The Open Money Foundation is gathering interest.
I’ve discussed the idea to a variety of people in the last few weeks, ranging from virtual world developers to Web developers, community currency activists and gold currency advocates, and there is a strong agreement towards a very focused and simple goal of currency services interoperability.
This simple goal has to be viewed as a first and necessary step to realize the larger vision of Open Money or free currencies. In particular for community currencies, another cornerstone are economically-driven adoption models such as Community Way.
Open Money Foundation mission
In a nutshell, Open Money Foundation should define the OpenID of currency services:
Open Money = a set of open interface specifications designed for adoption that governs the interoperability between independent currency services and client applications.
Note that this is not restricted to community currencies currencies. We think World of Warcraft virtual gold coins, phone airtime minutes, digital gold currencies, Linden dollars or any virtual currency can benefit from this interoperability. Conversely, we think that community currencies will benefit from the participation of virtual/game/alternate currency providers.
A currency service that complies with Open Money Foundation specifications will enable the following benefits for end-users:
- automatic discovery of currency services on the Internet.
- one click currency registration request: users will be able to very easily request to join a currency service from their favorite currency application (“wallet”?).
- single view of all currency balances: users will be able to view all their balances at various currency service from their favorite Open Money-compliant currency app.
- transacting on any currency service from any Open Money compliant app.
- starting a new currency on an existing currency service will be as easy as starting a group on Facebook (this is specific to credit currencies such as community currencies)
- and more.
The goal of these specifications isn’t to re-invent the wheel. There are many open specifications to leverage to address some of the problems above (OpenID, OpenSocial, OAuth, OFX) and some currency systems already leverage these.
An important aspect of the suggested focus is to not focus on implementation but only on interfaces. In the case of a currency service, implementation is for instance how creditworthiness and credit limits are determined, or whether interest or fees are charged. An interface is simply: how do I request to the currency service a demand for credit. There are many advantages to focus on interfaces not implementation:
- We don’t get into the philosophical discussions of what is a currency, what are its characteristics, etc.
- We can each focus on our area of expertise: some on client applications that make it easy for users to use the currency, some on server scalability, some on currency design, etc.
- We leave an opportunity for implementers to differentiate themselves and address various community requirements, either as a generic platform with a currency definition language or as an ad-hoc currency service for a specific community, either as a not-for-profit, or for profit.
Besides offering a forum for the development of these specifications, the Open Money Foundation will channel funding for the development of an open source reference implementation that everyone can at least use to test their own implementation, or build upon.
I’m looking forward for feedback on this topic. If you like these goals and are interested to participate in a way or another, please comment.
Open Money Foundation logo
Here’s a possible logo I’ve been working on several WEs ago.