While I was participating in Helsinki’s Pixelache’s festival this early April, one of the presentations that most impressed me was by Kristoffer Lawson, co-founder of Scred, a banking project geared to communities. It allows you to create MiniCorps and monitor funding and expenses for a group of people.
Details are from Kristoffer himself, but he also refers to an article in another blog.
“we are aiming to be a new kind of bank for communities distributed around the world and online, but which is also open to actual services (via the API or internally).
Technically we can do a lot of this already, but we have been careful with regulation. Actual banks have very high capital requirements and loads of bureaucracy which, as a startup, would likely be impossible to manage. So the options are either to ignore regulation for now, or to try to build some services towards our goal, but without having to move actual money through us (which somewhat limits what we can do).
At the moment we have basically two services: normal pools and MiniCorps. They are actually based on the same code and core, but with different requirements:
* Normal pools are for tracking debt and shared expenses as a group of people. So if you are planning an activity together, and certain people are paying for parts of it, they can easily be added and everyone knows who owes money and who is expecting. It works with multiple currencies and offline on most mobile phones (synchronised to server). Eventually this can end up being used as just a running balance, without money ever moving inside the community. So with a bunch of friends it might be that the one with the largest negative balance should be paying for the movie tickets next weekend — the group exists continuously and people never physically pay back.
* MiniCorps are basically virtual corporations. People from anywhere in the world can form a MiniCorp together and begin to sell items with their integrated shop. These can be tickets, merchandise, art, donations or anything. They also track other income, expenses and debt, just like any business would do. The difference is that they are super lightweight, don’t require official incorporation, are distributed globally and are social: everyone can participate.
Target groups for MiniCorps are young and participatory communities: bands, indie film crews, indie game developers and houses, event organisers, artists, societies and associations. They can be for-profit or not. F.ex. the P2P Foundation itself is probably a good candidate for a Scred MiniCorp.
MiniCorps are currently in closed beta, as they are still being developed, but we are working to get them into public beta as soon as possible. If you like, you can try with this beta code: SF.
There was a great article about MiniCorps on Arctic Startup:
At the technical core of all of this is Meaningful Money — the ability to add information to transactions taking place. Where did it take place? What was it for (donation, investment, loan …)? What group was involved? Any tags? Pictures or photos (like receipts)? Documents (like contracts)?”