“I am currently working on a P2P system for extended bartering. I almost have finished the design of the system and have done a toy implementation of one of the subsystems. I plan not to release any code in public until I have most of the design frozen. I believe this is going to prevent the project to be spoiled down by too much design and philosophical discussions. Anyway I am open to discuss technical details with anyone who is interested in the concrete design and implementation.
Let me try to briefly explain the general idea:
The biggest problem with money is that it basically introduces artificial scarcity of one particular good – the money itself. All the other problems are a logical consequence from the mentioned problem – interest, fiat money, credit. Barter exchange does not have this problem because it does not introduce any scarcity that have not existed before. The only problem with barter is that it does not works when a wide variety of goods are traded.
This is called “double coincidence of wants” which spoils things down. So basically barter would be nice if it worked at all (but it does not).
I propose a kind of generalization of barter which I call “Circular Exchange Trading System” or CETS. The ordinary barter is a special case of circular exchange of goods where there are only 2 participant in the exchange. General idea is that lots of people declare what they have for sale and what they seek to buy and the computerized system offers them appropriate circular barter transaction. Details are not important at this level of abstraction.
What is important here is that “double coincidence of wants” problem disappears because the guy you deliver what you have and the guy you obtain what you need form are different.
If the thoughts above are true. Is seems that such a system once implemented and widely accepted would free exchange from any dependency of centralized institutions (or at least lessen this dependency greatly). The previous statement is obviously too enthusiastic. It is very hard for me to deduce all the drawbacks this approach to trading (CETS) certainly has. I would be glad to hear from you all possible critiques of the idea I presented to you.”