Sep Kamvar, co-founder of Celo, begins his talk by drawing a parallel between mycelium, the underground network of mushrooms, and the concept of Celo. He highlights the intricate communication and computation capabilities of mycelium, referring to it as a biological nervous system. Kamvar raises questions about the intelligence of forests and whether the organism is the entire forest or individual trees.
Kamvar asserts that at various levels, from cells to the whole Earth, there exists a simultaneous state of being an organism and an ecosystem. He introduces the concept of a “wholeon,” a term coined by Arthur Kessler, to describe this duality. Kamvar emphasizes that he feels both like a whole and a part of something greater, underscoring the need for agency and communion.
Kamvar discusses the values upon which Celo is based: unique purpose and connectedness. He contrasts these values with the prevalent organization of our modern world, which often neglects individuality and community bonds. Kamvar points out that many societal systems, including education, housing, and agriculture, revolve around an industrial notion of self-interest rather than honoring unique purpose and connectedness.
Kamvar introduces the idea of a financial system that acknowledges and supports unique purpose and connectedness. He identifies three intrinsic sources of wealth: the unique talents of individuals, the strength of communities, and the health and biodiversity of ecosystems. He proposes economic solutions for each of these sources: universal basic income and financial access, community commerce, and natural capital-backed currencies.
Kamvar emphasizes the need for a regenerative financial system that not only includes all people and communities but also fosters the well-being of the environment. He advocates for changing the story around money, recognizing it as a technology with features that can be altered. Kamvar presents five features of money that can contribute to a more beautiful world: universal basic income, demurrage, natural capital-backed currencies, community currencies, and the creation of money without new debt.
Kamvar explains that the realization of these features requires the development of corresponding technologies. He mentions the need for identity protocols, efficient client support, and smart contract platforms to facilitate universal basic income and other financial innovations. Kamvar draws a parallel between technology and storytelling, stating that technologies are stories with wings.
Kamvar acknowledges that while Celo serves as a foundation, it is the community of stories and technologies that will shape its future. He highlights various projects, such as Impact Market and NG NFTs, that will contribute to the growth and impact of Celo. Kamvar concludes by expressing his gratitude for being part of the Celo community and emphasizes that Celo’s evolution depends on the unique purpose and connectedness of its members.