2022Comments Off on Solarpunk and Web3

Some are looking to a new form of digital communication:

Web3 (also known as Web 3.0[1][2][3]) is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web which incorporates concepts such as decentralizationblockchain technologies, and token-based economics.[4] Some technologists and journalists have contrasted it with Web 2.0, wherein they say data and content are centralized in a small group of companies sometimes referred to as “Big Tech“.[5]“Web3” was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood

Web3 – Wikipedia

Here’s a take on Solarpunk from the cryptocurrency community – just published:

Solarpunk is a more recent movement in crypto/Web3, which seems to have formed in reaction to the individualist, libertarian-leaning streak running through Bitcoin. To solarpunks, Bitcoin has at worst morphed into an American-style populism – steakscowboy hatsboomer memes – and at best ossified into irrelevance.

Solarpunk is, then, a progressive label you wear to show you are not that type of crypto, not a bitcoiner, thereby deftly avoiding complete social suicide (at least until you bring up non-fungible tokens). But it’s an ambiguous term, which might as well be spelled as “hippy” to critics.

To critics, solarpunk is an empty concept with no meaningful content – little more than an aesthetic, which has roots in a sci-fi microgenre. Despite the term’s ubiquity in Web3 circles, solarpunk is not just another name for etherean, because they also reject the Ethereum-based market nihilism of DeFi degens (short for the degenerates of decentralized finance).

I cannot blame people for their suspicions about solarpunk because, curiously, nobody has attempted to explain what solarpunk is in our context. So, having sat around hoping someone else would do it, I present to you what solarpunk means within the world of crypto.

picture: DALL-E/CoinDesk

The three Ps of solarpunk Web3 (as I hope everyone will now call them) are closely related. The first, an emphasis on creating positive externalities, is based on a recognition of tech’s history of producing negative externalities, such as fake news spreading on Meta. Solarpunks are committed to conscious tech building, where you take into account the implications of your project beyond your immediate community.

The textbook definition for public goods, P number two, are goods that are non-excludable and non-rivalrous. This means you can’t stop anyone from using them and using them does not diminish them for anyone else. In the solarpunk context, it originally meant a focus on unprofitable but necessary infrastructure for the Ethereum ecosystem, but has since expanded to helping fund good causes beyond Web3 as well.

Finally, positive sum world-building is the guiding star for solarpunks – the effort to build a better world for tomorrow. If contemporary crypto culture is focused on financial immediacies (like rug-pulling or raising funds just to raise funds), solarpunks attempt to break the cycle by actually building public goods with positive externalities that last beyond us, at a civilizational level.

What Are Solarpunk and Lunarpunk Anyway?

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