La Dream Machine

Public Goods Research Hub with a Latin, Social and Critical Perspective

🧐 What is La Dream Machine?

La Dream Machine is a Web3 research and content creation lab with a social, latin, and critical approach. We explore the possibilities of blockchain technologies through our weekly newsletter, ongoing data driven research, a soon-to-be podcast and plenty of collaborations.

🤔 Why?

Frankly, because we are both bored and scared of:

  • The mainstream & polarized crypto narratives. We found ourselves trapped either by the ‘web3 is gonna save the world’ or “web3 is nothing but a scam”.
  • The Regen/ReFi spaces have broadened the discourses, but there is so much more to add towards actual social systemic change.
  • The lack of visibility/funding towards the South American wisdom, talent, communities, projects and sazón around blockchain technologies.
  • The quantity & quality of Spanish web3 content.
  • The lack of humanities in mainstream crypto narratives.

By failing to integrate critical perspectives on web3, specially when thinking and building on the Global South, we risk using all its potential to replicate the same dynamics we so desperately need to change.

✨ How do we propose to solve it?

We aim to create a knowledge and networking hub for everyone working to improve LATAM, willing to responsibly look at the existential risks and hopes of blockchain technologies in real life 👩🏾‍❤️‍👩🏽

Our activities include:

  • Weekly newsletter: selection of indispensable articles, videos, essays, podcasts, events, etc.
    • From essentials on Moloch to all sub punk genres that are envisioning fairer worlds, such as solarpunk, lunarpunk, and others.
    • From academic articles on Blockchain Imperialism to investigative journalism on Crypto Colonialism.
    • From indigenous worldviews to postmodern jargon.
    • From AI arts to silly memes.
  • Data driven research: quantitative & qualitative investigations to better comprehend the web3 ReFi landscape in LATAM.
  • Twitter Spaces / Podcast: conversations with builders, artists, researchers, founders and contributors of the space, asking the hard questions and bringing the critical perspectives.
  • Collaborations: Partnerships with several Latin projects for specific initiatives, like FUTURX, Andino DAO, Crypto-Communities and Ashoka.

🛠️What have we done so far?

🗞️ Newsletter

  • 28 editions published in 2022, plus 10 in 2023 so far.
  • 100+ subscribers, 2.000+ views.
  • No paid subscriptions, no paywalls. Striving for knowledge as public goods!
  • Included the work of Elena Yásnaya Aguilar, Urbánika, Marcus AM, FUTURX, Daniel Schmachtenberger, Liv Boeere, Jordan Hall, Eric Weinstein, and many more!
  • GOALS:
    • Push for consistency: one publication per week, hopefully two.
    • Establish the newsletter as the go-to for the latest on ReFi / Regen in LATAM.

📉 Research

  • “Web3 con Impacto Social en LATAM”, phase 1:
    • Think Impact DAO Media 's ongoing research, but with a latin and critical focus. Done in collaboration with Crypto-Communities.
  • Mapped ~100 projects in South America, classified them according to the UN’s SDGs, gathered quantitative data, interviewed founders and published the preliminary results through our newsletter.
  • In late 2022, we presented the results at Ekoparty, one of the biggest cybersecurity conferences in LATAM, and in UPFC’s ReFi side event for Labitconf.

  • “Web3 con Impacto Social en LATAM”, phase 2:
    • Ashoka partnership: we’ll be working directly with Ashoka’s Latin department.
    • GOALS:
      • Introduce heavy focus on systemic change.
      • Refine open source database.
      • Interview a selection of projects, release them through our soon-to-be podcast.
      • Publish written/visual/interactive results in mid-late 2023.

🎙️ Twitter Spaces / Podcast

  • Hosted and participated in several spaces. To mention a few:
    • 6 educational Twitter Spaces in collaboration with AndinoDAO.
    • Interview with AtomTM, german electronic musician, in collaboration with FUTURX.
    • Participated in a panel with Marcus AM, hosted by Maker DAO’s Latin Ambassadors Project.
  • GOALS:
    • Participate in at least 2 Twitter Spaces per month, as guests or hosts.
    • Start La Dream Machine's podcast!
      • New format for much more intimate, flexible, in-depth, not twitter-dependent conversations.

🏆 Team

Claudio Cifuentes Lobo, journalist and writer, cofounder of La Dream Machine and Impact Academy. You’ll find him with too many tabs open, struggling.

Simon Espínola, economist and social entrepreneur, cofounder of La Dream Machine and CEO of Naturland. You’ll find him dreaming about decentralization and researching natural medicine.


+How are you going to watch the impact of this grant?

  • Through our newsletter (go and subscribe!) and our Twitter profile. We are not yet working with POAPs or active on Lens. Let us know if that would be important for the next round!

+What are the topics you’ll cover in the newsletter, research, and podcast?

  • We’ll keep highlighting a wide array of philosophies, projects, stories, narratives, etc., that we believe are crucial for a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the ReFi space. Always with a social, latin and critical perspective.

+What are the goals of La Dream Machine?

Build a knowledge and networking hub for people willing to make deep, systemic, regenerative, impact through blockchain technologies, while DREAMING and HAVING FUN.

+Why that weird name, La Dream Machine?

Glad you asked! It comes from an light art artifact created in the 60’s, the chilean social uprisings in 2019 and desire

Our grant proposal ends HERE, but if you have more time/curiosity to spare, you’ll now find the full-length story of our weird name.

🔮 Why that weird name, La Dream Machine?

💭 The Dreamachine

In its original form, The Dreamachine was a groundbreaking DIY device capable of inducing visual, hallucinogenic, almost spiritual experiences with no need of drugs. Only light.

Invented in the early 60’s, it's a stroboscopic flickering light art device that produces visual stimuli. The process is simple. You stand by the machine with your eyes closed, and let the flickering light trigger alpha waves in your brain, the same brain waves produced during REM sleep. As described by many, you’ll end up having the most astonishing visuals before your eyes - patterns, mandalas, constellations that challenge everything regarded as true.

The Dreamachine was designed to be the ‘first artwork to be experienced with your eyes closed’. It was envisioned as a machine to replace the TV in every home in America by William Burroughs and Bryon Gysin, the inventors. Instead of passive consumers of mass-produced media, they proposed, viewers of the Dreamachine would create their own cinematic experiences, thus triggering new imaginaries, aesthetics, worldviews.

Since its unveiling, it has inspired the likes of David Bowie, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Genesis P. Orridge and Phillip K. Dick. From completely different contexts and circumstances, we also draw inspiration from it.

🚨 Estallido Social

It was just after the Chilean social uprisings in 2019 that we learnt about The Dreamachine.

Have you heard of the social uprisings? About the “estallido social”, as it was the original spanish? Think of the Arab Spring, but in the longest country of South America… which happens to be one of the wealthiest countries in the region and*, at the same time,* the most unequal one.

In a nutshell, it was a series of massive demonstrations, heavy metal riots and state violence as we youngsters had never seen before. It was triggered by a 30 cent subway fare rise, but it was quickly followed by nearly 70 subway stations burnt to the ground, literally millions of citizens manifesting on the streets, the army taking over the cities for the first time since the dictatorship, systematic human rights violations perpetrated by state police (see “Ojos Sobre Chile”, by International Amnesty) and in the dissolution of the Constitution instaurated during Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship in the 80s.

It was triggered by a 30 cent fare raise, but symbolically people saw it as the tipping point

of 30 years living under one of the most extreme neoliberal systems in the world. Insufficient pensions, privatized education, health, and water, commercial monopolies, segregation, discrimination, corruption, cronyism, nepotism and centralism were the main themes.

After the most intense months, it was natural that we started dreaming, very naively of course, about potential blockchain applications to address what we were witnessing in the streets.

(Please google “estallido social”. Definitely worth it. For a rather interesting take, look for “atom™ // r3v”on Youtube. And for a rather raw one, continue with “atom™ // g01p”).

🔮 La Dream Machine

We arrived to blockchain technologies through crypto and DeFi, specifically through the alternatives it offers to deal with inflation and remittances in LATAM. But we knew there was much more to them.

So we asked ourselves - Cryptocurrencies, DeFi, DAOs, NFTs, digital identities, POAPs, ZK proofs, and so on: are they actually a set of tools with which to build new systems of coordination we so desperately need?

Decentralization, transparency, trust, regeneration, and the values many claim to be the driving force behind “web3”: do they actually stand an in real life chance?

What about the hype, the well documented unethical aspects and its exponential risks? Are blockchain technologies an inclusive tool? Who’s actually benefiting from it?

How to adapt blockchain technologies to Chile, to Latin American contexts, to the Global South?

How to integrate technologies like AI?

That’s how this project was born. We conceived it as a web3 lab with a latin, social and critical perspective. Which, in practice, means a community of enthusiasts, Devs, researchers, academics, humans, friends, who seek to explore these technologies as new systems of coordination. Or a research collective focusing on web3 projects, philosophies, and experiences that could impact in reducing corruption, the public sector inefficiency and empowering local communities on LATAM, amongst others - while DREAMING and HAVING FUN!

We named it La Dream Machine as a homage and constant reminder of the values we respect the most of the original one: its radical do-it-yourself spirit*,* the simple complexity that arises from light and dark, the proposal of representations produced “within you”, far from mainstream media, the pursuit of dreams. All done with intellectual honesty, prudence, courage and love. All with a latin, silly twist.