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reviewing the situation

We complete the 2001 Future Social Design series on open money with general notes on the state of community money after a year of "cc" programs in Japan.

    a scholar's account - how open money ideas came into shape for Keith Hart.

    a cc school proposal - some ideas for a community learning community, ways to move from here.

    a letter from the field - from the heart of social money work, where it's clear what matters.

    and, a brief history of "jomp", the Japan Open Money Project - what's happened, what's in place and what might happen next.

In this first year,

    many people throughout Japan, and still more around the world, have learned more about money, real and virtual

    key open money texts have been written and translated - the ideas of "open money", "cc" & "LETS" are clearly defined in both languages and cultures.

    two basic software engines for on-line web accounting of open money - cybercredits and WINDS - have already been written and are now being tested.

    several designs for cc development programs have been refined and enhanced and initial system development has now begun in Japan.

    in Tokyo, the Shibuya "Earthday money" project has already generated much interest. This trial project is expected to clarify many issues of cc procedures particular to Japan.

    the six Japanese / English editions of the Kohkoku magazine published this year comprise the most extensive, complete, and up to date set of community currencies resource materials now available.

    SoToKoTo magazine in October published a survey of three community money systems operating in Canada. These reports are making a strong impression wherever they are shown.

Indeed, all the work and events in Japan are now opening and accelerating the work in cc systems in other parts of the world. In June, talk about jomp at a conference in Findhorn, Scotland has led to increasing awareness and distribution of the ideas in India, South East Asia, and Latin America - where 300,000 people are now using their own money.

In the last two months, we have talked with an OECD research group on "The Future of Money", presented open money ideas to the Financial Internet Working Group - www.fininter.net - lunched very productively with people from an eminent London financial think tank, and begun discussions on research funding from the European Commission Information Society Technologies program. All these meetings have come from our work in Japan and are greatly informed by our experience this year.

Our participation at the Wizards of OS conference in Berlin has opened an entire new set of connections in the open source software movement. We will be opening our software development program at SourceForge.net by the end of this year.

As Keith Hart shows elsewhere in this edition, the development of the "Common Wealth" publishing project is progressing well. We are increasingly engaged in "open publishing" projects, and we have now, with the Japanese / English open money text sets, established the base for a multilingual web-site.

Very little of these developments would have come about without the work we were able to do in Japan this year.

So much for what came out, what went in?

The total deployment of resources to cc development in Japan this year is probably approaching Y50 million, taking into account all the costs and contributions of all involved - contributions from the Hakuhodo Corporation, the Kohkoku Magazine, and the Japan Research Institute in Japan, in Canada from Landsman Community Services Ltd, and from all the active individuals participating at this point.

Although only a little "cc" money - around ccY100,000 at the end of October - has yet moved in the Shibuya project, the opportunity is now here for many more systems, and the quantity of ccY that will move in Japanese communities in the coming years will vastly outweigh the resources spent to begin the process.

Nobody can yet properly assess the value of all the outcomes of this year's work, but it seems to clearly justify the expense. The question now is - what investments will sustain productive development?

Meanwhile, in Europe, the ideas developed and refined in jomp are raising considerable interest. Several "cc" applications are now in planning and some, in London, are close to launch.

On the technical side, there is particular interest in virtual money systems and smart card applications, particularly for transit systems and mobile phones, but also for commercial loyalty systems.

In those countries where mobile phones are very common - Japan, Korea or Finland for example - conditions are ideal for virtual money services on the web. In fact, open money on the web can be very easily made available to anyone with a phone, or access to one.

It will be interesting to see which country is first to make this possibility into a reality.