The context. Caregiving is in crisis, that's not news to anybody who's been remotely involved. What is new are some ideas that are starting to be explored about how new types of organisations and technology could play a role, in particular, distributed autonomous organisations, or DAOs. Forget the crypto bonfire dominating the headlines, blockchain's ability to share value across a decentralised network is transformational and a much bigger story. The question here is could we use a more cooperative model of care, enabled by a decentralized network to address the caregiving crisis?
The hypothesis: A few areas where DAOs could be applied to improving both paid and family caregiving, based on the conversation on LinkedIn here and other discussions.
Double caregiver salaries. Have caregivers be their own boss and take 95% of the fee rather than less than 50%. This would be theoretically feasible in a world in which there was no middleman. As in a cooperative model, with a lightweight set of coordination, matchmaking, security, and scheduling tasks that are carried out by the protocol (see eg this post about the fat protocols). Questions here are what functions do agencies do today and which ones could be decentralised?
Bring in more people from outside caregiving. Why isn't everyone in a town a caregiver - signed up to a network and willing to spend time doing things they're interested in for those who need it.
Avoiding discrimination. Using zero knowledge proofs people can prove they can do aspects of a job without needing to share all their identity. This could reduce ageism and racism.
Buying club. With 40m family caregivers in the US, and millions more involved in paid caregiving, why isn't there a DAO buyers club to deliver discounts on common items? Instead a large part of the $10k/ year that caregivers spend goes to Walgreens...
Peer support. A distributed network could gather together those with similar situations - we hear that peer support is the one thing that most caregivers needs and yet it's so often an isolated and lonely journey. Groups like Daughterhood are doing this beautifully, but in small, geographically-specific situations. Let's take that emotion and compassion available for those in rural areas and without easy access to other care circles.
What to expect at this meeting:
Come without any preconceived ideas, just bring your experience and questions. The agenda will be open and emergent - we can hear from each other what are the key issues that we need to be addressed from the caregivers' perspectives, and brainstorm some use cases and questions that arise. I've asked a couple of people to share their perspectives on the topic to get us started.