Membership Agreement – Startup Phase

Version 1.0 March 3rd 2019

Overview:

The UK Open Credit Network (UKOCN) is a new type of organisation, built on trust.

You won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text in this Agreement. It has been deliberately designed to reflect the open, inclusive and trust-building principles the UKOCN aims to establish.

In the startup phase the UKOCN will operate as an unincorporated cooperative association, governed by the Core Members. During following phases the UKOCN will seek incorporation, widen its governance to include active trading members and update this agreement accordingly.

The Core Members of UKOCN team are Dave Darby and Dil Green of LowImpact.org and Oliver Sylvester-Bradley of The Open Co-op.

The startup phase of the UKOCN has been designed to minimise risk by limiting participation to select businesses conducting low-value trades (minimum two – one sale and one purchase). There is no obligation to join and you should only do so if you are comfortable with this and wish to help the network evolve.

Purpose and Scope:

The purpose of the UKOCN is to grow a viable system for value exchange based on mutual credit. It offers interest free credit to members that offer goods and service to the network. The UKMCN exists to facilitate exchange between its members by validating and recording trades on the basis of the rules set out below.

Membership:

Businesses that have expressed interest, and been identified as providing goods and services that other members want, will be invited to join UKOCN as Members in order to trade with other members through mutual credit. Membership is restricted to bona-fide UK businesses. In the case of Sole Traders, the UKOCN Team reserve the right to make further enquiries.

The UKOCN team agree to:

  • Add new member’s  information to the Directory and Accounting system
  • Set balance limits
  • Facilitate trades between members
  • Keep reliable records of trades and account balances – and make these accessible to all members
  • Validate trades with both the Buyer and the Seller
  • Assist with dispute resolution

UKOCN Members agree to:

  • Authorise or reject trades promptly
  • Fulfil any authorized and validated trades as agreed, in terms of time frame, quality of goods and service etc.
  • Understand that UKOCN’s role is to facilitate and record trades and maintain accurate account information. UKOCN cannot be responsible for issues around trade fulfilment.
  • Act legally and pay all relevant taxes
  • Accept the decisions of the UKOCN team
  • Request help from the UKOCN team to resolve exchange issues.

Rules

  1. Trades can be considered as ‘benefits in kind’ and valued in GBP on the basis that one Open Credit Unit (OCU) has an equivalent value of £1 GBP.
  2. Each Member has one account. The opening balance of the account will be zero. The account balance will be credited and debited according to the amounts agreed by the Buyer and the Seller once a trade has been validated by both parties. Trades not validated will not affect Members’ balances.
  3. Balance limits will be set to disallow any trade which would bring a members’ account to a negative balance greater than 250 OCU. Positive balances greater than 500 OCU need to be negotiated with the UKOCN Team.
  4. Trades are agreed between a willing Buyer and a willing Seller under UK law. Both parties must certify that the trade is lawful. The Buyer must notify the UKOCN Team of an agreed trade, providing the required minimum information (Buyer ID, Seller ID, OCU amount and description of trade). The Seller must confirm that the details issued by the Buyer are accepted. The quantity of OCU issued by the Buyer in relation to the trade must not result in either participant Member’s balance exceeding any account limit.
  5. For the duration of the startup phase, all information provided on trades by Members will be visible to all Members, as will Members submitted details, balances, offers and wants.
  6. The UKOCN Team will have one account which will follow the same rules as all other accounts during the start-up phase.
  7. During the start-up phase there are no fees for joining or trading. Future phases of the UKOCN will have fees, however these will be set as low as possible. Members who do not wish to sign the Agreement for the next phases will be required to bring their balance back to zero before leaving the UKOCN.
  8. Any Member that remains in negative balance, and does not reply to communications from the UKOCN team for more than 2 months will be deemed an Inactive Member and after 4 months will be deemed to be a Defaulting Member.
  9. In order to retain trust within the network Defaulting Members will be listed publicly. UKOCN will employ all means at their disposal to recover any outstanding balances.
  10. Should the UKOCN cease to exist for any reason, Members agree as follows: all Members with negative balances will pay an equivalent in GBP into a pool, which will be distributed to those with positive balances in proportion to their respective balances. The assets of the UKOCN will be passed to an organisation with similar aims.