In assessing my project plans for this year, I reviewed the core requirements that the implementation is trying to address. In an effort to simplify the core requirements even farther than the one-page ‘game’ representation, I have arrived at the following three main concepts:
1. An independent currency brand corresponds to, and is issued by, an entity with a self-determined mission to provide certain goods and services to the market or general public.
2. Independent currency issuance is defined as an equivalent increase in the unused revenue and expense budgets of an entity.
3. Published reports are necessary to audit the whole currency lifecyle, including the corresponding inflows and outflows between entities.
Among these main concepts, the definition of currency issuance might seem the most arbitrary to others. I now realize that this same definition also implies the other currency activity definitions in the ocaup accounting model. So instead of having to explain and defend the whole ocaup model (which really is not that complicated), I really only have to explain why #2 is so important to the design of accounting systems and payment protocols that affect inter-entity transactions.
First, it must be noted that all currency design require an accounting restriction of some sort. Community currencies impose geographic or shared-interest boundaries on where currencies might circulate. Ripple requires payments to be routed through a pathway of neighboring nodes. Traditional currencies impose restrictions on who could issue fiat notes into general circulation. So having a set of accounting restriction to guide the issuance and use of currency is nothing new and all are likely to be viewed as arbitrary. But why insist on #2?
The short answer is that #2 leads to looser coupling between currency brands. Loose coupling facilitates the ability to noncooperate with a particular entity by not accepting its currency brand.
For example, imagine a politician with a campaign budget that is funded by donations. If the politician’s ability to raise her campaign budget is tied to the ongoing donations that she receives, then she is more likely to care about satisfying the special interest of big donors such as lobbyists. In contrast, if she is able to fund her campaign budgets independently of donations that come in within a given period, then there is less pressure to attract or retain large donors. She would worry more about the acceptability of her currency brand to market participants and the general public. Because of #2, her currency activity is tied to the self-determined limits that her organization has set to conduct its campaign.
The other implication of #2 is that inter-entity currency flow is allowed as long as the payments do not lead to an increase in the unused budgets. In fact, considering that each entity fulfills a specialized role, #1 and #2 acknowledge that inter-entity transactions are to be expected and supported. Loose coupling does not have to lead to isolated currency systems.
When each market entity decides to issue its own currency as unused budgets, it would be impossible and counterproductive to predict which currency brand is going to be offered as payment for a transaction at any given time. Even if each person carries only one or two currency brands, a seller is faced with the prospect of receiving payments in many different currency brands from different customers (employees of google.com, seattle.gov, etc.) Clearly, an inter-entity payment protocol must factor such currency brand diversity in implementation use-case scenarios. Real-time advisories on currency brands would be the best approach since revenue sources would not be unnecessarily restricted through pre-emptive brand rejection based on potentially stale information.
To summarize, currency traceability to an entity, loose coupling between currency brands, and auditable reports of currency activity are important design goals that facilitate informed cooperation and nooncooperation with specific entities.