Another milestone has been reached in our quest to build a new kind of trading system for the UK. We’ve now completed our first trading loop, which involved Lowimpact.org, Community Regen and Outlandish, two of which are co-operatives.
Here’s what Paul, of Community Regen, said about the trade:
I can see transactions that don’t involve money becoming very attractive for small businesses, who often have problems with cashflow. I have a small business that is all about connecting and networking with other organisations and businesses, and mutual credit is all about connecting and providing mutual support, so it feels very natural to me – very rewarding. I’ve already had deeper conversations with people at Outlandish. It builds trust between participating businesses, which just makes sense to me. It’s a no-brainer, really.
And here’s Polly at Outlandish:
It feels great to be right at the start of a network designed to facilitate trade outside of the normal realm of monetary exchange. It’s great that like-minded businesses can be connected in this way, without having to contribute to banks’ profits. Hopefully it will also help us to extend our network of suppliers, and to find suppliers that operate ethically. I found the trade itself really easy.
And here’s Dave of Lowimpact.org:
It works! Three happy trading partners. From our perspective, we’ve started to get good advice from Paul, and we’ve already lined up a second trade with an accountancy firm in which we’ll use mutual credit as part of the payment for producing our annual accounts. We’re already having conversations with businesses that are quite unusual – based on trust, and a desire to build a different kind of world. It feels like a much better way to do business, which makes me believe that there is huge potential here for bringing about wider, beneficial change.
Around 100 businesses have expressed interest in joining The Open Credit Network – everything from farmers, accountants and graphic designers to weavers, IT specialists and printers. Each business has listed some of its ‘offers’ and ‘wants’.
Our job is now to find trading loops between those businesses. Eventually, this will all be automated so that participating businesses can find what they want without having to be part of a ‘loop’.
But for now, we’re initiating trading loops involving 3 or 4 businesses that can trade with each other, to complete a full cycle. Business A provides something for business B, which provides something of the same value for business, C, which provides something of the same value for business A.
We built the required software to run trade accounts for each business, who will be in credit or debit depending on how much they’ve bought from or sold to other members of the network.
Trades can be partly in mutual credit and partly in cash. One credit is equivalent to one pound. Credits can’t be exchanged for for pounds, or vice versa.
In our first trading loop Lowimpact.org provided a banner advertisement for Outlandish, who provided web services for Community Regen, who provided fundraising advice for Lowimpact.org with a trade value of £100, but in credits, rather than cash.
Once a business is a member of the Open Credit Network, trading itself is as simple as logging on to the website and filling out a short form. The admin team then check and approve the trades, one account is credited, the other debited and voilà – the businesses get what they want, without having to come up with scarce cash.
If you’re interested in setting up your business as a Member please fill in the expression of interest form.