Circles in 2021

Happy New Year! As the Circles Coop team, we already started the new year with a lot of motivation and exciting projects. But first, we would like to share with you our progress and achievements for the last year. We were quite busy nurturing the Circles ecosystem, creating strong local connections while making ourselves more visible on the international platforms. We are growing, and please join us to celebrate our progress!

We celebrated the launch of Circles Shared Wallet, and it is out and running now! Shared Wallet allows businesses, cooperatives, families, projects join Circles, and start sharing resources with other groups and individuals. With a Shared Wallet, you can put your individual CRC credits together and organize joint projects with the people you trust. This wallet does not receive basic income. It is much easier to organize local economies as people can gather their resources together. It’s a big step towards creating a circular economy within our communities. Tutorial on how to use Shared Wallet is available here.

Circles Coop website is now out to give more understanding about Circles pluriverse and backup support to all groups around the world who would like to use Circles. Circles Coop also works on building up a flagship pilot in Berlin, where we can gain first hand experiences about the Circles system and improve it. Transparency is very important for us. We have published a public overview about how we are using our money, what incomes we have, and what we do with your donation on the Coop website.

We have improved our communication and materials incorporating the feedback of our community. We have updated our handbooktutorials and FAQ. Our FAQ is rewritten to provide everyone with an easily accessible resource about Circles.

Our alliance with the Bitspossessed developer collective became stronger, we made a short video with them explaining their work on Circles. You can follow them here on twitter, and on their website.

Our social media presence got bigger! In addition to our Twitter account, we are actively using Instagram (one general and one for Berlin) and Facebook accounts to create a broader network as well as our Telegram channels for community, and Berlin Bazaar. You can find our best photos on our Flicker site. Please follow us for up-to-date news along with facts and FAQs about Circles. Our main information source is still our Twitter account.

Circles Community is growing in Berlin!

We have been working on creating a strong cooperative business network in Berlin and Brandenburg . We have launched the businesses website to support local businesses to join Circles to start achieving a circular economy locally. On the website, as a business, you can find detailed explanation about how you can implement Circles currency. We would like to prove that a community based basic income is not just a wonderful idea, but can work in practice to provide people with a UBI. To see that in action, we have built local food circles between different producers, distributors, retailers and end-consumers. So far, we officially onboarded 23 businesses to accept CRC with products and services of foods/drinks, care, health, co-working spaces, arts, bikes, services, logistics, housing, and clothing. Check out our video to meet our Early Adopters!

We have organized several community gatherings and participated in local events to see Circles use in action. We have been hosting Berlin Assemblies every month, creating a space for the Berlin community to co-learn, exchange products and services in CRC. In the assemblies, we have organized a fresh market with our local partners to provide locally-grown food from Brandenburg, gourmet creations, artwork all available in CRC. Participants joined the assembly, discussing Circles and UBI and had the chance to experience CRC in use, while enjoying tunes from local bands. We would like to thank everyone who contributed! You can find the August Assembly video here.

Our local community has been growing and CRC was used to offer goods and services during the community gatherings, some of which were the local weekend market, Moos Space community events, Full Node Summer Party. Full Node also offers co-working spaces in CRC, extending the availability of services and products in the Circles network.

Our cool QR Code Buttons were printed to have easy access to Circles Wallet in the community events. Check out the vintage printing process here!

Circles at International Events

We have attended many local and international events promoting Universal Basic Income, community currencies to keep advocating for this new way of thinking about money and economy. Julio Linares, economic anthropologist from our team gave a talk on money, trust and alternative currencies at Lina Braake Bank, a fantastic installation by Sven Kalden in Berlin. Julio also organized a weekend workshop at ZKU Berlin on Neighborhood Value Creation, re-imagining exchange and value systems anew, and weaving a community together with local residents.

Circles team has also attended Crypto Commons Gathering (CCG21) in Austria, working towards building common digital paths to a decentralized future. Blanka and Andreas from our team presented our work and showed Circles in action to crowdfund the gathering in CRCs.

We also led a research group in The Freiburg University’s Institute of Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS). FRIBIS team “Network Analysis and Financial Diaries” (NetFi) researches community currencies and investigates their use in UBI pilot projects. First results of Circles network analysis are out. Watch the online seminar here, where various network analysis methods and the benefits & risks associated with using community currencies for UBI pilots are discussed.

Julio Linares has also joined the online Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Congress, 2021, presenting Circles UBI and how the idea of basic income can be realized through community currencies, sharing the session with the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto.

Our periodic International Assemblies were held to support the Circles community internationally, bringing together the ideas from all around the world to discuss how to implement Circles UBI in local communities. International Assemblies are held on the last Wednesday of every month (in English, Spanish and Chinese), more info here. Online Trust Parties were also organized to bring people together and support a trusting community to acquire access to Circles Wallets.

We have launched two crowdfunding campaigns, getting the support of our community to be able to continue with our work. We are very grateful for our regular and one-time donors. We also participated in the Gitcoin Quadratic Public Goods Fundraising Events GR 9–10–11–12. We had 10K contributions in total. We celebrated the power of community support, however big or small towards something we create together.

We participated in the worldwide Basic Income March in September, held in more than 30 locations, simultaneously around the world, to raise awareness for the rights of Universal Basic Income. As a Circes UBI team, we were at the Berlin location, and Julio & Blanka from our team gave a speech on how we should take initiatives to provide each other with a basic income rather than waiting until the state gives it to us.

Saraswathi Subbaraman from our team gave a seminar at Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, on how blockchains can support the development of a new of self-governed, economically sustainable commons-oriented communities.

Blanka Vay from our team represented Circles Coop at Mustardseed Jamboree, which is a foundation that contributes to the creation of concepts and good practices of care economies at local and international levels. You can find a short video here.

We were at The New Common Sense conference by the Platform Coop. The hybrid conference combining the in-person and virtual talks explored the ways how digital platforms can be guided by cooperative principles, and how platform co-ops could serve the (post-)pandemic digital economy. Blanka from our team talked about Circles UBI and how it can serve as a digital platform, a people powered money system which aims to promote the local economy within the community. You can find the video of the event here.

Our core team got bigger! We are now 12 people. We have new people to work on business development and networking. Collaborating with Bitspossesed team, we speak English, German, Spanish, Turkish, Catalan, Italian, Swedish, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Hindi, Kannada, Urdu, Hungarian and Irony=) and many programming languages Bash, C++, Go, Java, Javascript, Matlab, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Scala, Scheme, Solidity and Rust!

We gathered in Kyritz, Brandenburg as the Circles Cooperative and the Bitspossessed Collective to meet each other after so much time behind our computers and the pandemic. Circles is a very complex system. We pondered the balance between having a pragmatic solution to our present social and technical difficulties and the idealism of building a truly distributed monetary system infrastructure.

We thank you for your proactive support, trust and kind wishes. Please contact us here for any feedback, we look forward to hearing from you.

PS: If you can, don’t forget to donate to support our work.