The DisCO Project is meant to further the ideas and practices put forth in the DisCO Manifesto with a comprehensive framework designed to support the worldwide development of “Distributed Cooperativism”. The project’s aim is to create and provide the following:
- Comprehensive educational and legal resources for people to launch DisCOs
- Accessible software for value-sovereignty practices
- Pilot projects supported by hands-on mentorship guidance
- Participatory action research on distributed cooperativism
The DisCO project aims to prototype new and radical forms of ownership, governance, entrepreneurship, and value accounting meant to counteract pervasive economic inequality. To do this, a synergy is needed among clearly related but siloed sectors that, with better strategic alliances, will be well equipped to face the future with creative, inclusive solutions.
The four goals described above recombine in practice into several components, each of which are based on real-world pilot DisCOs and their experiences. These components reinforce one another and, as a suite of tools, form the educational, technological and legal bases of DisCOs.
The components are:
DisCO Floor: Educational Resources and Legal Tools
DisCO’s educational web platform (or the DisCO Floor) will house educational resources for cooperators to set up DisCOs anywhere. Examples: a DisCO learning journey (interactive MOOC course); knowledge base (via semantic wiki) with practical resources and tools; a reference DisCO Handbook; content (articles, videos, audiobooks, infographics); a program to create interactive DisCO governance models; guidance on existing legal structures for co-ops (and considerations for future legal co-op forms); and a directory of DisCO cooperatives worldwide.
DisCO Deck: Value Tracking Platform
The DisCO economic model highlights value and its distribution in the workplace, and accounts for care and reproductive work. The DisCO Deck, or platform, will be the interface and back end for a DisCO’s “Community Algorithmic Trust” (the DisCO CAT). This will be a user-friendly, accessible online tool with a balanced integration of Web 3.0, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies. The DisCO Deck will facilitate value tracking, accounting, and other tools to support DisCO operations with stellar UX and an intuitive graphic interface. In contrast to an automated platform that executes smart contracts (as in a DAO) , the DisCO Deck will help educate mission-oriented cooperatives in a new, inclusive economic viewpoint that is enabling to all its members.
DisCO Experience: Research and Pilot Projects
The development of the above will happen together with real cooperatives experimenting with the DisCO model, taking into account their needs and requirements. Pilot projects lined up are characterized by their geographic diversity and variety of orientations, yielding a range of case studies for the development of the DisCO Floor and Deck. Pilots will be mentored on the creation of their governance and economic models, DisCO Deck customization, and accessible documentation. Pilots will also play a key role in the co-creation of both platforms. The research will also examine themes such as intra-DisCO value flows, feminist economic critique of DAOs and its application to DisCO, appropriate legal frameworks, cryptocurrency use in DisCOs, public-DisCO partnerships for service provision, and more.