Commons-based peer production

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Also known as long-tail production, term coined by Yochai Benkler.

On this wiki we make a distinction between commons-based peer production (CBPP) and peer production.

  • CBPP is mediated by centralized platforms (ex. such as Wikipedia), as when Benkler published his studies blockchain and other p2p infrastructures didn't exist. Peer production is mediated by infrastructure that is under the nondominium property regime. The difference is significant, since the nondominium infrastructure is capture resistant.
  • Also, Benkler spoke about digital social production, he did not extend his theory to material production. Peer production, as used by Sensorica encompass all production, including material
  • Benkler presented CBPP as entirely bypassing the market. Sensorica's use of peer production includes market transactions, but it also includes other modes of distribution and dissemination.


A mode of production that is open (access to participation, permissionless), transparent (access to information), decentralized (in terms of allocation of resources) and horizontal (autonomy), involving many actors who use p2p communications (e.g. the Internet) to coordinate. These actors are both independent and interdependent. They may freely share material resources and the platform (infrastructure), their knowledge, and collaborative effort to provide solutions to problems.

When we speak about peer production we suppose that the infrastructure is under the nondominium form of property (ex. Bitcoin).


The central question of commons-based production is this: if the ownership / stewardship of commons are in the hands of a large community, how are the fruits of collaboration (due to a skilled or inventive minority group) to be distributed among participants?

One solution is by direct accounting: what is harvested from the commons shall be shared fairly among participants.

In Practice

Sensorica expands this model by adding a contribution accounting system, which allows for an equitable redistribution of economic gains, based on everyone's contribution. This mode of production is powered in large part by a variety of intrinsic motivations (such as contributing to the wealth and welfare of the commons), but also by the desire to access tangible benefits, including financial remuneration.

This production system may benefit in many cases (particularly with regard to non-physical commons such as knowledge and cultural reservoirs) by scaling up to a large ecosystem of diverse membership. It is important that this remain a community such that exploitation and competition do not become overriding forces. Open source development and licensing enables higher-order currencies like reputation to act as a strong binding principle of self-organization.


See definition on p2p Foundation

See Wikipedia definition

See also