Is the future of wealth social and cultural?

For this episode I’m talking with Siddarth Shtalekar, who’s the founder of Sacred Capital, a Singapore-based company that’s building reputational currencies on distributed ledgers.

If you’re thinking “that sounds a bit abstract”, in essence this is an invitation to think way past business as usual to a new idea of currency and wealth.

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The pandemic has forced us to deeply question the value of everything, and to re-assess things like the relationship between money and identity.

Sid has an unusual personal story which is something of a metaphor for the economic future he’s trying to build.

Before the financial crisis of 2008 he was the head of one of South Asia’s largest trading floors. He then spent four years in a Gandhian ashram exploring new paradigms for economics.

So if you’re interested in how to expand the definition of wealth to include capital that’s social, cultural and intellectual, I guarantee that you will enjoy this conversation.

Siddharth is building economic infrastructure for a more expressive society. 

As a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Siddharth was the head of South Asia’s largest trading floor until 2011. He then spent four years in the Gandhi Ashram where he explored and experimented with multi-dimensional wealth systems. 

He is currently based out of Singapore, where he founded Sacred Capital to shift us towards reputation-based-economies. Their reputation infrastructure allows for articulation of culture locally and contextually through the activation of portable reputation currencies. 

He believes the organising principle for distributed networks is ‘Neighbourhoods’ more than ‘apps and businesses’. Siddharth speaks on multiple forums, you can find him as @sidsthalekar on most platforms.


Holochain Ecosystem Session with Sacred Capital – Holochain, November 10 2020 (Video)

Economic Infrastructure for Distributed Networks – Sacred Capital, November 2020

The Economics of Neighbourhoods – Vimeo (Video)

What is the Reputation Economy? – Medium, May 24 2019

Memetic Propagation and Mediation: Tools for the Distributed Economy – Center for a Stateless Society, July 6 2020

Sacred Capital website


I wonder if we can actually create new economic systems, which allow us to leverage our cultural identities, our social fabric, and unleash the expressive capacities that reside within these communities, as opposed to, you know, the universal Michael Jordan-loving Friends- loving culture that we all have to buy into.

Denise: Welcome to episode 14 of New Climate Capitalism.

Today I am talking with Siddarth Shtalekar, who’s the founder of Sacred Capital, a Singapore-based company that’s building reputational currencies on distributed ledgers.

If you’re thinking “whoa, that’s a bit abstract”, in essence this is an invitation to think way past business as usual to a new idea of currency and wealth.

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The pandemic has forced us to deeply question the value of everything, and to re-assess things like the relationship between money and identity.

Sid has an unusual personal story which is something of a metaphor for the economic future he’s trying to build.

Before the financial crisis of 08 he was the head of one of South Asia’s largest trading floors. He then spent four years in a Gandhian ashram exploring new paradigms for economics.

So if you’re interested in how to expand the definition of wealth to include capital that’s social, cultural and intellectual, I guarantee that you will enjoy this conversation.

Denise: Okay. So, um, today I am, uh, it’s a great pleasure to be here with, uh, Sid stellar Carr, who is the founder of sacred capital. So Sid, could you, um, could you just, uh, introduce yourself briefly?

Sid: Um, really briefly, my name is Sid I’m based in Singapore and I’m the founder of an organization called Sacred Capital.

And as part of sacred capital we’re building reputation infrastructure, um, that’s really useful for distributed economic economies or distributed networks.

Denise: Now, um, when we spoke before you, you, uh, you described yourself to me as a recovering neoliberal, which I thought was a really interesting, uh, description.

Could you describe your journey? Um, uh, and, uh, uh, explain perhaps what you’ve embraced today as an alternative to that worldview.

Sid: Sure. Um, I w I was being a little cheeky when I said that or when I used that introduction. I was born in, in Bombay, in India.

Um, a large part of my life was. Was spent in, you know, what you would say fairly communal life. Like I think the eighties and prior to that, India has always been fairly communal, like most things are organized and orchestrated through, through community-based structures. And my parents came from different parts of India.

So there was this interesting dynamic where they spoke their own cultural languages, but they also spoke English because it was the only one that they had in common. And so while English is my most, you know, comfortable language, uh, I also ended up speaking about four or five different languages because of the way India is structured.

Denise: I’m actually, I’m interested in that. Did you, what, what were your first, second and third languages?

Sid: So there’s English. Um, and that’s because, um, Like I said, India was just these fragmented diverse regions. And so English became this universal, you know, bridge of sorts or this consensus of sorts that allow people from different parts of the country to speak to each other.

There was Hindi, which is largely spoken northern and western parts of India. And so that’s what I formally learned in school. Um, my. My F my father’s native down, which is Konkani. My mother’s native down, which is Sindhi, there’s Marathi because Bombay, the state is in a state of Bombay. The city is in a state called Maharashtra.

And so I spoke Marathi, um, and I also spent a decent chunk of my life in a state of Gujarat. So, I speak Gujarati to some extent. I didn’t think it was a thing until I met my wife who is monolingual. And I then started unpacking what that actually means, because it feels like there’s these identities I’m constantly switching between because, you know, language, isn’t just like a simple one dimensional tool in which you’re communicating instructions, but it’s the whole way in which you engage with yourself and other people. And that’s coming up for me quite a bit because I’m thinking about what language to speak with my daughter today who’s 11 months old and. It’s kind of a struggle because I’m constantly trying to figure out what identity I want to engage with her. And, and interestingly Konkani, which is, you know, one of the least spoken languages in my language basket is what I come up with because that’s what my grandmom spoke with me when I was little.

Denise: I’m really interested in the, um, the, which is the heart language, uh, for people who, you know, speak many languages. And I think you’ve just said that. I’m also in which of the languages is the most expressive, expressive, which one? Cause I know that you have, uh, you have, uh, you described Sacred Capital as something which allows a more expressive.

Ah, right. Yeah. Yeah. And, and so I’m sure. Um, so I grew up speaking Cantonese, uh, alongside English. And, um, there are so many things that can be expressed in Cantonese. That’s simply untranslatable and you even forget what they are until you actually hear them, you know, spoken around you.

Um, we can get into this. This is a fascinating topic.

Sid: Uh, well, I think it’s related because like you said, your identity is so enmeshed in, in languages, right? And so from a young age, I could see how, you know, different cultures weren’t just about language and food and you know, what.

But the fabric is so deep. And so from a young age of often put into these awkward positions of like, okay, when I’m with Mom’s family, like, this is what I say, these are the value systems that work. And this is how Sid gets by and impresses people. And my Dad’s family, they’re more academic and, and more intellectual and also more sarcastic.

And so this is the kind of humor that works there. Um, and so it was constantly learning how to switch between these and. And, um, and also, like I said, your expressive capacities developed accordingly. Um, but at some point I remember around 1991, I was 11 years old. Um, 92, there were these massive communal riots in Bombay.

Um, and they really made me look at this communal life and different lens because you had, you know, two large communities in a riot in, in some pretty harsh violence, uh, engaged in pretty harsh violence. And we actually had, um, similar to COVID lockdowns where I was, you know, as an, as a 12 year old confined to my home and thinking about what’s going around, me going on around me.

Um, and I think it was an interesting pivotal turning point in the journey of India and also for people like me, because, um, there seemed to be this decision to move away from this dependence on communal life, uh, and, and, and step into this neo liberal wave that was sweeping across the world. 

Um, and so even within India, there was this demand for economic liberalization, which basically meant, you know, let your people start buying the Nike’s and Levi’s, and, and, and instead of just one national state channel, Soviet-style media, you actually allowed them to access MTV and other phenomena that was sweeping the world.

So all of a sudden for 12 year old Sid  on one hand you have this messiness from your, you know, communal identities. And on the other hand, you had this paradise of watching Friends and Michael Jordan and wearing Levi’s. Um, and the answer was very clear. Like I just had to mute my identity to a certain extent In order to tap into this global pool of wonderfulness. 

The trade-off was, um, If you can, you know, be part of this monoculture that was developing around the world, you actually could access the business schools, the fancy bank job.

Um, and so I feel very fortunate because at a very young age, I had a front row seat at this the theater of global markets. Right. Um, and so I ended up heading one of the largest equity derivatives and algorithmic trading desks in the region. Um, and also went through the 2008 crisis. Um, one of my, you know, uh, some, some of my clients that, that went bankrupt while also, you know, Institutions that I dreamed about as a kid in the business school.

Um, and so it was eye-opening um, because I could also see that communal life, that diversity. In India, like I think in like India in particular is known for its radical diversity. I think there’s something like 120 languages, not dialects. Um, and every 50 to a hundred kilometers, you have a new cuisine, a new language, a new cultural way of being, um, and the only way these, you know, these cultures, knew how, you know how to engage with each other was through that overarching umbrella of neo- liberalism. And I think what that meant was you had a very homogenizing, a large homogenizing force bearing down on this diversity. And so all of these people with deep multidimensional heritage were now being told they can rescue themselves if they were to sign up to be a worker at McDonald’s or an outsourcing center. And in a way it was, you know, almost a flattening of all of these dimensions that, you know, humans are made up of. And I think it’s a trade off that we all made because, you know, at some level that we were also tired of messy identities that weren’t getting us anywhere.

Yeah, when I say I’m a recovering, neo-liberal what I’m really saying is, um, I’m trying to question that trade-off um, is it possible for us to revisit those messy cultural identities and still partake in collaborative feedback loops at each other in, in, in, in wellbeing without only having to, um, speak that one universal language.

Uh, and so in that sense, I question the fact that we still rely on global markets to, to effect any kind of coordination at a global level. Um, and so I wonder if we can actually create new economic systems, which allow us to leverage our cultural identities, our social fabric, and unleash the expressive capacities that reside within these communities, as opposed to, you know, the universal Michael Jordan, loving Friends loving culture that we all have to buy into.

Um, so that’s my, that’s my journey of neo-liberalism. And some of that came, you know, post my job with global markets. I spent about four years in the Sabarmati Asham. 

It was a community founded by Gandhi during the independence movement in India. And it was more, it’s more, um, laboratory for social experiments.

And that’s where I came across this entire stream of distributed economics, um, which basically says, you know, groups of people can actually engage with one another and other communities if they have thriving, well articulated social fabric. Um, and so around 2015, 2016, after four years of trying some of these experiments, I could see that distributed ledger technologies were allowing us to explore this because up until then, this was hippie Sid doing these experiments with about 20 people or a hundred people, right. And now I think distributed technologies could allow us to build infrastructure that can be replicated for much, much more larger scale implementations.

Um, So, yeah, that’s, that’s my long ramble about my journey.

Denise: that’s super interesting. Um, so in 2016 you founded Sacred Capital. Uh, I just want to ask you where the name came from and, um, uh, could you explain, um, what it is and what problem it’s it’s, uh, trying to solve?

Sid: The name Sacred Capital doesn’t have too much intellectual rationale behind it. It was more an emotional feeling at the time where I felt there was this massive polarization in the world where, you know juxtaposing sacred and capital together created some kind of paradox. 

And I liked that because I liked the question why, why we want, um, exploring how capital can result in the wellbeing of the world. And so there’s also this larger conversation about capital doesn’t necessarily mean only monetary or financial wealth, it can include a much larger group of things. Um, some of which I’ll talk about, but yeah, the name is really 

signaling that our long term aspirational goal here is to build a multi-dimensional wealth system that is more reflective of who we are as 21st century citizens of the world.

Denise: What I really like about your explanation of the sacred capital is it really is a sort of and/and intention. It’s not either, or you’re not saying it let’s throw it all away and replace it with something else. 

Sid: Yeah. So I think the aspiration there, and you could say the idealism in some level is, bringing back what we’ve lost, but with the transparency, efficiency, effectiveness that we’ve learned over the last hundred years, and that’s where I think distributed ledgers make a difference, um, because we can actually engage with our messy identities. In a way in which we don’t devolve down to monkeys, flinging feces at each other, right?

Like, like how do we prevent that? How do we not go down that path? Um, or even devolve down to these very patriarchal structures. Like we romanticize community life, but, but let’s face it like a lot of communities still thrive by having to resort to patriarchal, patronizing structures.

I do think, we can reform, uh, reclaim the word capital, uh, for it to be very deeply linked with the wellbeing of the world. 

Um, and so I should get into what I mean by that, because if I don’t like this will just sound like yet another talk about someone saying money can be good for the world, but what I’m really talking about is changing some of the infrastructural plumbing on which the economic system is predicated. 

I briefly mentioned the Sabarmati Asham that I was part of. Um, and for anyone who’s interested, like I would recommend going back and checking out the entire streamof economics that was started, you know, in the 1930s and 1940s by Gandhi then also carried over into the West by people like Schumacher.

But the crux of it was. You know when you’re, when you’re trying to engage in peer to peer communities or distributed communities or groups of people without the benefit of an overarching legal system, um, you have to rely heavily on social fabric. Because you’re constantly trying to make sense of who you can trust, whose potential is is required at what moment and who has that potential?

Like, are you a good blacksmith? Are you a good, you know, someone worthy of me lending money to? Like how do we make sense and appear to be, or because we’re so used to using, you know, making sense of that in a world, in a centralized world, because you actually have regulatory frameworks for that stuff.

So. If we are to go back to some of those distributed ways of being, I think social fabric plays are totally important role. And so the primary currency there more, it’s more reputation rather than monitoring. Um, and this is a really interesting, important difference to internalize. Uh, because reputation currencies operate very differently from monetary currencies.

Um, I’m using the word currencies in a way that’s not commonly known, like I’m not talking about trading reputation, but more, um, currency as an indicator of some kind of value or potential. And so reputation currencies, for example can’t be traded, they’re linked with my identity. So if I trust you Denise, you can’t sell that trust to someone even for a million dollars because it’s you who I trust, um, reputation, currencies are contextual.

So, you know, because I think you, you, your sense of good faith trust in your sense of good coffee, I’ll ask you for recommendations and coffee shops. Um, I may not think, you know, you’re a good dentist, uh, for whatever it is it’s so reputation is contextual. Money is not. Um, reputation thrives under relativism and multidimensionality.

So, yeah. Is Denise punctual. There’s no absolute answer to that. Um, my next question do is which contexts, so that’d be, you know, Denise might be punctual in the context of friends may not be punctual in the context of Singapore because Singapore defines it more in a more binary way. Um, maybe more punctual in the context of France, like that’s, what’s beautiful about reputation.

So you constantly have to move away from consensus states. Um, So you’re not trying to create one universal ledger of who’s good and who’s bad because that’s almost church-like, but instead you’re trying to create like local, contextual ledgers of perceptions almost. Um, and so when I meet you in this community, yes, like this is who Denise is. Yes she’s punctual, and she’s funny, she’s artistic. Um, but that’s not universal. 

Um, and lastly reputation can’t be spent. It can be staked. So it has non-zero sum qualities to it. And so what we’re really doing is building a reputation infrastructure, which allows people which allow, which does two things.

It allows communities to articulate their culture more formally. So if you’re a community or group of people, you might be two to three people, or maybe, you know, a few million, it allows you to very clearly state. This is what we value. Maybe we’re a community of people who share memes and sense of humor is important to us.

This is how we value who’s funniest and whose content gets shown them the most or whose content gets banned the most. Um, like these are, these are roles. Um, so. So we give communities the building blocks or the Lego blocks to articulate this. 

Denise: can I just stop you on the distributed ledgers? Do you specifically refer to, is it the blockchain? Is it the holochain? Can you explain.

Sid: Let me get into that. So we’ve seen, I mean, we’ve seen the blockchain hype around, uh, you know, it’s been around for the last couple of years, maybe more, maybe a decade now. And it had interesting roots, like its origins were obviously Bitcoin and, and I think a lot of the aspirations of the blockchain community were to create efficient money that could be transferred around the world and anonymously for a fraction of the cost that banks did it, um, let’s be upfront about it. 

I think that’s useful if I want to transfer a million dollars to you Denise anonymously across the internet? Um, and I don’t think that’s useful in all cases.

Um, let’s say I appreciated your blog, or maybe I clapped on your article or maybe I upvoted some content of yours. Um, or maybe you showed up on time for a critical meeting like that timestamp. Those kinds of information don’t always have the same monetary value as the million dollars, right?

Like maybe you showing up on time was worth $10 million. I don’t know. Like maybe you are that important or maybe that situation was that critical, but not always. And so blockchain wasn’t very good at recording anything that didn’t have a monetary value because it, you know, required global consensus. Um, and instead what we’re moving to, you know, this evolution, I think, I think of Bitcoin and blockchain is like the Wright brothers model for the airplane.

Like it made us believe that distributed ledger keeping is possible. And so all of us, you know, across the world has gotten together and been pushing each other and trying to, you know, figure out where this could take us. I feel like we’re now moving to more meaningful designs of this technology. And so holochain, like you mentioned is one example of this, it’s known as agent-centric technology because it doesn’t rely on, it’s emphasis is not global consensus, but it’s emphasis is contextual validation.

And what that means is a community decides if Sid clapping on Denise’s article is relevant and important to them. And if it is important to them, maybe 25 people validated it  and say, yes, let’s note it down in a ledger. So it’s tamper-proof right. And I think 25 people recording it carries a much lesser cost as compared to a million people on the blockchain network, trying to validate that. Uh, and so what it means is we’re moving towards technologies that start validating a much broader dimension of value. And this is important for reputation. This is important for genuinely multi-dimensional economies because not everything is monitoring.

Um, and there’s a lot of sense-making that occurs outside of the monitoring.

Denise: So I want to, uh, I want to just jump in there and try and, um, uh, kind of make it concrete, um, for, for, for listeners and also for myself. I’m gonna, uh, contextualize it in the context of how you and I know each other.

You, and I know each other through the Edmund Hillary fellowship where we’re both fellows, that community is a 500 strong right now and the community has been very virtual throughout 2020. So it’s a good example of how everybody has to, um, uh, construct and, you know, uh, port their reputations through a number of different channels, multiple channels in fact, through Slack, through Hivebrite, different WhatsApp groups and of course, events on zoom.

Yeah. Uh, and, and all of these, you know, reputations are kind of moving around in different nodes and tribes, uh, and in part filtered through the lens of this sort of unique EHF culture, which is a blend of entrepreneurship, social innovation, sustainability, and Maori culture.

Now, um, if all of us were, um, running this community, uh, on the holochain as you’re, I think you’re doing experiments around this at Sacred Capital.

Yeah. Uh, what would it change in terms of, you know, uh, your relationship with me, our relationships on the network in general, our ability to create value that’s sustainable and that’s making a difference. 

Sid: Hmm. Well, I think, um, one of the founders of holochain is also an Edmund Hillary Fellow.

If the floor’s not broken, don’t fix it. Um, and so if you have a community, that’s actually, that actually is thriving within formally articulated culture. What’s the issue here? I’m not calling for this mass documentation of everything we do. And. A militaristic approach towards relationships. I think there are certain relationships that work totally fine, and we shouldn’t be messing with them. Um, and so, so far in my experience with the fellowship, I feel like this 500-odd group of people seems to be working fine.

So I’m not sure that that may be the best example. I think we start moving into this territory of, of this being useful at slightly larger values, or maybe when we’re starting to do way more specific things with each other, um, at a distance. What some of our tools really enable are for communities of people to articulate what is important to them. 

So maybe it’s showing up for meetings on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a community of organic farmers that want to volunteer, uh, in the garden every Saturday and keeping a record of it. Um, now if it’s a group of 20, 20 people, 30 people, or maybe, you know, a thousand people keeping records of this sort, technologies like holochain makes sense because it pushes a record of this data to thousand odd people in the network. With blockchain you have these, these utterly ridiculous systems where every record was pushed to a network of a million computers, 10 million computers, which was overkill in my opinion. Um, and I think in that sense, the blockchain is fairly similar to a government-like structure that maintains records for us, um, like governments today maintain reputational records for us of who’s a defaulter, who’s a criminal. But there is a cost associated with it, right? Like, The fact that Sid cracked a funny joke right now, and Denise laughed, for that to be actually recorded in a government ledger seems absurd because not only is, you know, it’s too costly to maintain ledgers at that centralized level. You also don’t want like a flattening of data on the one, you know, one universal ledger. Which is why I think holochain allows us to maintain local, contextual copies of it. 

Denise:  I can’t not ask you the question again. The Chinese, uh, you know, social rating system here, because it seems like the ideal place. I mean, you did say that, you know, this is not meant to be militaristic and many people see that, uh, social, uh, rating system in China, at least outside China, as 100% negative, whereas some Chinese might say, actually it’s really good. 

No one in my neighborhood is incentivized to pick up after their dog. And so if the system helps me to get credit for doing that and it nudges others in the same direction, then it’s good. Um, yeah. I wonder how, what is the, what’s the comparison?

Sid: So let me get into that. And, and I think that’s, uh, this is a bit of. There’s one part of our conversation around like what infrastructure we’re building. That’s still, that’s still incomplete. So I’ll cover that now. And I first talked about tools for articulation, for communities. 

Um, but another piece of what we’re building is known as the reputation of one, which allows individuals to port reputation data from one community to another.

I think one of the problems we’ve had with, um, with silos of communities up until now is that our reputation data is largely locked within that existing community. And so if I’m a fantastic driver on the ride share platform like Uber my track record stays locked within Melbourne. It’s all because of agent centric technologies like holochain. Like I can actually show up in a new community and say, here I am, here’s my track record. And it’s up to you to figure out what you’d like to do with this. And so each community can kind of sense make, not just information in their context, but across multiple contexts.

And this occurs through what are known as the memetic bridges. So when one community trusts another, maybe they have, you know, intersecting members enough for them to be able to trust each other’s ledgers. And this is a key difference from the Chinese social credit system, because the Chinese social credit system is a universal ledger that everyone’s relying on.

One of the problems with universal ledgers is you actually have a very top down approach towards articulating culture. And to be honest, um, you know, we’ve had a couple of interesting conversations with governments about this, but I don’t fear that too much, because I don’t think top-down cultural articulation gets too far because at the end of the day, it’s more, it has specific intentions and motivations.

And so some of our conversations with governments has been, you’re much better off facilitating this infrastructure much like the traditional economy. Like I think, you know, 50, 40 years ago, everyone figured out that you’re much better off instead of the state, you know, centrally planning the economy, create infrastructure for its winners who will then build the economy for you. The same way with the reputation economics, you know, cultures and nations are much better off facilitating the infrastructure and allowing individual micro apps and neighborhoods, and micro-communities articulating culture that’s useful to them. 

And then inter-playing reputation data among themselves. Um, so the answer to the question is Denise, a good neighbor is contextual. Like it’s not the state making one universal decision about you. It’s well, this I’m Sid and this is what’s important to me.

Like it’s not important that Denise picks up her dog’s poop, but it is important that she’s not, you know, blaring loud music every night. And so I think that’s, that’s, I would say not just a more healthy, but a more meaningful approach to reputation. So I, I think some of those fears around those universal credit systems, um, while they are dystopian and Black Mirror episodes should be made about them.

Um, I don’t think they’re going too far because fundamentally reputation needs to be multi-dimensional and bottom up and ground up as opposed to top down. 

Denise: This has been a fascinating conversation, um, I’m pretty sure I haven’t understood all of it. And I’m sure some people listening will feel the same.

So I’m wondering if there are people out there who would like to engage with Sacred Capital, but feel that perhaps, um, like what is your, can you describe, you know, the typical kind of people that you’re working with right now? Um, are they actually coming from many different backgrounds or what, what kind of tools are they trying to build with you and what experiments are they running?

Sid: Yeah. So the use cases for something like this are fairly, uh, quite varied. Um, and so, you know, I brought up governments that are looking at infrastructure, like reputational, infrastructure for their communities and their entrepreneurs and their, and their cultures to be leveraging. Um, you could be an existing business or application.

That’s looking to create portable reputation. Maybe you’re a ride share application. And you know, you want your, your members, you, you might want to invite new drivers or new people in your community and for when, and when they show up in your community, they don’t show up as strangers, but with heavy context embedded in them already.

You know, just last month. Um, my wife and I were looking for a babysitter for our daughter and, um, checked out some of the platforms here in Singapore and it’s appalling because, you know, it’s just blank slate because it’s a new platform and you’re, you are like handing over the love of your life to someone who has literally no context.

And so this brings us a more contextual internet, so applications that are looking to spark deeper interactions within the communities would definitely leverage this and utilize this. 

Um, And I think one, and so this intersects with some other topic we might touch on called neighborhoods because, um, currently a lot of us use conversational tools like WhatsApp or Facebook or Reddit for interactions, and sense-making on the internet. And that’s just insane to me because each group or community has its own culture, but almost has to force fit itself into that monoculture of Facebook. So let’s say Denise you and I decide to start a community that’s trying to deconstruct neo-liberalism and you know, you go onto Facebook. I see the irony of it, but we go on Facebook to have these conversations, but Facebook imposes, um, its own culture of, you know, how content is ordered.

We’re going to Facebook for specific tools. So that Facebook style conversation, let’s say we also want to have chat tools. We have to go to WhatsApp for that. So that’s, you know, it’s that same community that’s split across all of these, these silos and trying to meet each other in these different silos.

And that’s just absurd for me because this isn’t human centric tech. This is data centric tech. 

And so we have this switch that’s occurring because of technologies like holochain where we say it’s going from apps and businesses to neighborhoods. So apps and businesses are about specific technology or specific tools and generic culture, which is the classic example of that is Facebook. And neighborhoods are about generic tools and specific culture.

And so all of a sudden you’re seeing these people driving conversations and movements almost. It’s almost like this new found freedom of sorts that they are starting to tap into because, oh, well, we can actually live like this and converse like this without being pigeonholed in those specific platforms.

I think the concept of neighborhoods is extremely important to what we’re building, because it’s almost like an inversion of sorts in the way we engage with each other. And. This reconnects with my original point of global markets because global markets were removed from social fabric.

So when I worked on a trading floor, I was, I was getting into, uh, negotiations and transactions with people I did not know, but was, you know, bargaining down to every cent with.

What we’re moving towards. I think on what are known as bazaars, which are, which is commerce, that’s embedded in social fabric.

And so once you have a neighborhood where you have specifically articulated culture, you can have a bazaar where, you know, these people, these groups of people who are discovering each other can actually also commercially engage with one another. 

And so commerce isn’t occurring in that global marketplace of Facebook or Airbnb, but instead commerce is occurring within these, these rich, contextual, um, intimate settings or intimate membranes within neighborhoods. And I think that’s what distributed economies really mean to me. And that’s kind of what I’ve grown up with.

Then this kind of relates to our original point of what are you bringing back from the older, like I’ve grown up going to the bazaars down the street, uh, full of its smells and people that I, you know, that I would buy from, but also live next to. Um, and I think that’s what we’re moving towards. Um, you know, with the same transparency and efficiency that the industrial revolution has brought up over the last couple of decades.

Denise: So after a year of being in the French countryside, I feel an incredible longing to be immediately immersed in that bazaar with the sounds and the noise and everything. If I want to open, if I want to have my neighborhood on holochain, you know, when, when can I do that? 

Sid: That is a good question.

It’s been a long and arduous task, uh, because I think as most people know. Building in distributed environments is hard. Like holochains had its uh, tough moments too. But I feel like, you know, after two years of testing and going through these, these, you know, architectural designs and wiping them clean and coming back, like I feel like we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the standard. So the initial applications of this are, you know, we’re seeing them in, you know, basically apps and, and businesses that are going to build reputation layers, but there’s a very strong push internally that we’re trying to move towards this neighborhood like paradigm. And so over the next couple of months, you’ll see a lot of workshops. Um, that we’re targeting towards both app creators and community builders. 

Denise: Terrific. So where can people find you? And, um, is there something you recommend that they read to, you know, start to get into this, this field?

Sid: Yeah. Um, so our website www dot Sacred Dot capital is a good container for this. There’s also technical resources for those who are inclined in that direction. I recommend checking out the gitbook.

I’m also on social media on Facebook then ironically. Um, so you can find me, uh, if you look for my name on both Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn as well. And so you’ll find a stream of podcasts and videos constantly being, you know, shared those, those media, um, yeah. And happy to connect in the neo-liberal global universe that are these social media channels.

Denise: Thank you very much Sid. So this has been a real pleasure and I look forward to seeing you in the bazaar somewhere soon.

Sid: Likewise. 

Denise: That’s it for this episode, thanks for listening to New Climate Capitalism If you’d like to hear more from Sid, you can find him on Twitter at @SidSthalekar, and also go to the shownotes for this episode on our website, climatenarratives.co.

If you’re enjoying this season of the podcast, I’d like to remind you to sign up for our newsletter, climate narratives annotated. It goes deeper on some of the issues we cover in the podcast, and provides monthly highlights from green and sustainable finance. You can find the link to subscribe in the bio of our Twitter account @NewClimateCap.

A big thanks to Valentine Scherer and Victoria Yates for their help producing this episode, and to Lucas Laufen for the theme music.

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