Centralizing or sharing the digital community currencies governances? Proposing ways of thinking DCCs from the Mumbuca case
This work deals with the implications of different ways of digitalizing social or community currencies (CCs) in Brazil. It starts from the following tension, verbalized by representatives of Brazilian Community Development Banks (CDBs): on the one hand, the digitalization of CCs would maintain “the same idea, [only] in different ways”; on the other hand, its governance would be nowadays “the most complex issue”. The investigation examines this tension in Mumbuca Digital CC (DCC) case (Maricá, state of Rio de Janeiro), one of the greatest world’s DCC experiences (considering the number of financial resources involved) and part of the Brazilian CDBs Network - which has brought together around 150 experiences since 1998. We collected data from 2015 to 2021, from semi-structured interviews, fieldnotes from an ethnographic research approach, and the Mumbuca DCC system administrative interface as well. The article advances in understanding DCCs: besides demonstrating that their materialities are inseparable from the “social arrangements” around them, it adds new elements to previous researches, proposing an analysis framework for different sociotechnical governance dimensions of DCC (GDs). Precisely, using tools and concepts from Actor Network Theory (such as translation, symmetry, networks, sociogram and technogram), we begin describing moments of Mumbuca DCC, each one corresponding to different versions of CDBs principles and to different sociotechnical governance configurations. Finally, we present a framework that brings together new DCC governance dimensions (like “management” dimension and “economic appropriations” involved) dialoguing with previous investigations GDs (“requirements”, “data” and “source code” of a DCC), and classifying each one as “Centralized” (meaning strong state / private company presence) or “Shared” (strong self-management / community approach).