Now that I have finished concentrating on other projects and commitments, I look forward to continuing tyaga.org’s development work. One of the web sites that I visited recently was the community way (CW) in Comox Valley. The information design aspect that caught my interest was the ‘current numbers’ page with links to a graph and spreadsheets.
What follows is not a critique of the reporting system design as used by CW – for all I know, that design serves CW’s needs perfectly. I also do not question the community emphasis of the CW currency system and I sincerely would like to see such a system succeed wherever it is implemented. My goal in offering the following comparative analysis is to better explain the technical nuances behind tyaga’s evolving IS design requirements.
It has become obvious to me that the use of offline transaction instruments, such as minted notes, checks, or store-and-forward devices, could not be tracked efficiently and would not be conducive to the development of dynamic currency brand reporting systems. So while my earlier design notes referred to the importance of offline devices, I have since revised the technology requirements to focus on online devices. The most promising device in this regard is a basic cell phone with SMS capability, which is already widely deployed and inexpensive to own. While a QR-code app is not required to post transactions through SMS, a camera phone with that capability would simplify data entry and transfer between transactors.
Another design change, as described in a recent post, is the use of public keys for better non-repudiation and auditing capabilities. The example index on this site clearly illustrates the required tracking and metrics at the level of an entity, as represented by its currency brand, and not simply aggregated for a whole community as shown in CW’s current numbers graph. I am not sure of CW’s requirements for auditability, but tyaga’s design requirements include the auditability of any published performance and evaluation information for each entity.
Finally, it is clear that an under-developed reporting system does not hinder CW’s implementation. In contrast, a robust and dynamic reporting system is required to implement tyaga’s concept of spontaneous, targeted non-cooperation against specific currency brands. A currency brand index, constructed with dynamic information from reporting systems, should help participants make informed decisions on whether to accept or reject a currency brand in a transaction.
Again, I applaud CW as one of the rare, actual, working implementations of alternative trading systems. At the same time, I am reminded that there are not many development or implementation efforts that seek to address tyaga’s main information systems requirements.