LibreServer Blog / Federated Economy

The system for sharing stuff - which typically means physical objects like gardening tools, but could also include services like mesh antenna installation or dog walking - within Epicyon has been modified.

Up until recently this had been a feature limited to the instance. If I had implemented it within ActivityPub then I feared that, like email, this would quickly become yet another way to push spam into inboxes across the federation. But now I've thought of a different way to do it, where the data is pulled from the server (like RSS) rather than pushed (like ActivityPub, or chat messengers). If you're pulling data from a server and it contains spam then you can always just decide to defederate from receiving shared items from the spam server. Pulling also keeps the producer or sharer in control of where their data is being accessed, whereas pushed public ActivityPub posts may be relayed in all directions and can end up anywhere.

Each Epicyon instance now has a catalog of shared items in Data Food Consortium json-ld format, which can be accessed either with basic auth or with the presentation of the appropriate object capabilities token. Whenever ActivityPub posts are sent to followers the shared items token is also sent as a header and in addition to the token an instance pulling the data must be on the shared items federation list defined by the admin. The shared items catalogs for consenting instances are occasionally synchronized in the background.

There is also now a wanted items section, which federates in the same way as for shared items. So you have both supply and demand represented - the minimum ingredients needed for an economy.

Imagine if Craigslist was invented in 2021, instead of 1995. I think it would be something like this. Unlike Craigslist or Ebay though this isn't an open market. It's a strictly opt-in consent based sharing system, comparable to a mutual aid system or gift economy between people who have already established a level of trust. The economic arising from the social.

And before anyone asks, no I do not have any intention of supporting cryptocurrencies. This is mostly for bartering or gifting, in an era where money is almost an extinct species from a dimly remembered past.

At the bottom of the left column there is also a link to the shares catalog which can be downloaded in CSV format. This makes it easy to get your collective inventory of things into a spreadsheet.