The desire for competition is intrinsically built into our being and society’s function; we fixate on success and failure. Zero-sum games prime our minds for there to always be a winner and a loser, where the failure of another values one’s success.
Zero-sum games produce a one-dimensional approach to growth. “I am going to work harder and faster to beat X, to win X.” The development in this structure is motivated by the desire to be better than another. When the clock runs out, the attention is turned to the score and towards who has done more to win. The urge to be number one is always present, even when it’s faint.
But what if there is no next game, let alone an end to the game or the competition? Thus no winners or losers, no zero-sum game to motivate us to focus on our success through another’s failure.
The resulting product is a collaborative, accessible learning and work environment. Aya Miyaguchi, from the Ethereum Foundation, referred to this concept as the infinite game during her EthCC presentation in 2021, stating:
“A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”
The Infinite Garden
The infinite garden – the Ethereum ecosystem – relies on the infinite game and the mindset it forms. The shared soil of the garden creates a basis for success, built upon shared resources and passion that all plants have access to. Each plant maintains its individual growth while remaining connected through roots and outreaches, being able to share and expand. Stretching as far as one can see, the infinite garden amasses an incomprehensible size and amplifies group learning.
Open source relies on the group’s mindset being dedicated to communal growth rather than competition. Universal access offers a ground level for all to enter the space; each user has admission to the same knowledge space. Instead of these shared resources, individual expansion of knowledge is maintained, each person discovering their own path.
Open source equally relies on recycling knowledge, taking what you have learned, and putting it back in the pool of knowledge. This holds a connection between all individuals despite their individual growth and differences.
Growth is Continuous
There is constant change and progression in the open source ecosystem, sustaining the passion that got each person going in the first place and offering new challenges for the individual and the whole. This ultimately lays the bricks for this community mindset to form an infinite garden.
The flourishing garden can be constantly updated due to the peer-to-peer network. The system can run smoothly and operate without roadblocks stemming from traditional intermediaries. The distribution and installation of new developments can occur significantly quicker than before, allowing the infinite garden to expand rapidly.
The shared global structure of blockchain offers consistent opportunities for growth on a universally accessible platform. Builders and learners can construct and learn off the backs of one another. The result is a stronger and more prosperous community and product in the long term.
The Ethereum ecosystem wasn’t designed. It has evolved.
In this system, collaboration is naturally curated. Resources and knowledge are combined, transformed, and connected to weave a product that we all have a hand in forming.
– Team Gitcoin
Thank you to Dartmouth Blockchain, MathildaDV, and Armando for creating this piece.