an application to enable sovereign promise-backed monetary community currencies

Our Credit is an application that enables communities to launch their own sovereign promise-backed mutual credit monetary currencies for their benefit. These currencies are designed to be: value-stablenot inflationary like traditional fiat money and not deflationary like most cryptocurrencies but value-stable because it follows economic activity with credit expansion and contraction that provides just the right amount in circulation, unenclosableit runs distributed using Holochain, and as long as there is at least one peer willing to run it, it will exist, censorship resistantnot under anyone's control or authority, interest free, frictionlessno inherent transaction fees, real-time, managed and run collectively without requiring an intermediary institution like a bank — where peers extend credit to one another.

It aims to make it straightforward for communities to launch, manage and interact with their currencies. Every currency will be independent from any other, both technically and valuably.

This application is free and open-source, and is made by Our Movement — itself a movement aiming to promote radical social change by catalyzing the emergence of resilient communities.

Background

The problem

Money creation

Our financial institutions, be it central banks or private banks, have complete monopoly over money creation and they create it out of nothingit's not backed by any asset at all and lend it with interest. This results in a lot of problems, simplified as:for more detailed information, please see this article published by The Zeitgeist Movement

Perpetual economic growth forced by the process of money creation is also the engine of our civilization's downward spiral, to name a few trends like: mass species extinction, climate breakdown, biodiversity and habitat loss, ocean acidification, soil depletion, etc.

Credit and banking access

In our current financial system, access to credit is very expensive because of: interest that is inherent, the process of scrutinizing all loan applications from commercial banks that requires a lot of human resources, and profit. Credit is also inaccessible for a lot of people and SMEs because they're deemed unworthy or risky by the banks.

Banking is also inaccessible to poorer people due to high maintenance fees, and lack of banking branches in rural areas.

Proposal

Community currencies

Community currencies (including asset-backed currencies) are an alternative to traditional fiat currencies and will break the monopoly of banks (commercial and central) over money creation and management. These are the main points where they differ:

Prominent examples of mutual credit currencies are: Sardex (a B2B mutual credit currency, being used in Sardinia, Italy) and Holo fuel (a micropayment mutual credit currency to be used for distributed web hosting, which will go live sometime in 2019).

Our Credit

Our Credit is a free and open-source application that enables communities to launch their own sovereign promise-backed monetary currencies for their benefit, and implements principles covered in the previous section.

Given that in this day and age almost everyone has a personal smart device~95% of humans aged over 15 have smart phones (source), even in poorer societies, makes the use of Our Credit very accessible — and transacting happens in real-time and can even operate in personal networks without an internet connection, as long as peers have funds to spend. It also runs efficiently on hardware with very low-end specs — so no need for the latest gizmos.

The application is free of charge with no fees to be paid to anyone, and its source code is publicly available for independent inspection at any time. Each currency is an independent holochain, and all the data generated is: transparent, verifiable in real-time and solely exits in devices of members of the respective community — which further instills trust among the participants.

It is made on the open by a community of people from around the world, who have no vested interest on the project itself.

Benefits

Multiple studies have shown that community currencies: develop local economies, encourage local trade, increase trust among community members, strengthen the social fabric, promote self-sustainability — among others.Stockholm Univesity | The case of Sarafu-credits: Examining how a community currency can contribute to sustainable livelihood in informal settlement (source) Univesity of Copenhagen | Voucher Systems for Food Security: A Case Study on Kenya’s Sarafu-Credit (source)

Global use

To make it easy for any community currency for global use, meaning e.g. someone travelling (or purchasing online) from Quito to Nairobi to be able to spend their currency — as long as it has value in the local community, will be exchangable to any other currency through Our Exchange platform, among others. The traversal will be made possible via global asset-backed mutual credit currencies like: Holo fuel, Our Funding fuel, Our Bnb fuel, Our Data fuel, Our Transport fuel — to name a few.

Support

Due to major mobile operating systems like: iOS and Android, sadly not allowing apps to run in the background, it makes running a currency using Our Credit solely on the smart devices of the participants a bit harder — because most people don't spend much time using a payments app on a phone (unlike social media apps for instance), therefore the currency needs a lot of data redundancy. This might result in a lot of data being synced between nodes, and end up creating a lag in transactions. It can be resolved easily with a dedicated server (which could be a modest device like Raspberry Pi) that runs all the time and configured as supernode.

To assist legitimate community currencies, Our Movement pledges to provide support with dedicated high-availability (HA) servers that act as supernodes — should a community decide they need such help. Obviously this is a temporary hack, until mobile operating systems evolve enough to allow apps to run in the background, at least those defined by the user.

License

This software is free and open-source, and its source code is licensed under Peer Production License (PPL).check Peer Production License for more information

Status

The application is in the ideation stage and will be built using HolochainHolochain is a DLT framework for writing fully distributed peer-to-peer applications. It is open-source and is made by Metacurrency Project for data storage and integrity and QMLQML is a declarative language designed specifically for composing efficient App User Interfaces. It is open-source and is made by Qt Project for the User Interface (UI). It will be accessed most commonly through web browsers but there will also be native apps for major Operating Systems. The application will be fully distributed and run among its peers.

our-credit.org website code is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 — unless otherwise noted