Other Internet: RGPF Self-Nomination

I’m writing to nominate my organization, Other Internet, as a recipient of Namada’s RGPF program. Other Internet’s work falls into the social research, art, and philosophy category of Namada’s public goods initiatives.

Other Internet is a nonprofit applied research institute, focused on how the internet is remaking collective digital infrastructure, spirituality, and production. We study how legacy organizations are being unbundled, and research and develop much-needed models of governance, citizenship, and political philosophy for these novel organizational forms.

Historically a core area of investigation and applied experiments has been blockchains and crypto protocols. We’ve published a number of influential articles that leverage social theory to explain novel aspects of cryptoeconomic protocols, pioneered ethnographic methods of protocol research, and have become involved in Uniswap governance. Some of key works include:

A significant portion of our work also falls outside the crypto space, exploring other areas where digital media are changing selfhood, identity, and society. Our project on Lore explores memory and the production of history in internet communities, and we’ve also researched on-the-ground governance communities. While blockchains are creating a new type of “networked public,” we are equally interested in understanding how to “ground” these digital networks in ways that enables capital, talent, and resources to return from virtual to material and local economies.

Some projects we are pursuing in 2023 include:

  • A second iteration of our trial educational initiative, Campus Complex, an on-the-ground “networked public” school system that orients learning towards a revitalized material world.
  • Web3 Work, a cross-protocol study of labor practices across DAOs, with a special focus on social security and retention.
  • An expanded residency program that will onboard more researchers to our style of work.

As a final note: in one of our previous articles, Positive Sum Worlds, we advocated for crypto institutions to make positive externalities (initiatives that benefit parties other than tokenholders) axiomatic to the meaning of their public goods initiatives. We’re excited that Namada’s RGPF program makes such “external public goods” a core category, and would be proud to affiliate ourselves with the initiative.