Over the past 2 years, KERNEL has grown into a web3 commons with customs co-created by 1,200 unique, incredible and diverse human beings.
Like any great communal treasure, KERNEL is many things to many people. Our explorations often move past words into a poetic field, so prose feels like a limiting mode in which to describe this commons.
When we do attempt prosaic description, it sounds something like this:
KERNEL is an underground stream feeding intentional web3 projects & people. It is a place of honesty, trust, excellence, clarity, and heightened awareness. More than anything, it is a place to practice and serve.
That said, there are some practicalities. Across 5 blocks, 1200+ KERNEL Fellows have re-shaped and re-imagined reality with us through simply spending time with each other, appreciating our pluralistic ways of being. Fellows have collectively started or served over 150 web3 projects, raising north of $250M.
KERNEL serves and is served by a group of technologists, musicians, permaculture farmers, microbiologists, policy wonks, film directors, (bestselling) authors, artists, coders, artistic coders and everything in between. Each is wonderful and unique.
Given such seeds, KERNEL aims to be as non-instrumentalized an environment as possible, allowing for fruitful experience to emerge naturally.
And yet, there is a definitive internal orientation first in KERNEL, before it spirals externally.
For the ‘inner world’, KERNEL primarily hopes to provide an environment conducive for a life of practice and service (because we are each other’s environment).
From there, we set out into the ‘external world’ intent on establishing a healthy relationship to wealth. We define wealth as “having enough to share”: a simple and wholesome understanding of interdependence and relationship.
Rooted in the lived experience of ubuntu, we try to be responsible for and accountable to our individual signatures while always remembering that such signatures are only meaningful due to the shared nature of our record and the consensus by which it is established.
We feel this orientation helps us build a healthy, resilient communal space in KERNEL. Once it is lived and related, this primary direction can help us build better tools. KERNEL provides us the opportunity to live web3 principles (in an open-source, peer-to-peer, trust-full space) as best we can, together. We have done so across five blocks thus far, and we sense that the seeds have been planted for many more full blocks to come.
However, all this activity would be inconsequential if it didn’t respect the silence each KERNEL Fellow needs to live vibrantly. We take this seriously and we’ll come back to this shortly with our plans for KB6.How is KERNEL evolving?¶
After five KERNEL blocks, we continue to ask ourselves: where is the most fertile path from here? We know that a spinout from Gitcoin into a KERNEL Foundation and a KERNEL Company is imminent (more here).
We know that each KERNEL Block has been better than the last, with more high quality applications and experiences. (KB5 was our biggest block ever, with 400+ incredible fellows).
We also know that we will have to find creative, perpetual funding mechanisms for KERNEL which allow it to operate in line with our values, customs, and rituals for decades to come.
We hear, alongside these truths, a quiet chorus of questions across blocks.
“If we schematize the world as a ledger, what happens to us, our relations, how we feel and exist? If we schematize the world as organized by cosmic resonances, as in classical east asian philosophy, what happens? If we schematize the world as waves, which encode messages and may be heard and read, what kinds of poetry would we hear from the vibration of objects?” — Kelsey Chen, KB4
“How do we actually, truly include the people systematically excluded from our current systems?” — Alexandra Lederman, KB5
No masters only you the master is you._
Wonderful, no?* — Ikkyu
With these questions in mind, we are opting for a bit of silence.
KERNEL Block 6 will not open applications to the public, rather choosing a reflective, retooling, and regenerative ‘empty block’.
This will open up a bit of time to spend with you during what we hope flows through with the emptiness: a Summer of Love.KB6: The Empty Block¶
“Silence, according to western and eastern tradition alike, is necessary for the emergence of persons. It is taken from us by machines that ape people. We could easily be made increasingly dependent on machines for speaking and for thinking, as we are already dependent on machines for moving.” - Ivan Illich, Silence is a Commons
The easiest answer to the question, “Where does KERNEL go from here?” is as follows: no where at all. The promise made to each KERNEL Fellow is that KERNEL intends to be here into perpetuity. KERNEL aims to be a pool of energy available to tap into on your journey: ever-growing, pruning, and regenerating in response to energy from both new and existing fellows.
Occasionally, though, in blockchains, it happens that an empty block is mined. Empty blocks serve a purpose in that they add to the length of the longest chain and require the same amount of work to produce. In so doing, they contribute to our cumulative validation work and continue to strengthen certain security guarantees.
Now, we want to explore how mining an empty KERNEL Block looks in terms of strengthening the lifelong relationships we have begun. This means that we will not be opening up new applications for KERNEL Block 6, rather choosing to spend the summer in communion with many of you.
We have always firmly believed that Layer 0 is the people. We are fortunate beyond description to have already hosted over 1,200 brilliant hearts and minds in KERNEL. Friends have been made, food has been shared, bread broken, revolutions danced, codes taught, silence reflected, songs sung, tears shed, smiles illuminated.
Our suggestion is that the “coinbase” for Layer 0 is a shared celebration. We will do exactly the same amount of work to organize KERNEL Block 6, though the work will be about tracing all the connections already made, minding our shared garden of meaning, and celebrating together how far we have already come.
As a friend once taught us:
Once you understand,
and be thankful.
We hope that this results in a bit more silence and emptiness from where interesting fruit may bear.The Summer of Love¶
Celebration, at its best, does not consume. Celebration is creative, both of new spaces, and new ways of understanding being. This empty, celebratory block will coincide with what we’re calling “The Summer of Love” as we invite back everyone who has been through Kernel to explore its deeper reaches with us again in a slow, intentional, free and open way.
Over eight weeks, we will uncover specific Curated Readings we have not discussed in public firesides or other events before.
Our intention is to explore these fresh conversational spaces we have yet to open together. We will also host a few “fireside-like” events, though likely not every week as in a standard block.
This slower, more open, summer of love structure will allow for two new elements to take shape:
Culture, Rituals & Vibrations¶
Our fellows who have been through the first five blocks have gone on to do incredible things. This empty block is an opportunity to:
- Share your story and teach what you have learned by hosting conversations with people you know will care and contribute back. Teaching what we know is the best way to learn it more fully.
- Find new co-conspirators for your ongoing work.
- Begin a new adventure, inspired by all the awesome people gathered around you.
- Explore parts of KERNEL you did not have time or energy to the first time around.
We will be encouraging you to use our convo app, and all the internal tools you have learnt about how to host healthy and thought-provoking conversations, in order to create convos in which you invite friends, family or other familiar faces and give them a taste of KERNEL.
Our instinct is that these convos can include new friends, both in KERNEL and beyond. We will be stewarding this via the following:
- Alumni Touchpoints: Spending time with KERNEL adventures and fellows across blocks, saying hello and seeing how everyone is doing & who may want to participate
- Firesides: Hosting a select 3-4 firesides on a variety of topics yet explored in KERNEL
- Retreats / Dinners / Experiences: Physical and digital spaces to break bread, explore interests, and perhaps retreat together in smaller groups of KERNEL
Building Community Tools & Patterns¶
Building together, tools and patterns to be used by future fellows and all our friends across this world wide web of light. The sorts of tools and patterns we intend to explore are:
The Infinite Game (Legal, Finance, Product)
What does a ‘shared endowment’ look like in the context of blockchains, DAO’s, and networks owned by no-one? Could this be the basis for a KERNEL Endowment Fund? If so, how might it be structured?
Infrastructure for Communities of Care (Engineering, Design, Product)
The stewards will be working on a few technical projects we’ve had in the back of our minds while we have explored relational space with all of you. Anyone is welcome to contribute to this work:
- Project Unprofile - exploring open and holistic means of connecting.
- Convo - a simple web app to organize intentional gatherings and great conversations.
- FreeLearn - a set of contracts and the accompanying React modules required for anyone to create their own educational offerings which generate revenue while remaining free for those who learn from them.
- Signature Economies - an essay intended to create significant money.
- Margins of Meaning - a super secret shadow project to promote meaningful economies.
Do you have an idea to add to KB6’s Summer of Love? Join us in the #kernel-building-kernel channel on Slack or let us know if you are interested at email@example.com.
Thank you to Ali Rizvi, Josephine Zhang, En Canada, Simon Luetzelschwab, Jing Yi Teo, Jason Mah, Susie Kavanaugh, Kokeb Solomon, Michelle Huang, Paul Gadi, Rory Ou, Salim Virani, Juan Diosdado, Sparrow Reed, Anthony Moffa, Pauline de Mortain, Tagan Horton, and countless others who join us already in this channel and bring us much hope for our collective future.KB7: Applications Open On 6/1¶
We also look ahead to KERNEL Block 7, which will begin September 9th, 2022.
Applications will open on June 1st, and we will begin taking referrals from KERNEL Fellows immediately. Please check your Slack & your emails for your unique referral email. Please refer your friends, colleagues, and family. We are excited to expand the garden, slowly and mindfully beginning in the fall.
If all goes according to plan, KB7 will include a mid-block meetup in Bogota for Devcon. We are working out the logistics already.The Gift That Keeps On Giving¶
The KERNEL story, in some sense, has always been about the different ways we can use each other as mirrors on an unbounded search towards an infinite, immeasurable experience. In this regard, it is never meant to be bounded by KERNEL. Our hope, as a community of care, is to be a silent vessel, only named insofar as it helps a fellow traveller.
We thank you for spending time with us on your journey. That it is one we take together is the greatest gift. We hope only to give it back.
What is the link for KB7 referrals?
Where will communications be for the empty block and Summer of Love?
Making sure we put both minds and hearts from all over the world together in one place, no matter your circumstances.
Break with the paradigmatic approach to history and ensure that a shared understanding of what constitutes meaningful consensus is placed at the heart of all actions which collectively make us up.