Our purpose is to build tools for a catallactic society. A catallactic society is a society built upon the foundations of the theory of catallactics. Where catallactics is the theory of the market economy; i.e. of exhange prices and ratios.
With the advent of blockchain technology and an open-source financial system, we believe that our society is largely shaped by the principles of a new type of evolving market system: one that is based on the principles of catallactics.
Therewith we have also experienced an increased dependency in our market economy upon a new form of interpersonal exchange that is based on cryptographic principles and p2p networks. Without these exchanges, there is no liquidity, and therefore there are no prices or ratios either.
For this reason, we aim to build tools that cater to this new market economy and to the overall benefit of society as opposed to its regression or undoing
A History of Interpersonal Exchange: From Byzantine to Blockchain
The Exchange relation is the fundamental social relation. Interpersonal exchange of goods and services weaves the bond which unites men into society. - Ludwig Von Mises
- Standard definition: an exchange between two or more persons
- Updated definition could be more generalised: an exchange between two or more parties that can apply to more than just people
These exchanges are generally undertaken by way of some form of communication. This communication between parties can be divided up into three main parts:
- Communication: Within context of communication Interpersonal exchange can be defined as communication between two or more parties;
- Information: These two or more parties generally communicate Information or data with each other;
- Exchange: This data or information travels between one party to another by way of an Exchange. Information or data leaves one source and enters another. Then this information is responded to. The exchanges follow an input-output mechanism and this holds true for both humans and technology.
The advent of the Blockchain has largely redesigned and grown interpersonal exchange as we know it and this article will touch briefly upon its evolution, “from Byzantine to Blockchain.”
Part One: Byzantine
- Systemic/Situational Definition: Excessively complicated, typically involving a great deal of administrative detail.
- Historical/Systems of Rule Definition: Inspired by Byzantine Empire, meaning unbalanced and subject to corruption.
- Definition in context of this article combines both, using excessive administration of the old world and abuse of power as items the Blockchain has sought to replace with more efficient operations.
Interpersonal exchange from a byzantine standpoint can be divided up into the following three categories:
- Historical/Complexity: From an historical standpoint, interactions between persons during the time of the Byzantine Empire (founded 330AD, dissolved 1453) were notoriously violent and conflictual. Thus systemically the era was notoriously complex. byzantine complexity refers to an idea or system that is complicated, secret, and difficult to change.
- Theoretical: Byzantine General’s Problem is a problem inspired by the theory that, using the Byzantine Empire as an example, a general encircling a central point (such as an enemy camp) with his troupes wishes to either attack or retreat, depending on the report of a messenger who can gather inside information from this central point and bring it back. It refers to purposeful miscommunication/misinformation by a messenger that is intended to confuse a collective action arrived at by means of consensus and therefore foil attempted actions therefrom.
- Technical: Byzantine Fault/Tolerance:takes this concept of misinformation and applies it to distributed computing systems.
As a technological solution, the Blockchain has the potential to take the financial systems of old and decrease their byzantine complexity by making the global financial system more transparent (emphasising the truth and not secrets/lies), less complicated (by way of increasing efficiency) and is immutable (cannot be undone and therefore cannot be changed). The how of this will be explored further in the paragraph to follow.
Part Two: Blockchain:
The Internet created a link between persons exchanging communications and technology. It helped individuals exchange information with one another without the need for any face-to-face interaction to occur. The Blockchain digitized the concept of interpersonal exchange further by emphasizing the following three components:
- P2P exchanges, w.o. intermediaries: The Blockchain paved the way for interpersonal exchanges wherein the exchange of information or assets could not be intercepted by any third party by using peer-to-peer encryption methods. Therefore parties involved in exchanges had the ability to keep these exchanges private and away from prying eyes.
Emphasis on increased security for exchanges continues to grow as further crytographic research is applied in the field. Elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) is an example of a type of encrytion being used in research, and is used for encryption by combining the key agreement with a symmetric encryption scheme.
- Input-Output as a form of exchange: I/O is defined as communication between an information processing system (such as a computer) and the outside world. This outside world can be another information processing system of human being. Blockchain has provided people with a speedier way to communicate and to exchange information by enabling the exchange of information to occur simulataneously between both humans and information systems (humans communicate an input into a computer and this computer in turn communicates this information to another computer. This other computer receives this information and output and by extension so does the person on the other end of that communication who is using it).
This mechanism for exchange was initially enabled by the invention of the Internet but the Blockchain takes it a step further by promising a similar communications system whereby information processing systems no longer have to rely on sharing their communications with humans because they can become autonomous.
- Continuous, immutable, autonomous exchanges (iteration) This independence is achieved in a variety of ways and its success ultimately depends on finding a language that all blockchains can collectively apply, understand, and use to communicate and collaborate with one another. An important factor in this is ensuring that the language blockchains speak when communicating and exchanging information with one another is repetitive – therefore by extension, easy for each chain to pick up and to follow.
This repetition from a mathematical standpoint can be seen as iteration. Ultimately, this iteration if implemented properly and using a universal language that all blockchains can understand has the potential to give blockchains their full autonomy. They can furthermore use it to communicate and exchange information with one another to continue growing a cooperative system amongst themselves.
Part Three: How does interpersonal exchange tie into a catallactic society?
The advent of blockchain technology has changed the face of society as we know it. We now exist within a new kind of society. A society that runs on a series of interpersonal exchanges of digitized assets in a digitized market economy. We call this new society a catallactic society.
Part Four: The tools we build
Amir Taaki’s example of tools: Our approach to tool-building using software as a means for doing so is inspired by Amir Taaki’s approach to tools.
As technologists, our job is to build tools for people to use. And we find ourselves in an empowering position because of the legacy left to us by many people over history who built the technology with certain ethics and morals in mind. As someone with a huge amount of skill you have a responsibility to carry that legacy onwards. - Amir Taaki
Part Five: Acknowledgements
Thank you to Arie Levy-Cohen, Reto Trinkler, Mark Greenslade, Bruno França, Hector Chu, Hervé Fulchiron and Seraya Takahashi for input and team support.
Part Six: Resources/Further Reading
Trinkler Software’s Bruno França’s research paper, Homomorphic Mini Blockchain Scheme, which touches upon the concept of elliptic curve cryptography and its use cases in further detail Homomorphic Mini Blockchain Scheme
Bruno França’s Agora blog post about Trinkler Software’s Imagewallet, which goes into further detail about What is an Imagewallet? by Bruno França
List and further iterations of tools Trinkler Software AG is currently building Company Website
Video: Amir Taaki’s take on tools: Amir Taaki: We are the Custodians of Life’s Meaning
For any inquires contact firstname.lastname@example.org.