The Invisible Economy: Value Flows

Here’s the video and insights from our task force meeting.
3 min readAug 21, 2020


By Judy Mam

Hand Try

This was a fascinating conversation. First, Bea presented the basic principles of the Invisible Economy as a framework.

Some Highlights:

Bea spoke about representing data like preferences, reputations, and actions visually and make art with the stats.

We discussed whether it is at all possible to truly separate extrinsic motivations from intrinsic ones.

Sparrow spoke about her course on liberating structures where they align needs with the rewards systems. Instead of having fixed values, there could be a bucket of rewards that change constantly for people who want to do certain things. Everyone gets an opportunity to do what they want.

Account the intangible value outside of the platform.

Bea: We should not think about money anymore. It’s a transfer of value. It comes into the system and becomes something else.

Sparrow: On DADA you accrue value that is relational as opposed to transactional. This is exactly parallel to intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and rewards.

Anuj raised a concern about people who have difficulty belonging in a system because of emotional or language barriers. How do they participate?

I thought that when we design platforms we tend to do it very deterministically, guiding people towards very specific outcomes: if they do x, y happens, while engaging them with too many bells and whistles. Perhaps less determined pathways mean more freedom and a looser experience. Set up the environment for the experience, not the individual actions, and deal with what emerges.

Bea spoke about applying the Invisible Economy to a divided and polarized community like the Venezuelan diaspora, to try to remove the polarization by valuing other things people have in common like nostalgia for the food, for instance.

Massimo mentioned complexity theory and emergent property where people interact with simple rules but in a complex system, like DADA or flocks of birds at flight.

Garrett: what about a foundation, trust, or endowment that brings money into the system. An educational system for schools for kids to learn to draw, for instance. Be in art museums, be part of the community at large who can pay into the DADA system.

Bea: we have an economic system embedded in the technology which is the token, and which coordinates the community.

Adithya: There is no clear cut line between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations.

We shared several examples of value that seemed to be higher than its monetary form. In the form of memories, human connection, validation, belonging.

Bea: But money is not a universal incentive. People need autonomy.

Sparrow: Other extrinsic motivators are reputation, social capital, status, influence.

Judy: those seem to be the superficial manifestations of validation which is an important motivator, just like money is the most concrete manifestation of extrinsic motivations. But money is just one form of value — not the only one. However our society focuses on money at the expense of other values.



A collaborative art platform where people worldwide speak through drawings. Building a blockchain token economy for the arts.