Friday, 16 December 2016

Building the Credit Commons - 1st Money and Society Summit

On December 12th, IFLAS, Community Forge and Complementary Currency Resource Centre hosted a free event for alumni of the University's free online course, and other interested persons.

The course and summit looked at the potential for innovation in currency and credit to promote sustainable development. In particular, the summit focused on the concept of building a "Credit Commons" whereby people and organisations can issue credit to each other in ways that enable trade and sharing without needing access to money or having to pay interest.

Co-author of the online course, Matthew Slater, presented this concept (video here). Professor Bendell facilitated the meeting, which convened 25 people from across the region.  He drew on their joint UN paper on collaborative credit systems, to set the scene of currency innovation for sustainable development.

One of the questions from a Bitcoin proponent led to discussion which inspire Matthew to write a blog on what cryptocurrency enthusiasts could learn from old school monetary activists and local currency practitioners, who have been working on this topic for a decade or more.

The discussions focused on how to engage people in an idea and initiative that are still very new. Three ways that people are becoming interested in the concept and project to build the Credit Commons were discussed. 

First, some people are (or will be) working on complementary currencies or collaborative credit systems, and want to align their work with the credit commons for mutual benefit.

Second, some people are interested in applying their skills, resources or networks to develop the credit commons concept and initiative.

Third, some people are interested in simply staying updated on how this initiative progresses.

For the first group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the credit commons whitepaper
2 - study the Money and Society MOOC (next iteration Feb 17th 2017)
3 - use a self assessment tool to help align your own work on complementary currencies with building the Credit Commons (this tool is in preparation)
4 - share your insights, for instance by a blog, on any changes in approach, software or governance to align your efforts with building the credit commons and send to matslats at fastmail dot com
5 - register your initiative on and add a Credit Commons Champion badge to your website and app (linking to; this registration system and badge will be launched in the new year
6 - include in future funding proposals the budget for upgrading systems to be able to relate to a future Credit Commons clearing system on a blockchain

For the second group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the Credit Commons whitepaper
2 - study the Money and Society MOOC (next iteration Feb 17th 2017)
3 - clarify what skills, resources or networks you can offer to the key functions of either communications, software development, fundraising or organisational development/management, to what degree (how much unpaid time) and join the Credit Commons task force by sharing these offers on an online Slack group (email matslats at fastmail dot com to request an invite)
4 - tell other relevant people about the whitepaper, MOOC and activities of the Credit Commons and work on things agreed within the slack  

For, the third group, recommendations on how to engage include:
1 - read the Credit Commons whitepaper
2 - if still interested, email matslats at fastmail dot com to request asking to be kept uptodate (rather than join the task force)

For any interested persons who want to deepen their knowledge and become qualified in the topic, then the 5 day residential Certificate in Sustainable Exchange starts in London on April 19th 2017. 

The 2017 Money and Society Summit will take place on April 22nd 2017, at the University's London Docklands Campus. It is free but only open to alumni of the Money and Society MOOC and relevant practitioners. It will focus on ideas for better communicating the Credit Commons and relevant collaborative credit initiatives. It is hosted by Professor Bendell, Matthew Slater and Leander Bindewald. To register, email

To sign up to the Money and Society MOOC (a free online course starting again February 17th 2017), see here.

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