Refactor Camp 2018: Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain Weirding

Update: The event is now sold out.

From 2012-2016, Ribbonfarm hosted an informal annual meetup called Refactor Camp. The meetup facilitated a space for the Ribbonfarm community to meet and discuss ideas.  Most years it was held in the Bay Area, while 2016’s was hosted online.

Starting 2018, Venkat will step into an advisory role, Ribbonfarm will go from host to principal sponsor, and Refactor Camp will take on a life of its own beyond just the Ribbonfarm community (though we hope many Ribbonfarm readers will attend).

Darren, Joe and myself (Taylor) will be taking over the organizational baton for this year.

This years event and future events will keep to the ethos of previous Refactor Camps: intimate, affordable (run at break-even), unconference style event with a conscious mix of content from technology.

The short version

What: A 2-day conference featuring talks, workshops, and breakout sessions focused on blockchain technology, the sociology of blockchains, and any other weirdness we (or our illustrious speakers) come up with.

Theme: Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain Weirding

When: Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13th

Where:Austin, TX (Specifically The GasPedal Ranch, a beautiful venue just 15 minutes outside of downtown with ample meeting space and outdoor space.)

How much: $75

Our hope with this event is to “stretch the Overton window” a bit in terms of thinking about the implications and elements of blockchain technology and, in the Ribbonfarm tradition, facilitate some more speculative thinking and discussions than what happens at other cryptocurrency events.

This is not a place to “get up to speed” about Bitcoin or get Blockchain 101 exposure. While we anticipate content that’s appropriate for all stages of one’s crypto-journey, this isn’t a place for investment advice, “how to get started,” or how to launch an ICO.

Register here.

One of the breakout rooms at Gaspedal Ranch


Friday (May 11)

  • 7pm – Informal hang out

Saturday (May 12)

  • 8:30 Doors and registration open and coffee
  • 9:30 Kick-off and Welcome Remarks
  • 10:00 Opening Keynote Talk
  • 11:15 Breakout Session 1 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 2:00 Breakout Session 2 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 3:15 Breakout Session 3 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 5:00 Group Activities – The venue we’re at has a basketball court; a pickleball court; other outdoor games or we may coordinate a trip to Austin’s famous Barton Springs

Sunday (May 13)

  • 8:30 Doors open and coffee
  • 9:30 kick-off and welcome
  • 10:00 Breakout Session 4 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 11:15 Breakout Session 5 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 2:00 Breakout Session 6 (Technical tutorials, workshops, and talks)
  • 3:15 Closing Keynote Talk
  • 4:30pm Closing Remarks
  • 5:00pm – Post Refactor Camp Social

As this is more a camp than a conference, we expect the conversation with fellow attendees prompted by the speakers will be as valuable as the talks themselves so we’ve left a lot space between to let the “hallway track” have plenty of time.

Note: If you aren’t able to attend we are working to make it possible to livestream and record most of the talks.

Register here.

The Kitchen Area at Gaspedal Ranch


Vinay Gupta

Bio: Vinay is a co-founder of the Ethereum project and CEO of Mattereum.

Venkatesh Rao

Bio: Venkat is a Seattle-based independent management consultant, writer and proprietor of He is the author of The Gervais Principle, Breaking Smart and Tempo.

Abstract: Our economic system is based on the future prospects of societies, captured in the idea of sovereign bonds. What if we could reimagine economics based on the past? Ideas like blood debts have been part of economic relationships in the past. Could we model an entire socioeconomic history of vendettas, transgressions, reparations and such on a blockchain, and use it as the basis of the financial instruments needed in an economy? In this talk, I will explore a bit of design fiction in the form of a speculative blockchain concept called “blood coin” that attempts to explore this concept

Kyle Samani
“The relationship between medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account”

Bio: Kyle is the co-founder and managing partner of Multicoin Capital, a hedge fund focusing on blockchain technology.

Abstract: There are three commonly acknowledged purposes of money: medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. How do these purposes relate to each other? Kyle will look at how these different purposes relate to each other and the emergence of new forms of crypto-money

Sonya Mann

Bio: Sonya Mann is a reporter with Inc. covering the business side of technology, with a focus on enterprise companies, the sharing economy, and marketplaces that empower informal entrepreneurship.

Matilda Wysocki

Bio: Matilda studies how different aspects of the world are connected, and how they may be reconnected for the better. They feel most fulfilled as a community organizer, having organized around homeless rights, access to education, climate justice, and disability rights, but have a creative practice incorporating programming, art, and design into their pursuit of the above goal.

Abstract:  Blockchains allow for the possibility of distributed communal control over the shared narratives that mobilize communities, and the divergent ones that are pushed to the margins only to redefine social movements (e.g trans women and women of color being ignored in 2nd wave feminism, only to become integral to 3rd wave feminism).

This talk will discuss how we can embrace a floodgate of previously unheard voices as our power structures decentralize more and more, how we can feel supported even as our traditional communal support structures (families, cities, nations) become more nebulous, and how the alienation that comes with unsatisfactory networks (e.g unknown Twitter followers) can make way for a deep sense of Beloved Community.

Brett Scott
“Visions of a Techno-Leviathan: The Battle of Blockchain Ideologies”

Bio: Brett Scott is an economic explorer and financial hacker traversing the intersections between money systems, finance, digital technology and cities. He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money (2013), and collaborates with a wide range on groups on diverse topics, including banking systems, financial activism, digital finance, blockchain technology, hacker culture, technology politics and the dynamics of cashless society. He tweets as @suitpossum.

Abstract: Since its inception in 2008, blockchain technology has lived a double-life. On the one hand it exists a practical set of protocols designed to achieve certain practical ends. On the other hand it is space for people to pin their hopes, desires, dreams and political projects. The technology has become host to an array of ideological visions for how society should be arranged, but whether the actual technology enables these visions is a separate question. In this talk, Brett Scott will explore the various ideological strains, from the dominant strands of conservative libertarianism, Austrian economics and cyber-utopianism, to the neo-fascist elements that have appeared, charting the connection between commodity theories of money and far-right thought. Finally he’ll look at the attempts to create left wing versions of blockchain technology, or ideological hybrids.

Karyl Fowler
“Reimagining Identity & the Co-oped Nation States of Our Decentralized Future”

Bio: Karyl is the CEO and co-founder of Transmute Industries. Karyl’s experience spans enterprise sales to business development for high tech platform companies in semiconductors and software.Abstract: Artists and philosophers have long been documenting and debating conceptions of identity. Most concede that identity is multi-faceted and fluid, highly dependant on social context or transaction type. This ability to rapidly adapt and optimize for the situation at hand is an enviable trait of individual and small group actors, but such a trait is sorely lacking in large institutions like governments [and corporations]. On the other hand, large institutions possess the ability to efficiently mobilize, distribute and monetize resources at scale.
Decentralized technologies power governance models that combine the superpowers of both the individual and the institution. This talk explores the advantages that emerge from this combination and the disadvantages that remain – with specific focus on individual identity and a revised notion of citizenship for a future where decentralization is fully embraced.

Harry Potash
The Mutable Mythology of Money

BioHarry is a wide ranging enthusiast with experience in activism, software development, cryptography, religion, and ritual magic. He previously worked as a web developer for, and is currently enrolled in a seminary program to become an interfaith chaplain.  Harry has been engaged in the cryptocurrency community since 2012, and wrote his first dapp in march 2016.

Talk Abstract: When people think of money, they tend to think of it’s physical representation, a paper bill or coin, but money is actually a shared myth. Often the myth that constitutes a type of money or wealth is different for the naive user and the sophisticate. These myths also change over time with fluctuations in public confidence, relative power,  and policy changes. We will explore some of the common myths that make up a few currencies, and how they have changed through time.

Workshop: Try out a dApp for the first time. Let’s get Metamask installed, and buy a crypto-kitty.

The outdoor area at Gas Pedal

Anders Aamodt
“Excavating the post-capitalist subject: Darkchain technology and eventually-consistent mythmaking”

Bio: Self-described “alien autopsy survivor” and wizard, Anders is working to build systems for mass peer-to-peer education, user interfaces for contemplation, and transpersonal languages that allow DAOs to express an internal dialogue. Anders is working with Holo on building the Holochain applications ecosystem.

Abstract: Abstract machines undergo evolution and paradigm-shift, just like living organisms and material processes. Darkchain technology has been invented, and it is poised to standardize the terms of collective mythmaking in the same way that blockchain has standardized discourse around collective finance. Soon, the stories we tell that ground our identity will be open-sourced and tweaked by public-platform hackers, taking them back from mass media, identity politics, and lifestyle marketing. The emergence of a mass xenogaming industry inherently abhors prediction; but, by utilizing the dynamics of hyperstition and the eventually-consistent darkchain, we can triangulate ourselves within a narrative truth which inexorably exceeds expectations.

Toby Shorin
“A New Era of Trust”

Bio: Toby Shorin is a product builder and writer interested in systems of identity, agency, and value. He writes about and consults on the intersection of these topics—brands, software, aesthetics, culture, and community. Toby is currently located in New York. His blog is

Abstract: Historically, aesthetic was a reliable indicator of quality, social allegiance, and trustability. Even after global supply chains enabled the wide distribution of high-quality goods, brands relied largely on visual signals to communicate trustworthiness to consumers. But in a world of ethically relative and utterly remixable aesthetics, a world increasingly composed of programmatically-generated images created at zero marginal cost, what can be trusted?

We live in a time where brands are expected to not just reflect our values but act on them. Consumer trust can no longer be based on visual signals of authenticity, only on proof of work. This talk will explore the history of visual trust signals and the relationship between brands and identity, and outline the impact of blockchain technology and smart contracts on brand marketing and value creation.

Conner Chevaillier
“AI, Etymology, Blockchain, and the History of Strange Government Technology/Programs”

Bio: Data Designer-Philosopher- General Systems Researcher and Theorist. Conner’s areas of interest include the History of Emergence, Technological Evolution, Etymology, Blockchain, Authority Analysis, and the Occult

Abstract: The hidden history and emergence of Blockchain and Authorities role in the emergence of Ledger and Secure Systems

This lecture is a History on the advent of Ledger services and its uses for military communication, escrow from the 1800’s to 2018’s. Furthermore, performing a critical analysis on the six generations of encryption in the context and use in systems of Authority and hierarchies. These generations being: mechanical, electromechanical, vacuum tubes, integrated circuits, electronic key distribution, and network/blockchain centric systems. Lastly, encryptions by types of application: Voice and Trunk encryption, Fleet broadcast, Strategic  forces, Internet, Public systems and Escrow.

Jeremy Welch
“Capital as an abstracted reputation system”

Bio: Jeremy is the cofounder of Casa, a personal key management system for crypto Hodler. Previously Jeremy has founded or worked with three different startups and Google.

Abstract: There’s lots of talk around the blockchain ecosystem of using blockchains to create a decentralized reputation system, but does capital already serve some roles as a reputation system? Referencing and building on the work of Deleuze and Guttieri, Jeremy will investigate the roles of capital as an abstracted reputation system.

Arjun Balaji

“Optional Decentralization”

Bio: Arjun is an investor and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Double Financial, the friendliest retail brokerage for cryptoassets and is a partner at Shomei Capital, where he invests in companies building the infrastructure needed to support crypto as a $5T asset class.

Abstract: Most future protocols, billed as “decentralized X” (e.g. money, storage, computation, DNS, etc.) will bill decentralization as a core tenet when almost all users don’t care. Nearly all of the early internet protocols, e.g. SMTP are accessed in a virtually centralized way. Give this, what will the future of decentralization look like when it comes to regulatory and scalability concerns?

Justin Mares
“Meta Problems and the Crypto Stack”

Bio: Justin is the founder of Kettle and Fire and author of Traction.

Abstract: Human capital is a scarce resource with highly illegible ways to drive returns. Both value investing and value capture are difficult, but the payoff can be tremendous. Crypto creates a new layer of abstraction that allows for not just the abstraction of code, but programmable value and the abstraction of value. This programmable value allows for the creation of markets in previously illegible sectors of the economy.

Joe Kelly
“Cryptoeconophysics: New analogies for systems of belief”

Bio: Joe is the founder of Unchained Capital which offers Bitcoin collateralized loans. Previously, Joe founded and sold Infochimps, a CSC Big Data startup.

Abstract: By the arrival of the 20th century, no reputed scientist believed powered flight was possible until it was demonstrated by the Wright brothers and other pioneers.  Likewise, no one believed that an uncontrolled, digital money system was possible until Bitcoin.

After the modern airfoil was invented, the aerospace industry advanced through a combination of practical results and new theories about fluid flows, a fundamentally chaotic and difficult area of nature to model.  Human social systems are similarly chaotic and difficult to model, but blockchain ecosystems offer a new technology that inspires us to develop better theories.

Joe combines ideas from the history of technology, microeconomics, and the physics of fluid flows to develop rich visual metaphors for models of social organization made possible by blockchains.

Taylor Pearson
“The Blockchain Individual”

Bio: Taylor is an independent consultant and writer. He is the author of The End of Jobs.

Abstract: The Organization Man, a term coined by William Whyte in his 1956 book of the same name, became the canonical image of the 20th century workforce.

Over the next two decades, blockchains will bring transaction costs down replacing existing firms with markets and enabling as-yet-unconceived-of business models. As organizations fracture, we’ll see the emergence of a new archetype: The Blockchain Individual.

Taylor will discuss the sociological implications of this shift and the emergence of The Blockchain Individual.

Patrick Atwater & Varun Adibhatla 

“Karmic currency and the future of government operations”

Bios Varun and Patrick went on a bike ride together at the start of their stint at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress and by the end launched Advanced Research in Government Operations (ARGO), a new kind of public utility to ensure public data realizes its transformative potential. They tweet @patwater and @vr00n.

Abstract: Outside of a few obsessive civil servants and opportunistic PR stunts, there is little actual action in exploring how the blockchain could change our current bureaucratic public administration paradigm, odd when you consider the that the etymology of the word computer and the role of bureaucracies as information processing machines. In this talk, we will share ARGO’s blockchain pilots and prototypes which range across California water conservation, city street maintenance and internal lunch operations to ground a (hopefully) grand (but not really) unified vision for how karmic currency can incentivize good (yes we know that’s a loaded word in this context) civic actions and dare we say make a dent in the universe.
J. Bryce Hidysmith
“The Vulnerable Link”
Bio: J. Bryce Hidysmith is presently a researcher at the Median Research Group, an advisor at the hedge fund Numerai, and writes at
Abstract: The vandalization, modification, or outright destruction of credit allocation records provides an environment where meritocracies of force are able to supplant meritocracies of credit in the organization of a culture. I’ll go into various strategies for using decentralized recordkeeping and common knowledge to avoid selecting for brutality as a primary hierarchy in society by increasing the surface area that a a given attempt to damage recordkeeping would have to affect.
Nolan Gray
“Don’t go Hashing Waterfalls”

Bio: Nolan Gray is an artist, producer and DJ. He serves as the Music Director at Blasthaus, and curates the Nolan Gray Communiqué, a weekly journal of music and the arts. In 2014 he released his first EP entitled Occams Lazer, followed by his second self-released EP entitled Stellar Wind in 2015. Nolan Gray has performed for sold out audiences nationwide and alongside a host of live acts including Hot Chip, Brodinski, Gesaffelstein and Booka Shade. As an artist his immersive sound installations have been shown in galleries in New York, San Francisco and Brussels. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Abstract: Emotion is at the intersection between the disembodiment of value from the market seen in the rise of cryptocurrency and music’s divestment from it’s physicality of playback and distribution mediums. What can we presently do to ensure that our future selves are class compliant with the forthcoming generation’s desire for the emotional fluidity of identity and the right to dance if you want to?

Galen Wolfe-Pauly
“Designing Robust Human Systems”

Bio: Galen is an architect and one of the co-founders of Urbit, a network of personal servers built from scratch.

AbstractToday there’s an abundance of efforts to rethink digital infrastructure. Will any of it actually last? How can we tell? Is it possible to actually *design* long-lived human systems?

One way to frame the answer is to look at existing long-lived human systems. Particularly physical infrastructure: cities, buildings, furniture and hand tools.

In this workshop we’ll look at examples throughout history from these categories, work together to unpack their design patterns, and apply these patterns critically to the present.

Rob Knight

“The Blockchain Archipelago”

Dhruv Bansal

“Blockchain Mind Candy: Increasingly Esoteric Applications for Blockchains”

Diana Hu

Samuel Chua
“Cryptohistorical Globalization — A Speculative Co-Refactoring Workshop”

Bio: Sam is a culture hacker interested in civilizational change and a practicing metatechnologist (designer and cultivator of human systems). He founded and currently consults via Metacata, a ‘travel agency for the mind’.

Abstract: We’ve all heard cryptopian visions of how blockchains might change the world.

But here’s a different question: what might the history of blockchains — with all its quiet beginnings, improbable adoptions, colorful opportunism, proxy conflicts, and heady speculation — tell us about the world as it is (and might become), not just as it could or should be? Cryptohistory instead of cryptopianism.

In this workshop, we’ll explore this question, together. Beginning with a few seed cryptohistorical events (e.g., Satoshi, Silk Road, Sierra Leone), we’ll:

  • Construct a timeline of notable cryptohistorical events
  • Hypothesize speculative connective explanations linking these
  • Imagine crazy extrapolation scenarios from these hypotheses

We’ll have just over an hour, so let’s make no pretense at exhaustiveness or historical authoritah. But we’ll get some new data, hypotheses, scenarios, and (hopefully) a bit of co-refactoring fun!

Bring: a couple choice cryptohistorical factoids, your favorite amateur historian hat, an improv mindset.

Anthony Di Franco

“Modeling Blockchain-driven Global Macroeconomic Evolution”

Bio: Anthony works on programming language technology emphasizing correctness and declarative programming, with smart contracts applications in view, in the PhD program at UC Davis, and in other work. He is also developing open source, simple, and low cost techniques to make insulin in a biohacking side project.
Abstract: How might widespread adoption of blockchain-based investment in financial and other similar asset classes impact the functioning of the global macroeconomy? Could this shift address long-standing problems in the economy, such as financially driven instability and accelerating concentration of wealth (a.k.a. condensation of wealth in econophysics terms) Vitalik Buterin and others in the community have advocated basic income and the related concept of a rolling jubilee as a prosocial use of blockchain-based financial technologies; where do these ideas stand relative to more direct broad participation in markets for financial assets? In work for blockchain startup YosemiteX, I investigated some aspects of these questions using dynamical systems models of the global macroeconomy developed by Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University, and will present discussion of these questions and the results obtained so far.

Timetable [Tentative]

Register here.

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About Taylor Pearson

Taylor is an entrepreneur and the author of End of Jobs.


  1. Tickets are already sold out. Any chance of getting one now?

    • Just fixed it. Should be more available now.

      • I keep getting “Your credit card isn’t valid. Please try again, using another funding source.” in PayPal. I’ve tried 3 different credit cards, and two web browsers…

        • That’s annoying. Sorry. :(

          I just checked and sales are going through on our end. Unfortunately, I think you’ll have to submit a support request to Paypal.

          • This is really annoying. Calling PayPal didn’t help. Their transaction to confirm my credit card went through, but not buying the ticket.

        • Just submitted a support ticket to ticketbase. Will let you know if they tell me anything helpful.

          • Thanks :)

          • So it rejected both my brother’s credit cards too. Is there something wrong with Canadian credit cards or…?

          • So I called one of my credit cards. And they say they don’t even see the transaction. So it could be the merchant bank account or some configuration that doesn’t let mine or my brother’s Canadian credit cards through.

            Is there anything I can do to get a ticket?

          • Drop me an email (taylor at taylor pearson dot me) from whichever email you want to register with and we’ll issue you a ticket and figure it out. Sorry for the trouble. :/

  2. Mike Haber says

    Is a ticket or payment required for the live stream?

  3. Joseph K Antony says

    A very interesting line of topics and speakers. Could you be streaming the talks or better still, available online later?

  4. Will more tickets be made available? They are sold out again :(

    • Hey Lucy,

      We’re working on it. Just added you to the waitlist so we’ll let you know if we’re able to get more tickets.

  5. William Ball says


    Do you mind adding me to wait list as well?


  6. I’d love to be added to the wait-list if possible as well, this seems like an awesome event that I don’t want to miss.

  7. eric bidinger says

    Trying to buy a ticket but says ‘sold out’

  8. Please email me if the waitlist is expanded.

  9. Jeff Kramer says

    I’d love to get on the waitlist, too!