As February arrives and the days begin to get longer, most of us are still pretty much in hibernation mode. Simbi’s marketplace for mutual aid continues to grow organically, with remote deals comprising most member activity – take a look at the community’s recent stats on our Economy page (requires login).
Because the Simbi platform runs on a digital currency called “simbi credits,” and given the exciting (and volatile) rise of cryptocurrency markets in recent years, lots of people wonder how Simbi fits into the emerging picture of “DeFi” (“decentralized finance”). The short answer is: at least for now, it doesn’t.
One of our primary goals as an organization is to ensure that simbi credits represent real productive/helpful human capacity, which becomes impossible once simbi credits can be bought and sold directly for dollars (or other dollar-convertible digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies). It’s definitely true that the drawbacks of this intentional limitation are significant. Primarily, they are: 1) simbi credits only have meaning for members of the Simbi community, and 2) Simbi can’t fundraise by selling its own tokens.
But, the benefits are crucial to the long-term success of Simbi’s mission. Whatever potential is lost in speculative profitability for any particular individual is gained back many times over in the ability for members of our community to trust each other. On Simbi, no one gets rich quick; an accumulation of credits comes from an accumulation of good deeds, and no one benefits from tricking, over-selling, or out-negotiating others. And finally, Simbi’s continued status as an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity relies on rabidly preserving our core community ethos of mutual aid and volunteership.
There are many important reasons for simbi credits to only operate within the existing Simbi community. And, for now, the much-faster-and-less-costly databases we use to run the Simbi economy work just fine. So we’re not rushing to put Simbi on a blockchain or put simbi credits on exchanges, and would only take these routes if it allowed us to maintain our community development goals fully without sacrifice.
At the same time, just because Simbi lives outside of the “DeFi” ecosystem doesn’t mean we begrudge anyone who dove right in and did well! We gratefully accept tax-deductible cryptocurrency donations through a partner which converts them back to dollars for us!
We hope this explanation provided some useful background about how Simbi is structured to achieve our nonprofit mission! In next month’s Community Letter: member survey results!