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  • Writer's pictureRyan Watson

Minimum viable pattern

My greatest weakness is my belief that someone else is the problem. The path of cowardice is paved with the denial of my own accountability. There is no greater betrayal than the abdication of my power.

The path of bravery is the path of ownership and transformation. The path of the warrior isn't paved. The path of warriorship is walking my talk and living in alignment with my values.

We desperately want the dark state of our world and our society to be someone else's fault. In our great righteousness, we are desperate to achieve victory over those others who are so clearly (to us) in the wrong and who so obviously (to us) need to be forced to change. This is the impulse of weakness that leads down the path of cowardice. This path leads to failure and beyond, into very dark places.

But no matter where we are on the smoothly paved path of cowardice, the wilderness of bravery is never more than one small step away. And from a vantage point just a few steps off the path, the desperate need of the coward, the constant demand for someone else to change in order to make their world better, can easily be seen for the weakness that it is. And honestly, it's really no big deal. That's the joke of cowardice. The fear is always far worse than the reality.

Once you are off the path, it doesn't take very long to realize that the wilderness really isn't that bad. There are actually a lot of friendly faces out here. Not only that, but the oppressive, wealth-sucking, soul-destroying power of empire in decline has a lot less relevance here.

From the position of the coward, the empire is either the all-powerful solution or the all-powerful problem. From the position of the warrior, the empire is a dangerous beast that just might be in its death throes, so we try to steer clear of it as we go about our lives with each other.

We've got better things to do. We're striking out on a new path, and we've got a better world to build.

Patterns of relationship

Society is made of up the patterns of relationships between us. Changing our patterns of relationship is what transforms society.

In the world around me, I see patterns of economic and political relationships that are causing great harm. My cowardly response to this is to point at the place the problem manifests, and insist that those other people change their patterns. My brave response is to change the patterns of my own relationships that might be contributing to the problem, and strengthen the patterns of my own relationships that could be part of the solution.

The paths of bravery and cowardice never really fork. They are always right beside each other, and we have to chose between them in every moment. The way I see it, we have to step down on our righteousness, our insistence that others change, and our moral conviction that other people are the problem. We have to step up, and step into making sure that we ourselves are impacting the world in positive ways. That's the only thing that will actually help.

It isn't about being nice, or being politically correct. Honestly, it's not even about being kind. It's about direct application of raw political and economic power. Every human has these powers. We are in economic and political relationship with each other constantly, and those relationships themselves are in fact the root of these powers.

We are so habituated to believe that all problems and solutions exist outside of us, that we feel like we have no choice but to express our political and economic power through structures that also exist outside of us. We tend to think that the only possible expression of our political power is voting, because voting is open to us as a way to impact a structure that exists outside of us. It fits our paradigm of the potency of an outside authority in a very comforting way. We think that the only possible expression of our economic power is accessing and using money, because it gives us power over something outside of ourselves that we can use to store and transmit our wealth. It fits our paradigm of the potency of an outside authority in a very comforting way.

The truth is that voting is only one expression of our political power, and owning and using money is only one expression of our economic power. Both are potent expressions of these powers that we can employ, but it is extremely limiting if we see these as the only possibilities. We have other options, and we need to find other ways as well.

Our currency-creating power

Money is the strategic pivot that changes everything. Money is where politics and economy meet.

Money is a ruleset that we can opt to use as we see fit. We do not use money because we are forced to, we use it because it serves our purposes like nothing else we know of.

But money is a ruleset that is no longer well aligned with the realities of the modern world. Money is a ruleset that has become brittle and destructive. The roots of this problem are explored in my first book, Trust Again: how peer-to-peer trust between sovereign humans changes everything.

When we depend on money, we put ourselves in a position of weakness. When we depend on money, our ability to exchange with each other is subject to forces far beyond our control. This is clearly demonstrated where money fails, for example in zones of hyperinflation. But even where money appears stable, it is a ruleset that tilts the playing field towards centralization and extraction.

But money itself is not really the problem. That's the coward's way of thinking. Money is something outside of ourselves that we could blame for the mess we are in. But it's the relationships that matter. Money is a ruleset that mediates our economic relationships. Deciding to shape an economic relationship under the ruleset of money is a choice, and it's a perfectly valid choice. But it might not always be the best choice for ourselves or for our world.

The real problem is limiting ourselves to seeing money as the only form of wealth, and the only ruleset under which we can exchange with each other. The credex ecosystem opens up an entirely new set of possibilities for us to build wealth together in communities, businesses, regions, and across the world. But the credex ecosystem also integrates seamlessly with money economies. Using credex is not an either-or choice, it's an experiment. It's an experiment that will begin at the margins, like so many innovations. Systemic transformation begins at the margins, and scales across networks.

The credex ecosystem is a digital environment in which we can use our own currency-creating power to transact under a ruleset that is foundationally independent of money.

The true magical beauty of credex is that we don't need to demand that anyone else change. This is the warrior's path. We don't need to change the money system. We just give ourselves permission to also experiment with something else, and we see what happens.

The credex experiment is an experiment with trust. The credex ecosystem replaces the centralized, cascading credit controls of modern money with pure trust between human beings. Simply by providing a few simple tools to verify, audit, and scale trust between humans and their corporations, the credex ecosystem opens a door to a completely different method of value exchange for mutual benefit. The credex ecosystem enables complex modern economic relationships without the need for the centralized controls of money. Credex is an accounting protocol that removes the necessity of a set of centralized currency-creating entities, and replaces it with decentralized credit in the hands of people everywhere.

The foundational relationship pattern of the credex ecosystem is peer-to-peer trust between sovereign humans.

Minimum viability

In tech startup culture, the simplest version of a software product that will actually provide value to users is known as a minimum viable product. Releasing a minimum viable product moves a business from isolated development into live interaction with real users and real use cases.

Product-market fit occurs when a product has proven its value proposition. Product-market fit occurs when a product provides enough value that a economically sustainable number of people are reliably willing to use it, instead of the alternatives.

Critical mass is the point where network growth becomes self-sustainable. Critical mass occurs when the value of the network itself (rather than the product or any sales efforts) provides enough value to magnetically attract new users.

A minimum viable pattern is perhaps a blend of these concepts. Harnessing a minimum viable pattern of human relationship is what takes a tech startup from a minimum viable product through to explosive network growth. A minimum viable product must create a minimum viable pattern of human relationship. That's what allows it to scale.

The concept of minimum viability is critical. It's a concept associated with evolution. All sorts of mutations and evolutions can occur, but it's only those that provide a minimum viable utility that succeed and scale. A minimum viable pattern could also be thought of as a prototype that is ready to scale, or as an archetype expressed in microcosm.

In order to establish successful new forms of political and economic relationship between humans, we need to seed new prototypes and embody new minimum viable patterns. We need to empower new archetypes within the microcosms of our own relationships.

The three simple rules of credex

A credex is an IOU between economic counterparties. It is a personal and individualised promise to provide value from one party to another. For example, "Alice promises to provide Bob with $10 CAD worth of value by June 12, 2023."

This IOU structure on its own is not quite a minimum viable pattern. What makes it scalable is its viral utility between counterparties and across economic networks. What makes it scalable is not the credex itself, but the way that each credex is able to interact and credloop with other credexes in the ecosystem.

Credexes in the credex ecosystem obey the following three rules, which together form a minimum viable pattern. As an alternative to the complex and centralized rulesets of money, the ecosystem offers us these three simple rules:

  1. The amount, denomination (asset or formula), and due date of every credex IOU smart contract is freely agreed on by the counterparties at the time of issuance.

  2. Credloop: if I owe you, and you owe them, and they owe me, then we're square.

  3. Every member has a private credit history that they can chose to share in summary or detail form to prove their past trustworthiness in delivering the value they promise.

With this ruleset, I am able to establish my own patterns of economic relationship that are foundationally independent of money. I can do this freely with any human or corporation that wants to exchange under the same ruleset. This ruleset is not in opposition to the incredibly complex (and now incredible brittle) ruleset of money. Credex isn't in opposition to money, credex is an alternative to money.

A credex debt can always be cleared with money. If I promise to provide you with $10 CAD worth of value and no credloops are found before my debt comes due, I can always just pay you $10, and we are square. But, if the ecosystem can credloop that debt, money simply becomes an unnecessary step in the process of value exchange, even across complex, multi-party, multi-denominational, world-spanning chains of transactions.

Credex is massively scalable, but even more important is that the minimum viable pattern of credex is very, very small. It appears that the minimum viable pattern of the credex ecosystem may be just a handful of humans. A small group of people deciding to use the credex ruleset for their economic relationships wherever they are able to, may in fact be all that it takes to initiate a completely new pattern of decentralized political economy based on peer-to-peer relationships, instead of centralized controls.


At first glance, this may not seem like that big of a deal. It's just an accounting protocol that tracks and clears some of our debts with each other. It can be hard to see how something so simple could have such profound implications.

But money is scarce by nature. That's part of its ruleset. Without scarcity, money is valueless. And requiring a scarce resource for every purchase and every basic necessity means that the ruleset of money pervades, influences, and even controls much of our lives. It also leaves us incredibly vulnerable both to personal lack of money, as well as systemic malfunctions of money.

We take monetary imbalances for granted. We look to powers outside of ourselves, such as central banks and governments, to protect us from these devastating events. The solutions that these powers offer are all about managing and manipulating money. But what if we just didn't need it at all? What if we just didn't need these centralized power structures either? Or what if we just needed them a lot less?

Inflation is a monetary phenomenon, and members of the credex ecosystem can sidestep it with ease. Hyperinflation is a monetary phenomenon, and is simply a non-issue within the ecosystem. Deflation is a non-issue. Credit card fees and bank fees are non-issues. The credex ecosystem has the power to connect humans and their corporations directly with each other, so that they can create mutual value, free of the scarcity dynamic that is imposed by the ruleset of money.

Trust Again launch event

At 4:40-6:30pm on August 18, 2023 at 812 Stanley Street, Nelson BC, Canada, we will gather for a couple of hours in person to see what happens when we decide to exchange value with each other under a different ruleset. We'll be experimenting with the threshold of the minimum viable pattern of credex. What kind of spark will we sense? What possibilities will emerge?

I can't wait to find out. I hope you'll join us.

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