CommunityWikiBankI

CommunityWikiBank

Decision Making

I suggest, that the CWB is not a real bank at its own, but just a overview about a networked / p2p approach to a bank. Some people are willing to lend money, they announce this as pledges. CWB displays overall information (sums) of this amounts for any available currency.

People who would like to get a credit write a spec about their “project”. What they need to do what etc.

The people with available pledges (potential depositors) assign maximum amounts of money, they are willing to lend for this project. The requested amount for the project will be splitted among all depositors up to this “maximum amount” if ( sum(max_amounts) >= projects_need ). Thus the credit will be granted if there is enough support through the network.

Given credits may be transferred: a depositor who thinks a project he put money in is a to high risc for him may ask for someone to take over or share his role. This would generate a build-in feedback: projects where many people try to get their money out are at more risk, and they need more support. Supporting depositor share the overall risk thus the personal risk for anyone will be lowerd.

To lower of the information burden on depositors CWB could establish a web of trust (and also “professional reviewers”). I allow someone I trust (maybee with a special focus), to do assignments for me (for a maximum amount). So the web of trust between us will automatically establish the board of directors, which may bee different for any project.

I hope that the intention of this approach is shining through the explanations …

To summerize the overall idea: it is not neccecery to establish decision structure for the whole, if purpose of the bank is to be a informal structure between cooperating network of depositors and borrowers.

I find your ideas very clear, Thomas. As a data point (not a model for us or something to replicate, but something cool that’s just a bit related), see the new peer to peer lending site http://prosper.com

Purpose

Should we try to express these matters as a set of Goals or a Mission statement for CWB?

I have US$500 to deposit. More important to me than the decision-making process (we can work that out), is what is the deposit for. What is the purpose of this experiment?


If this is an experiment with a bank, than the purpose is to give money with the expectation to get money back. In contrast to a fund, where one collects money to give it away. There are enough banks trying to make profit by trying to get more money back as primarily given to people. In my opinion positive goals of a WikiBank could be:

  • develop a vision of profit witch is beyond “getting more money back”
  • experiment with open processes: keep any communication public, keep any contracts public, keep bank accounts and money transfer public
  • develop a culture of support witch extends “lending money”

It’s about dignity. It’s about respect. A Linux box is different. You do different things on it. It is open and you can read what it does and how it does it. I can talk to the developers and shape it, everybody can (or I could even learn to program). I simply prefer to work in an efficient thus collabortive ambient. Many people would.

Same with money. Money concernes us all, so why shouldn’t we all together run it? The purpose of this experiment maybe is to show that it’s possible and that things work better with it, more peaceful, fair. The purpose is showing that mankind is able to act as one, the SapiensSapiensStyle? / WikiWikiWay?.

I donate 100€ to it.

“the purpose is showing that mankind is able to act as one” . so, we are the pupose . we are the project .
“credit should only be given to ..” . my 500€ should be given to hans (to whom else?) . if ted and mattis decide to do the same, then he doesn’t need some assurances to get back his money, for in the rough he’s got it back . more, if he decides to give his money to ted, mattis and me in a adequate way, we all have our money back, but still have our cwb account . so a new money is born here . it’s wonderfull, but something lacks, i know . the speculators and big money are not impressed . nevertheless it shows, that the purpose, to get our money back and yet to have an account in new money is possible .

credit/project

People who would like to get credit by the WikiBank should describe their project and their expectations. With the help of the community this expectations should be as clear and realistic as possible. Credit should only be given to open projects, which enables the community to continiously support and readjust expectations.

  • see above . - sigi

Terms & Conditions

'Deposit' implies a temporary placement, not a permanent 'donation'

booth should be possible. For a deposit there should be a contract saying for which time (at least) the money is given. A deposit is just the same ‘contract’ as a credit, with the bank in the ‘takers’-role.

I too think it would be good to be able to have Contracts for both of these situations (in general, different types of Deposits, each with their own terms).

Trust

I would like to state that I may wish to be able to withdraw my deposit at some time in the future, and that I would like some assurances that I will be able to do so.

In my opinion this trust can only be self-supported. If all processes ar open and there are techniques to gather and merge informations about expectations on contracts anybody can support trust in the (open) calculations and expectations by supporting difficult credits/projects or adjusting information about them to keep the overall expectations realistic.

Foreign Exchange issues

I’ve agreed to try to propose some solutions to the problems of (foreign) exchange rates since there are several aspects to this that become apparent when trying to make a generalized statement of the Need(s). Based on even the little that I know about Banking and “FX” (Foreign Exchange), I suspect that this could be come a rather large undertaking, so I thought it would be best to start by trying to achieve some consensus regarding the scope of the problem.

  • The first question that comes to mind on the basis of the current proposal to create CommunityWikiBank stems from the fact that we have had pledges of Deposits that are denominated in different Currencies. Very quickly, somone calculated the approximate relative values of the $us & $ca in Euros. But these relative values fluctuate significantly over time. Hence, taking into account the suggestion by Thomas that we consider having a Contracted period for a deposit, we now need to think about what we will want to do if there is a shift in the value of the different currencies, while the funds are on deposit.
  • Another question that was posed that can be considered to be related to different currencies…
    • There seem to be several diverse groups trying to set up AlternativeCurrency based economies. Should we be considering how to accept deposits in several of these Currencies too? If so, it should be possible to attract quite a bit of ‘ripple’ currency and quite a few of the ‘loyalty’ points that many North Americans collect. (For example, someone may wish to deposit Frequent Flier points that they are unlikely to use.)
  • ..

I don’t see the CAN US Euro exchange as a problem. There are lots of ways (bank exchange, credit cards, Paypal) to convert between them. Given that you have amount A in CAN, amount B in $US, and amount C in Euro, it’s pretty easy to look up the exchange rates ( http://finance.yahoo.com/currency , http://coinmill.com/ , http://oanda.com/converter/classic , etc.) and figure out (within a couple of percent) how many Swiss Francs you can get from it.

This page will require a relatively elaborate structure.

Suggestions are welcome.

Lots to say, not much time to say it immediately; getting ready for flight to California. btw, have a public calendar on google calendars.

Just a few thoughts. I’ve put my money above because I trust the process and the people not because I think that we already have a workable experimental setting.

First, I think that putting money here is not primarily building an available account but (1) it endowes the bank with our trust (2) it is an entry into the system as a kind of membership. I suggest that we put it there on a real account as a safety and never actually use it, except if someone wants to leave the system. I suggest: we allow others to enter cwb system either by (1) adding his ammount to “pledges” or by (2) receiving a kind of trusted status by the other members or (3) by working for the bank and having a positive labor time account (see below).

The reason for the existance of the CommunityWikiBank is the wish to allow or enable new kinds of economy, not to duplicate existing money or economic systems and their problems. In WhatIsEconomy I’d like to show that economy is misunderstood as the production of goods and services according to the needs of people. I’ll argue that economy is the organisation of division of labour. Maybe remember the idea of synergy from of GoByCar. If this is true, then we have to define within the CommunityWikiBank how we translate currency to labour and especially what types of work we define. What kinds of work do we want to exchange? What kinds of work do we offer?

Just as a quick shot, I’d suggest that there should be an asymmetrical labor-money exchange rate. If someone wants to buy cwb work, then this work is rather expensive, maybe $100. If one wants to resolve an work hour account then he might get only $10 for any hour on his account. So neither buying nor selling work to the cwb is really attractive. The really attractive thing is to exchange work hours of different quality, which is free. For example: I can analyze a wiki concept for someone, someone else can create a logo for me. So this could be wiki or online community economy.

If the bank makes a profit (from selling inside work to the outer world), it could be split: one half could be used as a safety, for example backing account of people to whom trust or work is given (they could suggest a project and define the ammount of labor they need to get it going). One half could be distrubuted according to the pledge owners (those that have given money to finance the bank) and positive labor account owners (those that have given work to the bank).

IMHO two different approaches are discussed here:

(a) some kind of new bank, borrowing real money to people

(b) a kind of working hours trading-system

I’m much more interested in doing experiment (a).

I would be happy, if we could split these two ideas into two experiments.

Myabe instead of making a profit, the CommunityWikiBank could plan to use profits to fund people or projects or give interest-free loans. So (a) and (b) could be combined.

The problem that I see with (b) alone is that it is (1) not very interesting because there is little action in it (2 short real world years are an online eternity) and (2) its hard to build momentum because we may raise a few thousand $/EUR but this doesn’t mean much in real world projects and (3) it is unclear what the experiment (What is new? What can we learn from it?) is.

A couple of thoughts:

(a) This is what http://prosper.com is doing in the US, eliminating the bank as the middle between savings accounts at 4% and credit cards at 14%, allowing ordinary people to split that difference for each other, both coming out ahead in the deal. They are doing it with credit reports and legal contracts and automatic bank transfers. Could we do it much smaller-scale and with openness and trust instead?

(b) Seems like Ripple is the closest thing that exists right now for (b). Sure, there are plenty of alternative currencies in existance, but none for an online community, that I know of. We could create (b) without any of us putting any USD/EUR in. I like Helmut’s ideas of finding the synergies related to doing both.

I copied over some pages in German of stuff mainly sigi and I had been thinking about in late 03 / early 04 to the eTerra-wiki We had a first bank founding attempt back then eTerra-wiki: eTerra-Bank.

I also blikified the eTerra-wiki. I’m interested to try out a more wiki-forum central working with a tagging of contributions on date pages as mentioned on Mattis-Manzel-bliki: 2006-04-13.

MarkDilley and I had lunch with ArthurBrock? of the TargetedCurrenciesNetwork? today in Chicago. I had posted about this page at omidyar network and he’d then read this page. His biggest concern was that wiki already has a thriving GiftEconomy that would be in danger if we attempt to monetize it. Just something to think about.

FreeSoftware has long had a GiftEconomy in a symbiotic relationship with people who were just making money with it. In many case, it’s a ton of money that’s being made.

It does requires care and attention.

PatrickAnderson: 2006-04-30

CopyLeft software (a subset of FreeSoftware) allows workers to profit, but cannot be utilized for owner-profit because the GPL disallows the necessary hoarding.

Because of this, the typical destructive scenarios are no longer an option, so the resource remains Free.

Patrick, you are transgressing CommunityWikiDiscussionLimits.

You are “pushing.” You have certainly been made to understand by now: We do not talk this way. We do not accept these bases. We do not build on the ideas you build on.

Stop.

So, which wiki is more appropriate for this sort of talk ( OnAndOffTopic ) ? Perhaps http://wiki.debian.org/ is a step in the right direction ?

GerryGleason: 2006-05-01

Just came across this from an Onet link. Does anyone think this needs much more than a single page to really get going? I’m not sure what is intendend, sounds mostly like a desire to expiriment. Implementing this for real as an electronic alternative currency system could be a great experiment. It could become a platform for micro-payments, or a system of low/no interest loans to finance Wiki related projects. This doesn’t need to be antagonistic to the GiftEconomy, lots of what we do is already monetized, so this is a tool for those situations and need not intrude on the flow of gifts.

More from ArthurBrock: (feel free to move/delete if too much/off topic)

I think it’s great that so many of us have schooled ourselves in monetary theory, so that we can understand the dynamics at play in the existing national currencies. But why should we try to use currencies and accounting methods from the market economy to try to create a gift economy?

Thomas (Greco) and Hasan were both pointing to the gift economy aspect of what needs to happen. “Feed the network first.” I don’t believe we’ll get far in building the trust and partnership that we need to really create a powerful “movement” if we are starting from a place of “tit-for-tat” exchanges. “I’ll do something for you, if I know my credits will buy me something I want.” [I don’t mean that as something personal to Tom or Tom, because I know you both are actively contributing in a number of ways without pay. It’s just the way the discussion was framed.]

I think we (and people in community in general) want to give. But we want it to be safe to give. By that I mean, that we want to know that we’re not being taken advantage of. That we’re not being conned, subsidizing freeloaders, or throwing our time/money/energy into a black hole that in no way gives back. In the open source software community, people can see concrete return benefit because they’re using other people’s software other than their own. They give to the commons and the commons gives back, forward, across, up & down. There are formal and informal ways that peoples contribution and reputation is registered.

In the CC community, it is a little more difficult for us to see the ways the value comes back and how contribution and reputation is registered. Group Commons is a big step toward providing tools for working productively with each other and have a way that contribution is registered (submissions for acknowledgement, tracking of time, tasks completed, etc.). But maybe these things are not best understood as money in an account, but as part of the components of reputation and trust-building.

I’m concerned that we’ve so focused on money and money-substitutes that we fail to see the scores of currencies that we come in contact with every day. The tools for catalyzing and shaping currents of flow – flows of information, participation, gifts, goods, services, reputation, trust, relationship, use of reusable items, etc. Currencies that are issued, transacted, converted or redeemed without our notice.

Think of schools. What if a university tried to manage its students the way a business tries to manage its employees? It would be impossible. Instead they’ve set up a series of non-monetary currencies let the students manage themselves. Degrees are a token of status currency – a kind of reputation currency that is supposed to help you get a better job and earn more money. Credits are a unit of account currency – students can sign up for whatever classes they want to, but to get the degree, the credits have to tally up in the right categories defined by the degree requirements. Grades are a performance metric currency – they are an attempt to measure how well the student is learning the content of a course. Students spend money to get grades and credits which they redeem for a degree.

If you think I’m crazy about this, just look at how effectively grades alter student participation. Does a student engage the same way when they’re auditing a course vs. taking it pass/fail vs. getting a grade? There’s a lot more about how these actually work as currencies, but they do. So do postage stamps, movie tickets, Olympic medals, designer labels, eBay ratings, “Buy 9 get 10th free” punch cards, USDA Grade A, Certified Organic, UL Listed, four star ratings, Zagat survey numbers, shares of stock, frequent-flier miles, etc. We’re awash in these well-targeted currencies and talking like we’re still waiting for success cases.

So then the question becomes what kinds of currencies would facilitate the gift economy flows that we need as a currency community. The needs for solid theory and ideas, support with design and application for specific communities and needs, the tools and technology to support the implementation of such designs, documentation of the tools and technology, user education and documentation for each implementation, general publishing and evangelizing for how these help communities, leadership in communities to step forward and be willing to bring this home, fundraising for the general protocol/infrastructure and to support various specific implementations, etc. What if we started thinking in terms of designing contribution metrics, a community citizenship rating, a generosity index, promoter points, or such things – and ways to briefly and informatively reference that information about a person?

For me, this is where the big difference between what Andy is talking about and what I (and I think Eric) envision for currencies protocols – currencies where “balances” are sometimes averages (like your grade point), or percentiles rankings, or ratios. We need an infrastructure to manage the diverse (but finite) rules of issuance, transaction, redemption, conversion, exchange. Not all currencies act like money. Many of the success stories that we share in this community should show us this: Curitiba Trash Tokens, D.C. Youth Courts, Chicago Peer Tutoring, Bali “Temple” currency, etc.

So… I’ve proposed a session at the Open Collective (BALLE pre-pre-conference) in Burlington, VT in June about using currencies to create gift economies. Why don’t we use our own community as a practicum for the discussion about how we might do so?

if there is a group to do so, i am in this group . the point is: we see money as our individual property . but it’s also a common property . so we must learn to deal with that, and together (as a community) we will become rich and powerfull .

See Also

2006-05-09

2006-05-09/sigi


I’ve temporarily redraw my “pledge” because the discussion got stuck. If the initial enthusiasm can’t be used to get something going, then it’s probably better to develop the theory and possible alternatives and wait that some other place or community gets this going. Seemingly the money immobilized our thinking. Just my $ 0.02.

Hm, … I think it is a lack of goals or direction that is immobilizing us.

The idea of making a bank is undeniably cool. But what do we do with it?

Is this to help college students get loans? Is this to help Free Software projects? Is this for emergencies, like: “Oh, I’m going to be $50 overdrawn, can you lend me $100?” What’s it for?

The lack of a goal or specific purpose seems to me the primary problem.

Once we have that, our commitments become clear, and the meaning of the money in the pot.

The ammount of money available up to now is quite little. I see no oportunities to fund something interesting in the domain of CommunityWiki connected to our own regions. If invested somewhere where little money has big value, this could be interesting. In connection with “community building” I know an efford in ecuador to build a network of credit-pools (people associate and collect regular small amounts of money to empower themselve to be economicly active giving themselves credit). One very intersting point about this is the collective responsibility of these groups to keep each others endeavours beeing successfull. Joining their efforts could be salutary, if we succeed in defining questions, the experiment should help to answer.

I remain very committed to the ideas of creating an Open Source Bank, and have been spending time developing various aspects of this offline. Some of my reasons for doing this include …

  • There are severeal different opinions appraently about how to manage this type of endeavour that I think will inevitably ‘fork’. In the absence of an early consensus, I assumed that it would be best to appear to pause a bit.
  • There was some apparent discomfort about whether or not these pages are compatible with the directions of Community Wiki, and I did not want to encumber this environment with material that might not be desirable.
  • I agree with the statement by Thomas that there is relatively little money available at this time. One solution is to grow the available seed capital. This is not hard to do in my opinion, but I would really like to have a better definition of the communities intentions before I engage in ‘deposit gathering’ activities.

“apparent discomfort” . thats new for me . who? why? don’t see any argument in this direction . but if so, we can discuss it here and make the pledges in another wiki, perhaps coforum (@thomas: can you make a propper directory there (means: with special recent changes)?

specific projects

The … money available up to now is quite little. I see no oportunities to fund something interesting

Could you be a little more specific on what projects you would find “interesting” ? Perhaps if we had one or two concrete examples of such projects, we could (a) find other people interested in those projects and willing to help fund it, and/or (b) find ways to move that project forward with what little funding we already have.

I want a fault-tolerant wiki ( discussion at DistributedEditing, WikiFeatures:FailSafeWiki ). Would that make a “interesting” project? For that project, I want several computers, preferably located in different cities, all connected to the internet … some people to write and review software for it … a community of people to test it out … I’m not sure what else exactly.

It would also be nifty to start an organization dedicated to fighting the #1 cause of death in the U.S., whatever that may turn out to be. (Switching to fighting something else when the first one gets beaten back to #2).

Some funding for developing and maintaining a wiki-net-server might be fun. No problem when we’re mostly giving money to each others in the beginning btw. People will follow. It’s an honor to receive it, know? Practized solidarity, using even more wornup words ;) A server collecting data of whom they are watching and giving this data further to wikis connecting to it like once a day. “Feeling the other’s gaze on your skin”.

I would be interested in helping to fund a WikiNet server project.

I’d also be interested in helping to fund Odd Wiki development. I am interested in getting more of the functions of blogs into those blikis, basically just being able to run scripts that are made for most blogging software, and having those show up in the sidebar locked. I’m also interested in incorporating trackbacks and pinging, and commenting as easy-to-add modules to Odd Wiki Bliki. Perhaps those are things that don’t even need funding, maybe just some of my time to work on them?

But, beyond that, I am interested in general in funding and developing WikiNets?.


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