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Adventures in mutual credit

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Complementary currencies in Drupal is here to stay. It is still the only open source 'module' which manages mutual credit transactions. It now does all a community really needs, but it can never do all a community wants!

Alone I can no longer develop the software, set up a business, maintain existing users and support one intern. This post explains how much needs to be done, and how quickly it can be done, and with how little resources.

Mutual Credit systems and scalability

My Drupal package was designed with local LETS groups in mind: a few hundred people, no more than one order of separation, trading a few times a month. I realised that an integral zero balance system would use transactions at its base - not user balances. If balances are re-calculated after every transaction by adding up all the previous transactions, then theft is impossible, all errors can be logged and reversed and the data cannot contradict itself.

Coming of age

Tim (from Seldulac and Community Forge) is this week showing off at a mini festival of the SEL groups in France. The response, he reports, is pretty good, but like the English before them, they are balking at our proposed price of 5 Euros per person per year. Some are asking if they can have the first year free.

More and more groups are choosing Marketplace for Drupal not only because this is exactly the product for communities doing mutual credit, but because there is nothing else available that can help them. Well, the nearest 2 products are:

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    Do you want to live more simply and with socially conscious people? Are you reluctant to leave the city because the nice places seem like social deserts with alien languages? Do you want to spend less time paying your overheads and more time doing whatever you want?

    We are a small group of tele-working professionals planning to spend the coming winter working in a warmer, cheaper, and more relaxed setting.

    Platform neutral description of architecture for Mutual Credit within a social network.


    This document is for developers aspiring to improve Complementary Currencies for Drupal or to build something similar for another platform.

    Spontaneous uptake of marketplace module

    I always hoped, but never really believed, that engineering alone was enough bring a product to the attention of the masses, so I planned to spend this year travelling round Europe, coaxing some more early adopter communities into making the right software choice. But some thing is going right. I hardly even got an interview in the cities I visited, but past learning experiences must be paying off.

    Consulting Services

    John Rogers is best known for having run the Institute for Community currencies in Wales.

    John's message to the world, based on his 15 years experience with Communities and Currencies is that the high failure rate of LETS schemes is down to poor governance. his consulting facade, Value for People, supports nascent projects through the laborious process of setting up sustainable governance and management mechanisms.

    GETS - Where the real action is

    I just got off the phone with Richard Logie managing director of The Business Exchange (TBEx), who is also chairman of IRTA’s Community Currency Committee and I have to say that I never realised that complementary currencies were thriving in the way that he experiences.

    The local money paradox

    You might be forgiven for thinking that local money can't move around, because it loses it's value outside the locality. And you'd be right, technically. After all, the very point of local money is to keep the value in the community that created it. But for years activists have been asking how local money, or at least local value, might move from place to place, which would be much more useful. It was all a bit academic while LETS was run on spreadsheets.

    Austrian National Taushring Conference

    With the merest whiff of an invitation, picked up from February's Solidarity Economy conference in Vienna, I landed myself this Sunday in a conference with reps from all the major Tauschrings in Austria. My stated intent was to promote the work of Community Forge in the face of widespread Cyclos adoption, but I was right to be flexible about that. The meeting was conducted in Teutonic fashion with everyone having a say (though I understood nothing of the proceedings).


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