Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


One chilly morning last winter, I reconnected with an old friend, Joel Dietz, on a video chat. We hadn’t seen each other for years, and we’d each had several starts and stops in our lives since. He began telling me about his latest undertaking, Evergreen, a digital currency system that he described as “organic” and “without additives.” I was doing all I could to understand it, and he was struggling to fund it in a way that suited his vision. He needed money, and quickly, but he didn’t want to sabotage his ideals in the process.

“I’m working to find a steady economic base,” he said. “I don’t really want to put it into the hands of the VCs.” Venture capitalists, that is — the go-to source of quick and easy money for clever tech entrepreneurs like him. He’d get cash, but they’d get the reins. “I’ve considered this before, but it always leaves me feeling a bit dirty.”

A few months passed, and we traded emails about our various projects — including some dead ends. By mid-May, though, he’d alighted on something new, something that seemed to address the problem that had been burdening him before. I was skeptical. He was soon writing to me from the domain name of his new company, Swarm, the world’s first experiment in what he was calling “cryptoequity.”

Added October 11, 2019