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software and system developments

The community currencies system is a network of accounts hosted by "registries". Each registry is a database of accounts - names, trading records, contact information. Each account has a unique id in its registry and the account records are only open to the account owner and the administration.

The registry's function is to keep records of transfers of virtual community currencies to and from user accounts, as informed by the users.

Transfers can be in many different virtual cc - the range of systems is unlimited - and the registry tracks the balance of the account separately in each cc money system the account holder uses. Each cc system is unique, and cc can NOT be transferred between systems.

Registries that only record exchanges between their own users are called "closed, isolated, limited, or special". These are extremely limited as economic models, business models, and technical models since every system in such a registry is limited to only the immediate membership. Singular and isolated money systems compare to open money systems as the early mainframe computer email systems compare to internet - useful but limited.

For open money to have general distribution, we need networks of open registries from which users can make transfers to accounts in other registries. Hence systems can be larger, and more diverse than when limited to the particular community of a single registry. Also, systems can be more specialised, as the total range of possible account holders dramatically increases the variety of systems possible.

We need a web-site user interface for account holders to post transactions in a fully open multi registry network. In the long term this has of course to be highly secure and efficient. Cryptography and authentication will be required. However, the immediate short term priority is to develop a website user interface where accounts can be opened, transactions posted and reports accessed.

Such software enables easy operation of "limited" registries, which will often be the first step towards full services with inter-registry transfers.

The software is being first developed for release as a LETSplay game module. This is possible because the registry and the game are close to identical applications, and sensible because

  • the game is a very useful tool for expanding the understanding of cc systems.
  • the game will have sufficient traffic to test the software under non-critical conditions.
  • a game interface is easily changed to become a real "open money" interface.

A kernel for such a server module is being released in early June as an open source proposal. The initial code is Perl and the database is MySQL.

Security (and indeed reliability) may not be high in the beginning. This is not a problem, but rather a feature - one that will not only deter the nervous but also encourage early users to develop their understanding of cc systems and pay close attention to their accounts - a good habit to adopt.