Most of today’s money is created by commercial banks when they issue loans. Their core service is to basically keep a verifiable record of real world obligations. As blockchains are particularly good at accounting, it’s rather straightforward to disintermediate financial institutions in a system where money is represented as IOUs. In the Trustlines Network every user is acting as a bank by granting credit lines to friends they trust.
The network of all credit lines mirrors the social graph where a path of people trusting each other can be found between any two non-trusting participants. This allows to issue money between friends and facilitate secure payments between strangers, by rippling payments along a chain of trusting friends. The Trustlines Network is similar to the original Ripple idea, but built on Ethereum with a strong focus on ease of adoption and smart contract interoperability.
The Trustlines app will come with a unique onboarding experience.
Contrary to traditional payment apps, there is no need for having a bank account, ID or providing a deposit.
The Trustlines Network is built as a decentralized platform hosting customized and interconnected currency networks. Contrary to present centralized collaborative finance platforms, this enables secure, transparent and permissionless P2P transactions. The platform is designed to be scaleable with the Raiden Network and comes with an open protocol and API supporting interoperability with other smart contract based services on the Ethereum platform. Developers worldwide can therefore build and monetise collaborative finance applications on top of the platform.
The main application is permissionless mobile payments denominated in traditional fiat, unit or time based currencies. The ease of getting started makes mobile payments accessible to the unbanked, i.e. people without ID, cash or a bank account. All needed is a phone, internet and a friend.
The Trustlines Network supports cross-currency payments by users automatically accepting the best achievable conversion rate offered from other users. In effect this makes everyone capable of sending worldwide payments with next to no cost or settlement time.
Seller and buyers can securely trade crypto currencies for fiat money or credit without having to know or meet each other. This feature removes the current centralized gateway barriers for acquiring and using cryptocurrencies
Communities or businesses can create their own interoperable complementary currencies. Communities pursuing a local circular economy can for example disable interest or global interoperability, while business networks might customize access criteria to conform with regulatory requirements.
The ability to give out loans and save up for the future is a crucial necessity for the proper functioning of our economies and something that is not possible in many parts of the developing world. Credit lines are at the core of the Trustlines system and trivially allow users to lend money. Smart contracts can be used to encode the specific terms (e.g. interest rate) of an agreement. Saving is implicitly supported by taking the opposite side of a loan.
The Trustlines Network is an open platform extendable by smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. 3rd party application developers can easily build on top of new or existing currency networks. Please see the white paper for further ideas on future applications.
Trustlines Network is still work in progress. We invite everyone to become a part of the movement and help to shape the future of people powered money. Feel free to join us on Slack and start the conversation with like-minded who also believe in a financial system where money is working for the people.
Creating interconnected and resilient currency networks is indeed complex and all conceptual, technical or design feedback is very welcome. By uniting the passion and skills of complementary currency and blockchain experts, we can together create the next generation of people powered money.