Thanks to Michael Contardi for this question
>I'm wondering about what your thoughts are about the evolution of mutual credit in light of the crypocurrency craze and whether there might be a way to bring together the advantages of both.
The cryptocurrencies have a number of qualities and uses, but they actually don't bring very to the table for those who are working with local and mutual credit currencies. The whole cryptocurrency approach says that units are declared to exist, and their movement between accounts is stored in a decentralised unhackable ledger. This is in contrast to the mutual credit approach which says that units DON'T exist except as a measure of value. Units which don't exist and which circulate only between local people are much less attractive to thieves, which means all the security in cryptocurrencies is overkill.
I'm not saying that crypto's can't be used. They are excellent for fiat projects, and could be adapted to do mutual credit. They are wonderful for the global marketplace. But the challenges faced by local currency advocates are different:
How can payments be made easier and more personable?
How can we persuade local people to use our currency?
How can the accounting system integrate with other aspects of our community's organisation, such as a reputation system?
How can we trade with neighbouring systems?
One cryptocurrency, megacoin, started by entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, is attempting to build a marketplace around itself, with not much success so far. The other really interesting project to watch is the new Ripple. In addition to the built in currency, XRP, it allows users to declare their own unit of account and to go negative in it, to the extent that other users vouch them. So it would great to have a mutual credit Cryptocurrency tool, but it is not a priority for me. Perhaps FreeCoin will allow that, one day, or a tool like it.
Overall I'm really pleased that these new tools are here and that new millionaires are being made who appreciate the problems with the monetary system.
I'm not working on this however, because I want CES to be the next big thing, using the recently published CXP (Community Exchange Payments) Protocol to build up a payment grid for locally issued, locally managed credit instruments.