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Adventures in mutual credit

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...
When an idea grows far beyond its original conception, develops its own culture, factions...
Given my enthusiasm for the launch of the IMA, I regret not being able to conference with you in Glasgow. Its a field I've dedicated my life to for almost a decade. I started a nonprofit, Community Forge in 2009, in partnership with the Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) in Geneva, to build and host web sites for LETS. Back then I didn't know any theory, but exchanging without money felt to me like kindling a revolution! Soon we were hosting sites for a cluster of SEL in Belgium and now for over 300 active groups, all for free. I've seen the aging LETS membership advance by another...
The new Credit Commons Collective (CCC) is looking for 4 volunteers to work for a minimum of 3 days a week for a minimum of 2 months each. The CCC is a non-profit federation of organisations that host over 300 local currencies worldwide. This Federation currently works entirely with volunteers, serving over 20,000 users. But now we want to scale up massively... The opportunity is for those who can work in Athens in October and November and/or Bali (Ubud) in January and February, for a minimum of 2 months. Additional months can be done remotely. In either locations, the volunteers will work...
As a complementary currency engineer, I come across basic income ideas of social justice all the time, but I don't see them as my territory. It is a way of sharing wealth which we collectively own or create. Ideally it would be enough money to reduce or eliminate the imperative on people to sell their labour, say, a few hundred Euros per month. That means basic income is very difficult for grass roots organisation or NGOs to practice, because it necessitates finding enough money to do something meaningful, giving it away to the people least qualified to handle money (for some reason the '...

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