The Amazing Story of a Cryptocurrency that could save Greece (and Maybe the World)

use faircoin

The activist Enric Duran, known as ‘Robin Banks’, and collective has launched FairCoin     by Laia Gordi  
Enric Duran, also known as Robin Banks, met us in an encrypted chat room and told us that he still lives in hiding.“To defend myself I had to hack the monetary system, isn’t that strange?” he told me.
“The first years of hiding in the underground I was using Bitcoin for security reasons to manage some aspects of my situation”, explained Duran, who says the more he learnt, the more he realized the potential of ‘disruptive technology‘.
From then on  the idea a cryptocurrencies was born, which offers to replace the dependence on the states and the banks with the value of ‘integral revolution’ (revolución integral).
This revolution is a proposal of Duran and the collective for a postcapitalist society, which is based on the empowerment of people in the decision-making process in all areas of life, like the econony, in policy, in society, in culture etc., regardless of the state.
“In April 2014 I came to recover a cryptocurrency which had been abandonded, called FairCoin, and used it as a tool to build a global open cooperative which I baptized FairCoop”, continued Duran.
Fair the Earth cooperative for a fair economy Coop
the Earth cooperative for a fair economy
Since then, with Thomas König, an Austrian programmer who soon joined the project, this dispersed collective of activists and hackers have been dedicated to develop, test and imagine everything that is possible outside the capitalist world and states under a cooperative umbrella and a virtual currency.
How does FairCoin work (and Bitcoin)

Instead of being linked to a central bank, or a commodity, such as gold, the cryptocurrency is the unit of value and is linked to an algorithm, a mathematical formula that has a certain number of solutions.

Each time a computer or a set of computer solves the formula a unit value is created, like in the case of Bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency in the world. It is as if a group of programmers have designed a game. The rules of the game and the board are in sight of all, since it is an open source program, so all participants can evaluate so that nobody cheats.

The solvers play, earning points or Bitcoins, which is called “mining” in English, or engage in mining. But you can also buy cryptocurrency with other currencies or they can be given to you. The value of the cryptocurrency depends on supply and demand, not on the dollar or the neoliberal technocrats of the US Treasury; the more people involved the higher the value.

Shopping with #Faircoin today. Did some training about #Faircoin use right in the book shop 

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The mother board or program is called blockchain, which is like an open public accountingbook where you can see all peer-to-peer movements made, like in Bitcoins. This traffic also influences the value of the coin with respect to other cryptocurrencies. One specific disadvantage of Bitcoin is its high volatility due to a small market with relatively little money, therefore one can alter the price of the currency more easily. However the proponents say it is more difficult to speculate, or create a bubble because it has a mathematical tendency to grow and stabilize later.
But above all, the boom comes from the fact that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, independent of governments or banks and tax free. Critics say that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies generally are used extensively for allegedly money laundering and to buy illegal products and services.

FairCoin and a fair economic system from on Vimeo.

 However, as Duran explains, FairCoin is going one step further than Bitcoin. It changes the rules of the game. FairCoin has a mining system which is not dependent on the power of the computer and therefore is more egalitarian and more ecological. In addition, the group is working on a new algorithm that rewards cooperation rather than individual competition.
Also, the activists have set up four financial funds inside FairCoop, which are helping to develop the libertarian/anarchist ideas of the integral revolution on a global scale if the currency succeeds. The idea of Duran and his colleagues is that either everybody wins or nobody. FairCoop and FairCoin are betting that everybody who participates is on the same train where if one wants to win all have to win.
“Personal success will only come if the collective join and this collective success will cause the success of many autonomous and personal projects” appears on the screen when Duran clicked enter.
But the hacker behind the screen admits that this is a project which still leaves a lot of questions to be answered. FairCoin cannot avoid things like speculation, purchase of weapons or money laundering. “In a decentralized money system we don’t have tools to control in a strong sense”, he writes.

The FairCoin Logo
  •  FairCoin is the first fairly distributed crypto currency.
  • 99.99% Proof-Of-Stake, rewarding savers.
  • All the coins were premined and fairly distributed to thousands from all over the world.
  • Backed by a strong, diverse and committed community.
  • Promotes prosperity and financial freedom with real value.
  • Working to become the coin of fair trade.

 “What we have are organization and communication tools that promotes the use of FairCoin to cooperate, for solidarity to construct a new post-capitalistic society from which those profit, who wants to use it in this direction, while those who only seek the privacy of the currency already have Bitcoin or cash as an option”, he types quickly.
Using FairCoins is less abstract than it seems. The week from the 24th to the 31st of July the FairCoin week was held, where about sixty institutions, scattered around the world, were involved. Especially they highlighted 11 groups from Greece and 18 from Spain; Catalonia, Galicia and Valencia.
During this week you could receive 40 FairCoins, (about 2 Euros) after installing the ‘Wallet’ app on your mobile phone or computer and buy fair trade products in partner establishments.
“It is difficult to know the transactions made because there is no book keeper and not all movements which you can see in the blockchain are actual payments.  But it is clear that we are just at the beginning of using FairCoin as a medium of payment and tens of thousands of FairCoins have been moved this week, which amounts to a few thousand Euros”, Duran relativized.
During this week you could receive 40 FairCoins, about 2 Euros after installing the wallet app on your mobile phone or computer and buy fair trade products in partner establishments.

Fair Coop. The Earth cooperative for a fair economy from on Vimeo.

The presence of FairCoin has been imported into Greece this summer thanks to friends of Duran who have organized a summer camp on the Greek island of Crete from 15th of July till the 15th of August to create a cooperative network with local groups to get acquainted with the use of FairCoin and generate economic self-management through the ‘integral revolution‘, explained the activists from the camp.
“The FairCoop Team has caused much debate and activity in my city since I came to visit the camps”, says a Greek participant. “The revolutionary ideas which have been brought here, the energy and their warm personalities are essential to help us succeed. The worst of the Greek situation is that the unfulfilled promises of Syriza have contributed to the death of hope. The dictates of the Troika threaten people into accepting what seems inevitable, the nightmare of fascism”, he condemned.
Enric Duran became known in Catalonia when in 2008 he made public that he had stolen half a million euros from 39 Spanish banks in the form of small loans, which he never gave back. The money was allocated to social movements.
Then, with a group of Catalan activists, he founded the Integral Catalan Cooperative, which in fact, brought the idea of the so-called integral revolution into practice and was, from the Catalan scale, the embryo of FairCoop. The cooperative is a network, which ranges from restaurants, to housing projects, to health centers all of which are opting out of capitalism, as much possible, and practicing tax resistance, for example.
“This is a process of building a self-managed social practice outside state control and the capitalist system” finalized Duran, seeming to summarize his philosophy of life. Then he says he has to run to catch a bus.
“Goodbye and a hug” and the chat was closed.

Financial hacking with Faircoin

Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn’t initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin.

There have been several coins issued attached to good causes but without a clear monetary function. The idea is usually to set up a cryptocurrency, premine some, market the brand and sell the premines for a good cause. In this, there is no consideration of what makes the coin a desirable purchase, and the coin is so useless i.e. unused and therefore unusable, that its purchase constitutes little more than a straight donation.

It seemed to me that Faircoin was something similar, but making spurious claims about being more fair in its configuration. It was premined and distributed initially with an airdrop to everyone who had registered. Proof-of-stake is fairer and less energy intensive than proof of work. The undistributed premined coins were allocated for different areas of development. FairCoop activists were easily able to send the coins between themselves and convert them to Euros using Chip Chap.

As I probed I learned that Enric Duran, the mastermind of FairCoop who is famous for borrowing EUR500K and giving it to charity and who is now in hiding, was behind the scenes manipulating the Faircoin price to make it more stable. Clever perhaps, but also a cause for concern. Did he know what he was doing? With activists selling Faircoin for Euros, how long could Duran keep the price up before he ran out of resources and the price crashed?

When I visited activists in Barcelona a fuller picture emerged. It turns out that since wide publicity has lead to a strong demand for Faircoin, Duran containing the price for the sake of stability rather than inflating it. By constant buying and selling, he is cushioning users from the usual cryptocurrency volatility. Also he is not doing so only with his own resources but with a group of Faircoin holders. In a normal crypto this collective power would be extremely concerning but since Faircoin holders trust this group, it is extremely reassuring.fair coop

That’s what makes the difference in any financial system. Trust. The cryptocurrencies have attempted to remove trust from money, and in so doing have created dark and dangerous marketplaces. Faircoin is overlayed by the users’ trust in an outlaw “Robin Hood” character, and a pervasive ethic of solidarity.

Furthermore Faircoin is only part of a larger financial system that Duran is building. It is the part that provides a way to move hard value around and withdraw Euros when needed. Alongside that:

Faircredit, a mutual credit system (planned)
Fairsavings, a faircoin savings fund which gives a yield while the coins are used elsewhere in the coop
FairMarket, a directory of goods and services for exchange
Fairstarts, an incubator for small enterprises
Fairfund, a way of donating to various organs of Faircoop
Coop Shares, equity crowdfunding

Duran’s achievements in building a financial system outside existing structures are remarkable, and this templates and tools deserve more attention and more support from like-minded movements.

I think Faircoin would be more fit for purpose if Duran and his team were able to calm the price by issuing new coins, rather than using a preprogrammed release schedule. Publishing a target price for the coin and having the tools to maintin it, would deter speculators and reassure serious users.

  • By matslats at 05/22/2015 – 11:20



9 thoughts on “The Amazing Story of a Cryptocurrency that could save Greece (and Maybe the World)”

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