ATARCA: Scientific Foundation for Anti-Rival Compensation and Governance Technology

The objective of the Accounting Technologies for Anti-Rival Coordination and Allocation (ATARCA) is to create new decentralised technology, “anti-rival tokens” and new policies to enable decentralised, market-style trading and ecosystems for anti-rival goods and to explore the opportunities of “anti-rival tokens” to build more sustainable data economy.


For over half a century, economists have made a distinction between rival and nonrival goods. Rival goods lose value when consumed, while nonrival goods may be used repeatedly, without losing value. In Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom’s terms, the value of rival goods gets subtracted upon use; their subtractability is positive. But, during the past decades within the increasing data economy, a new type of goods has emerged: many data, information and digital goods are anti-rival in nature. Anti-rival goods gain value when used; their subtractability is negative. Therefore their economics is also fundamentally different from that of rival or even nonrival goods. 


Table 1: The six types of rival, nonrival and anti-rival goods


First, full social allocative efficiency of anti-rival goods cannot be reached within current economic structures and institutions. Second, creating a market price — or, more precisely, open market valuation — for them requires, beyond open markets, additional regulative or technological constructions, such as intellectual property (IPR) or digital rights management (DRM), in addition to the market mechanisms.


ATARCA is an H2020-funded research project aiming to create Bitcoin-like but anti-rival cryptographically protected tokens and test their applicability to governing data markets on one hand and fostering cooperation in community-driven currencies, on the other hand, aiming to resolve the market failures in the long run. If successful, this technology will not only help to properly organise the markets for data and other digital goods but provide the structural fundamentals for a new type of economic growth. ATARCA explores how this baseline will allow societies at large to build systemic sustainability and intelligence.


Demos Helsinki, along with a consortium of partners including Aalto University, Streamr Network AG, Novact and QBit Artifacts explores the better ways to organise markets for data and other digital goods, providing structural fundamentals of a new type of economic growth, and allowing societies to explore structurally new incentives for systemic sustainability and intelligence. Demos Helsinki is responsible for the policy impact of the project. We will create a pan-European community of stakeholders to examine the policy impact of implementing anti-rival governance and compensation technologies and co-create policy recommendations for a new type of economic growth. 


Interested in hearing more or getting involved? For more information on the ATARCA project and our efforts on decentralised anti-rival tokens to govern markets and foster cooperation, check out our website here.


For further information, feel free to contact us:

Johannes Mikkonen

Senior Policy Expert – Digital Governance

+358 40 569 4948


Anna Björk

Research Area Lead



Atte Ojanen

Research Coordinator




Feature Image:  Clint Adair / Unsplash