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Adventures in mutual credit

Over the years I've come across a few proposals that any person or entity should able to issue their own currency, and I've always struggled about what that would mean and how it would work. This is relevant for recursive currency systems like the Credit Commons in which theoretically any member could create a currency as part of a larger monetary ecosystem. Recently I've been thinking these through and I think the benefits are outweighed by the drawbacks. For many currencies to coexist there needs to be an exchange rate between each currency and each other currency, which means either...
This document outlines a range of technical options and estimated costs of each. Technical projects by nature are notoriously hard to cost because by nature each one is breaking new ground and risks are hard to calculate. For projects to work to a predetermined budget, the technical risk must be priced in from the beginning and this takes the form of high salaries for developers to meet specific technical goals. There are many mIf the goals are softer, if some corners can be cut, if some features are considered optional - i.e. included only if the essential things are completed. The below...
Luisa and I toured Portugal in September 2018 to find out the best places to build a resilient life. Portugal has been hit by recession since the 2008 Great Financial Crisis but not been in the headlines like Greece, Italy and Spain. We say a tourist boom going on in both Lisbon and Porto which is probably assuaging the situation somewhat. We noted that after Holland...
William Stanley Jevons described the four functions of money in 1875: a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value, a standard of deferred payment For some time I marvelled at his clarity, but this week it all unravelled for me. So this post is an attempt at a sanity check. When we say money is a medium of exchange that means that we use money to exchange what we have for what we want. A medium solves the problem of the coincidence of needs and so we can sell what have for money, then buy what we want from someone else for that same money. It is a problem though...
Most Greeks will tell you that the Exarchiea quarter of Athens is a dangerous and dismal place, in desperate need of gentrification - because the establishment media tells them so. It is true that the establishment, in the form of the police, has been regularly battling 'anarchists' there for decades. Some of the battles seem to have been serious political struggles and several lives have been lost, but most battles now seem to be young people letting off steam. Over the last three years, even though I'm not a lover of violence I have spent increasing amounts of time there. I've never felt...
The Bancor Protocol is a mechanism that sits on top of a financial market (like a Bitcoin/Ethereum market or a GOOGL/USD market) to guarantee liquidity. Lets unpack that. Normal financial markets consist of an order book, containing orders like "I want to exchange 2BTC for 16 ETH" or the other way round. Traders put their assets in the market and when someone places an order that corresponds with an existing order, the software executes the transaction and swops the ownership of the assets. In principle this method is very fair and efficient, although many techniques have been developed...
Eyal Herzog learned a hard lesson when his world-beating online video site was overtaken by Youtube. He learned that the internet, by lowering the barrier to entry, enables a 'long tail'. In other words if you want to own a sector, you shouldn't worry about the leaders in that sector, as much as supporting the 99% of others who want to be in that space. Eyal and his team understood that if the kind of democratisation that YouTube brought to video happened to money, then there need never be a scarcity of money again. So throughout 2013-15, Eyal and his team developed AppCoin, a marketplace...
In my corner of the internet, a lot of people and groups have been calling for a new kind of social network, not only me: [2013] [2014] [2016] [2017], Its not only an objection to Facebook, but they want community organising tools very different to Facebook. The idea of a 'distributed social network' precedes even the Diaspora project which broke crowd-funding records in 2010 during a popular Facebook backlash. Those four software graduates vastly underestimated the task they had taken on, and it seems nobody yet has succeeding in defining the architecture and raising a team that can finish...
This post follows on from Global groupware requirements, which describes the software a lot of people seem to be looking for. The distinction between a website with content and a web application is becoming sharper, and its clear that systems in the paradigm of content management (like Wordpress and Drupal) are not optimal for social organising. I've been convinced for a couple of years by another approach proposed by David Bovill, namely that REST microservices are the way forward. Web 2.0 involved building large back-end systems like Drupal, which generated and sent full web pages to the...
The radical experiment in community cryptocurrency, Faircoin, reached a milestone this week when the Faircoop assembly declared that it would sell and buy back coins from its members at parity with the Euro. This means that the cooperative maintains a pool of cash available for redeeming coins from active members who accepted them but cannot spend them. This gives confidence to traders and the coop also offers a much more stable (and easy to mentally calculate) rate than the free market. I explain this strategy in more detail in my previous blog post. This public attempt...

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