Decentralizing Fashion

The Canvas and Cryptocurrency

How we plan to leverage the rising trend towards institutional decentralization and adoption of cryptocurrency into the mainstream for the benefit of our global community.

Prepared by Devin Gilmartin
Decentralization is a shared feature of cryptocurrency and The Canvas’ business model. A distributed system of brands makes The Canvas a strong and resilient community, with collaborators able to work together to solve problems using their shared resources, contacts and networks. Such a system is the antithesis of fast fashion monopolization, a centralized and redundant system which uses resources as if they are infinite. Central Banks print currency, and H&M prints t-shirts, both acting with little consideration of the long term consequences of their actions. 

The Canvas can be considered to be a decentralized network with the independent nodes, our brands, acting independently and among one another, while maintaining points of interaction with a “center”. We intend to continue to become more decentralized in our work and impact.

The same is true for the infrastructure of cryptocurrency, a technological innovation frequently labeled as the “next internet” for its ability to transform information and value systems. In building The Canvas, we’ve taken philosophical and literal inspiration from blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrency, and

built the idea of resiliency and antifragility that these systems embody into our business model. Blockchain, in its essence, is a distributed ledger allowing for the recording of information and transactions across a network of nodes, often represented in the form of computers. It is immutable, and no third party can edit it without the permission of the network. Blockchain is a disruptive innovation, threatening to cut out banks and third party financial institutions in favor of peer to peer interactions in financial markets. In other mediums, blockchain could upend accounting, art and government, creating a more transparent way to record anything and everything humans would like to.
As we prepare for the next stages of The Canvas business model, we are exploring blockchain technology and cryptocurrency in a number of ways, including as an investment vehicle, payment system and creative project for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. Of these, the most obvious opportunity for value creation and enhanced efficiency is in cross border payments.
A Note on Cryptocurrency and Sustainability
The nuances of cryptocurrency and its impact on the environment are complex. On one hand, the energy usage of “mining” certain cryptocurrencies is objectively high. Rather than relying on a single, centralized computer, mining bitcoin, for example, requires the verification of nodes across the Bitcoin blockchain network. That said, due to recent public discourse about this issue, more steps are being taken to address the problem. In deciding our Point of Sale System to connect with The Canvas Operating System, we were extremely encouraged by Square’s work in this realm, and our decision to work with them was influenced by their progressive approach to cryptocurrency and sustainability. You can read more about Square’s $5 Million investment into a solar powered bitcoin mine here.
All in all, similar to self expression through clothing, cryptocurrency is not inherently unsustainable. Its advancement towards a cleaner approach will rely on actors within the network creating initiatives that lead to change. Just as The Canvas community can change minds and offer alternatives for an increasingly conscious individual looking to wear clothing that aligns with their personal values, as a rising retailer and global community, we can use our voice to create awareness about the externalities and opportunities of cryptocurrency, both positive and negative. As fiat currency represents an illogical and infinite approach to currency, H&M, Top Shop and fast-fashion giants of the like represent the same in their approach to production. In this sense, cryptocurrency and slow fashion are antidotes to the established way of doing things, the methods and processes that got us here. They are the solutions. Together, we can maximize their impact.
As a forward looking business, we feel it is critical for our portfolio to be diversified in investments and payment infrastructure. We look forward to answering any questions or concerns you may have.