A Challenge to Hegemony

By Grace Maselli

OK. Coming clean. When I happened upon this Girl Power maverick Amber Baldet, I thought, “How, how, how to make it relevant to our timebank?” Then, lickety-split, the synchronicities and story hooks
presented themselves like fireflies on a summer night. Amber Baldet, founder of “Clovyr,” is from Florida. A “blockchain” technology entrepreneur, Amber’s about challenging the status quo, changing it up, calling out hegemony where it lives on Wall Street or Main Street U.S.A. And that, dear reader (believes this humble blogger), is innately connected to timebank founder Edgar Cahn’s ethos when filtered through the prism of fact-based interpretation: leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others, does NOT equate to equality of time exchange—one hour of tax preparation and its equivalency to one hour of de-pilling a worn but beloved sweater. OK.

So what the hecker, as my kids used to say when they were toddlers, is a blockchain? A blockchain is the technical mechanism used to de-centralize digital power within “platforms.” What’s a platform? Can you say Facebook? Or Twitter? (A digital “place” where stuff gets posted and people write messages to each other and send pix of their sandwiches and dogs.)

Better yet, let Amber Baldet explain it for you: “Our company, Clovyr, builds tools that help people create decentralized applications, or platforms that are not controlled by a single entity. For example, Twitter is a platform where many people can talk to each other, but Twitter as an organization has a lot of control over what gets read and who can have an account. Decentralized alternatives can provide the same functions but without the central intermediary. Pretty much all the applications we use today are centralized in some way—there’s somebody who runs the show. At Clovyr, we are experimenting with ways to build different types of business models that challenge that hegemony, and allow people to make better choices about how we engage with each other. It’s also about increasing agency and consent in how our data is used.”

Hold up! That’s big news.

And in my imaginary conversation with Edgar Cahn he says, “You betcha. Big news. But also familiar news, if you’re a veteran timebanker.” Why? “Because we’re all about making better choices as it regards how we engage with each other.” Then Edgar says, “Yes, the link between the egalitarian timebanking concept and blockchain’s aim is running in a parallel universe.” Afterall, TBT uses Facebook. Our members communicate via this blog; our exchange hours are logged digitally on this here platform. In other words, openness and more choice in the use of technology is good for us! Carry on, Amber Baldet.