The CredSperiment: An Ethnography of a Contributions System

49 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2023 Last revised: 30 Nov 2023

See all articles by Ellie Rennie

Ellie Rennie

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technolog (RMIT University)

Date Written: September 13, 2023


In the CredSperiment, participants were compensated based on their contributions within a permissionless organisation using their own developed SourceCred software. Contributors to SourceCred accepted payment based on sophisticated calculations called “Cred scores”. This ethnography of the CredSperiment examines its significance as an early attempt at instituting a regenerative economy. Drawing on Kealey and Rickett’s (2014) concept of contribution goods, the ethnography explores how a specific community can define what it values through its day-to-day actions, potentially overcoming plutocratic governance in web3 systems. The CredSperiment also exposed the challenges of permissionless systems, including perceptions of extractive behaviours. The article suggests that web3 requires machine-assisted governance with community inputs - terraforming as opposed to environmentality - if the benefits of permissionless systems are to be realised.

Keywords: Web3, blockchain, DAOs, contribution goods, digital ethnography

JEL Classification: J46, L31, M13

Suggested Citation

Rennie, Ellie, The CredSperiment: An Ethnography of a Contributions System (September 13, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Ellie Rennie (Contact Author)

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technolog (RMIT University) ( email )

RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub
Digital Ethnography Research Centre

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