C> (Cointribute)

C> or Cointribute

So let’s say a member joins and ½ their dues go to an indivisible capital fund in the possession of Cosmos exclusively. And the other ½ goes to LitCoin. LC is the singular play currency (with the dimcoin aspect) and in that transaction, that’s all that’s created: dues to Cosmos, which are dedicated to cover the basic needs of the enterprise, and which a member individually cannot control (except through means of governance); and LC, which a member is in control of and can autonomously “play with” within the system, with Cosmos hosting it but not directing it uses.

OK. Now there IS another coin, but it’s special–you cannot buy it with money and it is not on the basis of your “stake” in the company. It is C>. It can only be acquired, not by money, but by participation.

Patronage, in a traditional co-op, is a members’ claim to a portion of the system’s “excess or surplus earnings” that is proportionally tied to how much economic participation that member did with the co-op—that is, what portion of the co-op’s overall “business” (or revenue-generating activities) that particular member caused. So, if Member A did $10,000 worth of business with the co-op and Member B did $1,000 worth of business with the co-op in a given year, the profits would be divided up on a 10:1 ratio and returned to those members.

C> is effectively the form in which members’ patronage is disbursed. The more profitable Cosmos as a whole becomes, the larger members’ payouts of C>.

C> is like the “retained earnings” portion of the patronage–meaning Cosmos “retains” that value for the purpose of improving its platform and services. But, and uniquely to Cosmos, members have the power to autonomously dictate how those profits in their name (taking the form of C> coin) is spent within Cosmos on proposals to improve the system .

By tax law in the U.S., at least 20% of a member’s patronage needs to be distributed to them in cash (to cover their individual tax obligations). So, 20% would be distributed in LC, and the rest would be dripped as C>.

C> is a token that can only be spent internally, whereas Litcoin, if it is “lit,” can be cashed out. But an individual’s C> balance can never be cashed out by that individual. C>, once allocated to a project of desire, can be “spent” by Cosmos on the implementation of the project.

C> is calculated on the basis of participation: the more participation a member generates, the more C> they would receive. Participation would be measured across a multiplicity of factors, including considering multiple types of capital.

Consider that this is not the same as in a corporation, where the amount of stock you own correlates to your voting influence. C> is not tied to your official ownership stake, but to your patronage —your share of the profits based on how much you actively patronize the site. Influence via C> is presented as a reward of quality/meaningful participation . This relationship, between influence and mutual validation within the game , is an intuitive and natural one.

This is acceptable because participation is of utmost value to the actual thriving of Cosmos. Rewarding it in a way that has token internal value, as a kind of “perk,” makes sense to incentivize meaningful participation—not only because you have the opportunity to earn LC from your peers valorizing you, but also from valorization by the system in the form of dripping C>. Indeed, members are valorizing Cosmos by their participation with it. Thus, C> is a means of capturing and circulating the abundance generated by mutual valorization, enabling new levels of attainment and of the potential becoming more “fleshed out” throughout the “whole.”

Calculating C>

In Cosmos, which strives to recognize many forms of capital and value, C> would be calculated by a complex formula, defined by members, assessing the value of overall contributions to the platform in the period. One possible factor would be the volume of LC transactions associated with one’s member account in a given month—irrespective of the cash value of the transactions—which may be one such “multiplier” factor affecting how Cosmos assesses the value of your contributions to the platform.

C> may even be treated as a direct “in-game only” measure of value for that which is not easily translated to economic value. For instance, in lieu of LC, a member can earn sweat equity for their contributions—that is, earn C> in Cosmos. Or perhaps a members’ skills, knowledge, and/or experience in a particular domain (evidenced by their possession and up-to-dateness of relevant badges) becomes a “multiplier” of the C> they can earn by participating in said domain. Whatever the algorithm ends up being, members can see and can affect it.

Attributing C>

Despite the mixing of methods of valuation, C>, as it connects to a members’ patronage dividend, has provisional dollar value on Cosmos’ books. But it is a special coin. C> is a way of expressing that you value that something be done “in your name” in Cosmos. It’s a means of expressing “what would you like to have happen?” Like implementing new value-adding features or prioritizing fixes for value-reducing bugs, members put their C> to the projects that would enhance their experiences on Cosmos. C> would then get spent on implementing those projects, and the overall platform would improve in quality, thus fostering ever-deeper member participation. As noted elsewhere, this represents a virtuous feedback loop of amplifying collective self-actualization.

Options for spending C> include:

  1. “Promote” (upvote) proposals for Cosmos-related or Cosmos-hosted projects (which generates a “matching fund” that Cosmos provides in escrow for promising proposals) AND delegate your C> to others to “upvote” on your behalf (see: Democracy.Earth coin).
  2. “Push” (promote/market) your favorite campaigns, your products/services, your peer’s great new work, etc. to others in the system, bumping it up in the algorithm’s likelihood to feed it into users’ attention feeds (intra-social media marketing).
  3. “Invite” (open up access) to a) yourself or another members to join exclusive/limited-seat spaces, such as being the first to test out a new feature; or b) to new members to join the site. This amounts to “discounted access” (with nominal monetary amount): on the basis of their C>, Member A is seen as “trusted” enough to open up access to new members.

Allocating C> signifies that you are “putting your weight behind” a given proposal, that you see it as valuable. This may be mirrored by Cosmos’ creating a matching fund attached to C> rates; thus the more C> (and not LC) a proposal garners, the higher its profile/credibility in the ranks of similar projects, enabling the project to potentially “outcompete” others for becoming fully-funded.

The second act enables the “pushing” or promoting of specific media or initiatives within the platform to others in the platform. Perhaps you could purchase the same intra-marketing services from Cosmos with LitCoin, but maybe it costs it is MUCH more affordable to buy it in C> (e.g. 1 C> = 10 LC on that particular function).

The third act is a special kind of sponsorship that is accorded as a special kind of perk, connected to distinct rare in-system opportunities, afforded to highly trusted, highly engaged members.

There may indeed be other perks that Cosmos can offer at a severely cheaper C> rate than LC rate, such as: early access to new limited-seat rides (aka alpha testers of a new feature/function).

Use your C> wisely!–because C> is vulnerable to void coin. (Like a veto.) If an invitee ends up having a negative impact, or if a proposal you backed falls apart later, these events can cost (via void coin) additional C> of the original member’s account. Void coin is a way for your peers to “take back” trust that was put into you. Use of C> as void coin is costly for all involved—therefore, loss of one’s C> through peers’ use of their void coin contraindicates your degree of trust in the system and may affect your access to future opportunities.

IMPORTANT: C> cannot be spent on constitutional matters. Those are one-member one-vote scenarios and may have high threshholds of majority voting (esp. true of “dangerous/destabilizing to change” algorithms). C> can only be spent on “playbook and plug-in” matters: that is, on the “game” of what Cosmos does “within its walls.”

On constitutional matters of governance, members vote on the basis of one member, one vote (per cooperative democratic convention).Common constitutional areas of governance include:

  1. Co-op expansion plans
  2. Leadership approvals
  3. Acquisition, merger, or dissolution
  4. Changing the bylaws (constitution)
  5. Constitutional-level algorithms (e.g. operational to “playable money” ratios)**
  6. Referendum to overturn a decision regarding any of the above (2/3rds majority?)

As for influencing what the organization chooses to invest in to better meet its members’ needs, however: this influence plays out through C>, reflective of intensity and value of a member’s participation in the system. C> functions like votes on “in-game” feature build-outs in Cosmos.

Other possible rules and bits about C>

Consider the possibility that C> could be even more valuable, dollar per dollar, than “cashing out” your personal patronage dividend as Litcoin, because it can only be spent internally . Let’s say you earn $5 patronage this month, translated to 5 C> this month, dripped to you as 4 C> and 1 LC (by rule). You could spend all 4 C> on a proposal you favored, and that might correspond, not to $4 of Cosmos’ money, but $8 due to being combined by some multiplier (the additional $4 deriving from Cosmos’ operational funds & cash reserves, ala the matching fund idea). Again, because the C> can only be spent internally, Cosmos should be able to account for the necessary funds to “back” the C> internally in its different accounts/its business model, and thus be able to cover “boosters” attributed to the express value of an C> coin within the game.

The bottom line is C> is more valuable than LC, “dollar per dollar,” in procuring things/services and actions from Cosmos , because it is essentially a gamified/tokenized version of the excess earnings that were retained internally and re-invested into Cosmos itself. C> can only be “redeemed” by interaction with Cosmos, though it can be handed to (delegated) other individuals. LC, distinctly, is exchanged and redeemed directly between individual members and between Cosmos and members. If LC is the practical and day-to-day dynamic expression of value among Cosmos users, C> is the aspirational, “long view” expression of value.

It’s possible for a member to delegate their C> to another member to vote with on their behalf. Aggregating C> in this way can lead to collective influencing of proposals and Cosmos’ resources.

C> can be accumulated and not spent in a given window (such as in the case where someone wants to “save up” their C> for a big “purchase” later on). Although there would be some restrictions in place so it didn’t stick around, unused, indefinitely. C>, like LC, may fade over time if unspent (I.e. may demur)—because as time grows distant from the events that generated value, the salience of those events diminishes, and new forms emerge.

A member may even take back (or, by rule, get handed back) their C> if they’ve attached their C> to a project that fails to get funded fully within its deadline. Now, because it was “sunk” in the project while it waited to meet its deadline, it may have lost a little value; nevertheless it is returned to the original holder. Indeed, one’s C> might not be held “locked” into that bucket. One might be able to just as freely put C> into a bucket as take it out, prior to its deadline (maybe minus a micro transaction fee).

The circulation of LC earns you credit/trust at the social sphere, because it is showing that you know how to appropriately acknowledge contributions made to the community/platform. If you tend not to give out LC, your trust/reputation factor naturally depletes. The system is set up to encourage abundant flows of LC: to abundantly and generously give LC would be measured as participation thus feeding your C> factor. C> represents your “degree of influence” on the future direction of Cosmos, braided to your involvement in Cosmos up to that point. So, C> is not explicitly a trust factor, but it is an acknowledgement of depth and extent of participation. Those with more C> may (but not necessarily) be viewed as more “experienced” with Cosmos.

The system would obviously review (manually in some cases) member contributions to eliminate the chance of spam & fraud. Like, say a member seems to have made 10K posts, far more than any other member that month, but they didn’t receive, nor give out, any LC for those posts. Hmm… That’s probably a bot, that’s probably fraud. It would be checking that the contributions were indeed validated/perceived as valuable. This could also extend to projects that are proposing, e.g., “we need $10K for the first iteration of our project proposal.” There would be a sense of due diligence, that either individuals or Cosmos would have to investigate to see if the proposal is realistic and viable. Certainly Cosmos would look closely at those numbers if it is setting up a matching fund through the provision of C> to go toward these projects–like a government agency, it would want to protect its members interests (even on wildly popular proposals) by verifying that the estimated resources needed and proposed impacts are appropriate. In other words, vetting the integrity of the proposal without commenting on the relevance/salience (which is truly determined by how members interact/engage with the proposal). This function could be performed by distributed third-party double-blind members (who have no stake, social or otherwise, in the proposal–like a jury) or by a Wisdom Council.

This model should iterate and improve with interaction & learning.

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sorry for asking a potentially “dumb” question, but how can C be both retained AND paid out? i must be missing something here.

Sounds/seems like the NYSE (among others around the world), publicly owned companies, i.e. capitalism. @madrush & I have talked about this, face-to-face, but not in so much detail w/r/t Cosmos. At root - who decides what is of value? Is it now a popularity contest, i.e. likes and/or clicks (which drives dollars/money) or is there something more? What is the currency? (My personal position is that food/protein/energy was the first currency, and remains paramount.) Who decides, a board of directors, a CEO, a god, a vote/democracy - who votes?

there is a very good model of value that i believe we could use: www.metacapital.net

according to your model of food/protein energy, that corresponds to the first chakra and so yes, a very foundational currency. there is a currency at each developmental level, so i suppose popularity/affection kind of corresponds to the second chakra. power to the third. these are basic currencies, but hopefully we don’t stop there, and we keep going into currencies of love, harmony, wholeness, and even unity.

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Not a dumb question at all @DurwinFoster! It’s a bit of an intricacy about how co-ops handle profits. A co-op has the option to retain the profits (for internal improvements / expanded “benefits” to members) or to disburse profits individually to every member, in cash (see below). (By IRS law, a co-op must disburse at least 20% as cash so an individual can cover their tax obligation re: their share of profits.) The ratio of how much gets retained and how much gets disbursed to individuals is decided and set as a policy by the co-op board (or whatever the executive governing body is) typically.

What I’m describing here is that Cosmos (the organization) retains almost all of the profits, but then–uniquely to any co-op I’ve ever seen–allows its members to direct the flow of those resources internally, through the token coin of C>. Those profits do get spent – internally – on improvements to the platform, in the form of bug fixes, new features, etc. thereby creating more jobs to improve the platform as a direct outcome of “excess earnings” aka profits, stimulating employment for its members (which is one of the ways Cosmos realizes its mission and benefits to members). Members get to directly assign their token profits internally, on whatever they wish to see prioritized within the Cosmosphere, and those resources will be put to use on modifying Cosmos.

Of course, this ratio (or “algorithm” in keeping with the lingo elsewhere in the Key Docs) could be changed by collective governance processes, such as to give members 50% cash back (probably in the form of liquid Litcoin) and keep 50% for platform improvements. It’s whatever we’d like it to be, and whatever optimizes outcomes.

Patronage is a concept unique to co-ops, I believe. Because each member is an owner, each owner shares in the profits (called “excess earnings” in a co-op). Their share of the profits is divvied up on the basis of participation. In a co-op, participation is typically measured solely economically (i.e., how much business Member A did with the co-op compared to Member B in a given interval), and calculated by accounting and bookkeeping methods (also unique to co-ops) in which all economic activity is tracked per each individual member. Of course, business that the co-op conducts (if any) with non-members becomes pure profit to the members, at the end of the day. The key idea of membership is that you own, control, and benefit from the co-op, in democratic governance with all other members.

The matter of what constitutes “valuable participation” gets muddier in Cosmos, because there are many dimensions to what we value here. So, how would we calculate financial profits? On what bases and according to what factors do we measure value created within the co-op? To define this, I hope will be a collective creative process. Or maybe we set a Constitutional range, and each individual can decide how they want their profits distributed: as C> or as LitCoin (maybe capping at a 20/80 split in either direction). The rules are up to us.

Perhaps this also answers your comment, @Mark_Jabbour

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