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Coordinating the REA community of practise

pospi edited this page Jan 9, 2020 · 28 revisions
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This is an attempt to put to paper all of the various groups & projects interested in REA accounting on Holochain, specifically the Holo-REA project (and the ValueFlows protocol on which it is based).

The intention for this document is for it to be a foundation and a starting point for further clarification. I have made assumptions. I will be misrepresenting things. I might be putting you on the spot. Your job, as the reader, is to edit this page and correct me where I'm wrong (;

May this lead to better communication, tighter collaboration, and beautiful outcomes for all.

- @pospi, April 2019

(Incidentally, I'm not sure of the correct location to file this so it may move; but I'll keep a link to the new content here if it does. @thedavidmeister, @willemolding, @philipbeadle or anyone else who may have strong feelings about a better place for this- please feel free to copy it into an appropriate location within the Holochain project wiki or elsewhere.)

Organisations with an interest in this work

Will attempt to give a quick overview of the players (potential, committed and otherwise) in this arena. Please add github usernames, additional info, anything that you feel helps others in this group better understand your interests and milestones and connect with your team.

The github accounts & names I have tagged here are simply those I managed to locate / remembered to include, add more!

Holo-REA - @pospi, @sqykly

Commons Engine - Jean Russell, Ferananda Ibarra, Emaline Friedman

  • goals: build digital commons & bootstrap the Holochain app ecosystem, incubate projects, create communities of practice, asset-backed cryptocurrency and measurement infrastructures for Impact
  • working on legal structures & novel licensing to protect IP ownership for Holochain apps; see the Cryptographic Autonomy License
  • interested in providing ongoing financial support to developers working on commons projects, especially "meta-level" projects for the ecosystem
  • holding a cohort of Regenerative Agriculture projects that include supply chain apps as well as self-management and operations for food systems

Sensorica - The Sensorica OVN

  • Goals: develop and implement the open value network (OVN) model for commons-based peer production, applied to production of material goods.
  • A community of practice with a makerspace-type lab in Montreal, Canada.
  • An incubator for collaborative ventures, using collaborative entrepreneurship methodologies.
  • Was involved in the making of the NRP (network resource planning), developed in collaboration by Bob and Lynn, with help from Tiberius (Tibi)
  • Interested in building the next generation NRP, as the IT infrastructure to support economic activity in network environments, based on Valueflows / Holo-REA

Peer7 - @seajones7, @dukejones

  • goals: build the resource economy, fix the soil
  • REA-powered market-maker that isn't beholden to corporate politics. Legal entity to protect IP. Aims to use the Cryptographic Autonomy License, Peer Production License or similar to safeguard IP. Looking to La Via Campesina as benchmark of board calibre.
  • DirectHarvest is current project in the works: P2P market maker for natural resources. Structured as a for-profit C-corp. Peer7 will license software to DirectHarvest via one of the above licenses. @dukejones currently on board as lead developer, working on upgrading UI to GraphQL for eventual migration to Holo-REA backend.
  • future project lined up with Mwamba Mining (Gold industry)
  • primarily interested in planning & observation layers
  • currently contributing future financial support by way of DirectHarvest equity
  • interested in lending immediate financial support but unable to make this work yet
  • will provide development assistance once current client/server backend has been launched

Metavents - @metavents @samboyall

  • goals: make events sustainable and a force for social good
  • creating an event management and disaster recovery platform (the two areas are basically attacking the same problems)
  • interested in all layers of the ValueFlows stack, especially knowledge & planning
  • interested in lending financial and development support - @cosnick, @belindanoakes, @nmitch17, @forcize, @delroh

  • goals: champion story as a driving force in the value creation process
  • creating a publishing & storytelling platform.
  • distributed CMS and website builder
  • Patreon-like funding mixin (currently talking to Colin and Peer7 about this)
  • Creation economy and currency - tracking value and funding flows from intention to impact
  • currently working towards 3 month beta (basic blogging app), Holo-REA / economy stuff comes after that
  • working on legal frameworks, licensing and IP with our legal team and liasing with David Atkinson from Holochain.
  • primarily interested in planning layer & agreement-forming tools
  • interested in lending development support when it becomes relevant, if necessary

Hylo - @lorenjohnson

  • goals: help communities self-organise
  • creating an open-source community management and communication platform
  • interested in using REA for resource sharing functionality
  • mostly focused on observation layer for simple resource management functionality
  • interested in contributing compatible modules at the UI layer
  • hoping to be an early adopter / tester

bHive Bendigo - Ian McBurney, Clare Fountain

  • goals: create economic empowerment tools for local communities (Bendigo, Australia)
  • interested in using REA for resource sharing & coordination
  • mostly focused on observation & planning
  • hoping to be an early adopter / tester

BuildSort - @RyanHow

  • goals: disrupt and open up the construction industry supply chain, make the process of planning and building more streamlined and less risky
  • proprietary platform
  • requirements for group agents & therefore extra interest in the agent module
  • hoping to be an early adopter / tester

RedGrid - @redgridone

  • goals: create a sustainable alternative to Big Energy
  • building distributed energy trading systems, using a mutual credit approach coupled with IoT to intelligently distribute energy across microgrids
  • aiming to use REA to manage the accounting of energy flows
  • specific interest in Exchange functionality
  • hoping to be an early adopter / tester

WebCivics - @mediaprophet @webcivics @webcivics

  • goals: To re:define the knowledge economy, using a RWW see notes based extensible ecosystems. (seeAlso notes about Design of a New Medium

  • To produce an international internet governance tenant designed to support 'web civics', as a foundation to the creation of an international knowledge banking industry.

  • To Advance relevent W3C ( IP POLICY ) / IETF IEEE ( example royalty free standards & related policy infrastructure to improve support for the implementation of socioeconomic web-systems in a knowledge economy built upon human-centric ideals, as to protect 'freedom of thought', amongst the many considerations.

  • To re:define the 'terms of work' in the knowledge economy ('knowledge work')

Interest in REA

  • Interest in supporting the growth of the holochain community in hopes it will develop as to be a 'fit for purpose' technology constituent to far broader works.
  • Interest in supporting works not currently employing RDF / OWL (SemWeb) methods to expand 'world-view' to be equipped as to support broader 'web-scale' implementation capabilities
  • Interested in ensuring interoperability with broader RWW related standards based technology stack
  • Interest in resolving issues relating to the implementation of energy-effective micro-payments infrastructure.

NOTE: Intellectual Property of works by @webcivics (inc. Trust Factory as registered in Australia) & @mediaprophet is controlled by @ubiquitous. Work on W3C and related open-standards environments shared pursuant to their IP Structures; Content on sites such as webizen au, google documents and similar shared on Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) with alliance based engagements (shared values) available for those interested. Web Civics is dedicated to Human Rights and the articulation of our principles as is in-part a foundation for our Australian Way

Copyright, IP and license holding

It is of really no consequence to the Holo-REA team who develops which modules and who holds their IP, so long as the IP is sufficiently protected in the public domain and uses open and permissive licenses (any of the above-mentioned more cutting-edge ones should they emerge under favourable light in the OSS community; otherwise Apache or MIT).

For those groups already working on such legal protections, what is known about their efforts is detailed above. The hope is that some of these groups can collaborate and share learnings as they forge new territory into the legal system. In any case, the first one to get their ducks in order and offer something appropriate will likely become holder of the Holo-REA IP.

@artbrock tells us the Holochain Foundation could be used as a fallback copyright holder in the event of unforseen delays and complications, though it's stewarded by a loose handshake agreement.

The organisational nature of some groups has been denoted to best efforts in order to assist with the license reasoning process, though much is still unknown.

Status of the ValueFlows (VF) protocol

The VF core vocabulary is an implementation of the REA (Resource-Event-Agent) model, along with several software experiments. But, the VF community very much want the input and questions of end-users interested in building applications which conform to the spec. The general rule with ValueFlows is that they do not do 'build it and they will come', and the roadmap of the protocol is mostly driven by application demand.

If there is something you are struggling to model that you believe is missing, it is recommended to file an issue in the official repository. Either you improve the standard or you learn how to model what you require and contribute documentation for others- win/win. To simply hang out and connect with the ValueFlows community or fire questions at them, their Gitter chatroom is the best place to find them.

The standard is continually evolving, but the core is solid enough to depend upon on a release-by-release basis. One current effort is to tie off all loose ends and decide how things look in GraphQL-land, as the project has been documented as RDF.

As mentioned in the Holo-REA team summary, ValueFlows is a collaboration ongoing across many platforms, programming languages and systems. This necessitates some powerful tooling for keeping all efforts synchronised and compatible. That's what the ValueFlows GraphQL reference is for- not just as a reference specification, but as a validator which can detect incompatibilities in any API aiming to work to the spec. The issues in this repo are the best indication as to the progress & readiness of the GraphQL version of the protocol. Note the potential & desire to use the reference spec as the implementation where possible.

For many reasons GraphQL is becoming the de-facto standard for defining system boundaries, and all ValueFlows-related projects have been independently converging on this area. In the event that your backend system does not present a GraphQL API, creating a client-side adapter is reasonably straightforward already and will only get easier.

This technology also provides a foundation for drop-in UI components which can be ported between systems as simple, lightweight modules including all necessary backend logic, without any code changes necessary to port between different backend platforms. This is why related efforts such as the Open App Ecosystem, Open Cooperative Ecosystem and Holochain UI are considered as "ValueFlows-compatible" software.

VF will also continue to maintain its RDF-based standard at its core. And will add a json-schema reference based on the graphql reference.

Modules in the REA API suite

Details of the proposed module breakdown and user-interface components have now been moved to Modules in the Holo-REA framework.

Strategic summary

Outdated: this section requires review and re-alignment with the revised Modules in the HoloREA framework and new potential integration partners in the mix.

Required REA dependencies

There are certainly some components which can be considered as standard requirements likely to be used by most systems implementing REA-like functionality. These are listed below, along with the groups who (based on initial analysis) depend on different parts of the Holo-REA framework for core functionality. It is presumed that pretty much everyone will need things like 'file upload' and 'comments'.

This matrix can help us to inform the relative priority and importance of different modules when scheduling milestones; and may provide clarity for organisations wondering where to place their development effort.

X = required
? = unsure
i = ideally available
(blank) = not required

Dependencies agent group observation planning knowledge ontology CFAs
DirectHarvest X X X i
Metavents X X X X i X
Humm X X i X
Hylo X ? X i i i
bHive X X X i
BuildSort X X X X ? i ?
RedGrid X X X

Module stewards

Unless indicated otherwise above, all modules are currently being developed by the Holo-REA team. There are some informal offers for assistance from a handful of community members, but regardless we are a small and understaffed team given the task ahead.

Our hope is that other groups will take on the responsibility of engineering some modules and drive their development with 'external' (hoping this term loses all meaning) involvement from us, not the other way around. @pospi has put some suggestions in the below table where stewardship seems appropriate to them.

agent Holo-REA
group Holochain (delegated authority = core feature?)
observation Holo-REA
planning Holo-REA
knowledge Metavents
ontology WebCivics
CFAs Metavents

Next steps & path forward

These last couple of weeks have been a lot of information to process and a lot of conversations to have, and it will take some time to convey all our individual understandings and cohere into action. We will probably need to have some community meetings to connect and strategise (I imagine Commons Engine will coordinate that). It all begs the question- can we augment these coordination activities to make them easier, and also scale them to work in larger group sizes? How do we create a management system for global-scale collaboration?

...yeah, it's obvious I've been talking with @mediaprophet and other semantic web people, because the answer I have is that there's an ontology for that.

Ideally, this gives us an avenue towards collaborating with not just Holochain but communities outside of it. How can we do an integration between Hylo and Solid? How can we make Holochain semantic web compatible? If we can join those two communities, potentially we can get SemWeb people and Holochain people contributing in each other's spaces— we can certainly get SemWeb people contributing to ValueFlows, because that's where it originated and all the core members come from a SemWeb background.

Possible steps forward:

  1. Finalise the above matrices and company definitions and formalise them as StratML/foaf/etc records.
  2. Implement a Solid server as a Holochain zome (seems simple, just HTTP verbs and RDF storage; you'd have to allow raw HTTP through the zome API though). This would also provide a foundation to enable the simple and speedy creation of various ontology DHTs.
  3. Connect the Holochain "collaboration database" to the global network of existing Solid PODs, allowing anyone to pick and choose where to store their data (at zero effort).
  4. Show other devs how to interact with it and encourage others to contribute.
  5. Build interfaces around managing this data and launch some kind of awesome global collaboration platform. @rushkoff is always saying, "find the others". Tools like this should be in everyone's contacts database.
  6. Extend with other ontologies to enhance functionality; specifically intersections between users, locations, projects & concepts / 'hashtags'. The importance of this kind of "ecosystem mapping" tool keeps repeatedly coming up for me in a variety of contexts lately.

Relevant prior art in this area:

Just some hair-brained suggestions. All comment, improvement & thoughts welcome. Please feel free to update this page directly and to use this project's issues to debate topics, ask questions or coordinate with other contributors.

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