Recent Observations

I have been working mostly on the implementation side, so I have been unable to spend time posting here. The good news is that I am getting closer to a usable demonstration system, hopefully to be released in December after I revise the protocols to reflect the extensive architectural changes that I have made. For system development and implementation updates, please visit http://tyaga.org/. What follows below are mostly personal thoughts.

Within this year, I have visited the user demos of cyclos, ripplepay and three alpha-sites of open money systems. I have also read the MRS server-client specification, IRTA, some of the unmoney convergence session notes, as well as the more accounting-oriented approach exemplified in ledgerism.net (now defunct). All of these sites are quite inspiring, and I’ll continue to follow the updates on those projects. I have general observations that I’d like to share.

Why do most ledger-based currency systems focus on monetizing community and personal relationships? I still don’t quite get that angle, and besides IRTA, only ledgerism.net had focused on serving business-type needs and/or settlements. When I think of money or currency, I think of organized work and of regularly earning it, not so much the use of it which would just come naturally in a market, community or personal setting.

Why do most systems focus on tracking account net balance, when ‘cash’ flow budgets seems more appropriate for triggering and regulating market activity? Organized work in business, government and nonprofits are driven mostly by serving specific needs, and is typically regulated against revenue targets and controlling costs. It just seems that a particpant or organization that focuses on breaking even (zero net balance) will not have much incentive to innovate and proactively produce value, to take responsible risks.

Why do developers focus on system configurability instead of simplifying the accounting bases of the system? When reading related discussions on the principle of requisite variety, I find it surprising that the focus is mostly on giving the user a myriad of options in configuring an account, such as the use of obscure units, floating exchange rates and leakage settings, which makes the system more intimidating and the accounting more complicated than necessary for a typical user. I realize most users would forgo such options, but it might make the simple users wonder if they are somehow being put at a disadvantage relative to a more configured account. 

To me, requisite variety should come from having a diversity of specialized organizations that issue its own currency and which could either be rejected or accepted by market participants, similar to companies issuing its own shareholder stocks or bonds and people either buying or avoiding those shares.