- Peer production (also known as mass collaboration) is a way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals. In such communities, the labor of many people is coordinated towards a shared outcome. Peer production is a process taking advantage of new collaborative possibilities afforded by the internet and has become a widespread mode of labor. Free and open source software and open source hardware are two examples of peer production. One of the earliest instances of networked peer production is Project Gutenberg, a project in which volunteers make out-of-copyright works available online. Other non-profit examples include Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia (which has been described as "one of the most classic examples" of the peer production concept), Linux, a computer operating system, and Mozilla, a browser. Peer production occurs in a socio-technical system which allows thousands of individuals to effectively cooperate to create a non-exclusive given outcome (under commons and other forms of shared property). Implanting the principle of open collaboration, participants of peer production projects can join and leave at will (more on openness). These collective efforts are informal and non-unionized. Peer production is a collaborative effort with no limit to the amount of discussion or changes that can be made to the deliverable. However, as in the case of Wikipedia, a large amount, in fact the majority, of this collaborative effort is maintained by very few devoted and active individuals (also called longtail production).
A good example of peer production of digital services is Bitcoin. It can be seen as a permisisonless distributed network of agents (miners, blockchain developers, clients and other service providers that rely on the main network) that provides a global and very secure token exchange service. Some argue that this service amounts to a store of value, others consider it as a currency. Bitcoin, with its underlying blockchain technology has ushered a new age in peer production, with the emergence of the DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations) movement. The scale and high level of reliability of the Bitcoin service suggests that peer production can lead to very high quality outcomes. The longevity of the Bitcoin network and its adoption over time also suggests that peer production can be very transformative. This seems to be very puzzling for skeptics who have criticized peer production for some of its unreliable or mediocre outcomes.
Sensorica, with the OVN model aims at extending the success of the Bitcoin network into the material realm. The reader must note that although there are significant ideological differences among various implementations of peer production, the OVN model discussed here, which originates in the commons movement, and the libertarian-leaning Bitcoin model are part of a larger family of economic models. See also the 4th Sector.