Date: Sun Apr 27 10:57:52 1997
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Simon Dudley)
Subject: WebLETS software?
To: email@example.com ("'firstname.lastname@example.org'")
SD: Hi, I've just joined this forum.
It strikes me that a LETSystem could operate far more effectively if
exchanges between LETS members could registered via the internet, thus
saving much time and energy in management over traditional paper-
based, non-networked systems.
JCT: For everyone with a computer, Email is the ideal mechanism
to send our transactions, especially if it is automatically posted to
the database. Then there is little human work necessary. Of course,
for people with businesses or who do not own computers, paper tokens
provide free exchanges for only the printing charge.
SD: Does anyone know of any LETS websites
where exchanges can be
JCT: Intersystem trading can be registered by opening an account
in your system called Global banker and then posting any transactions
with any other system's Global banker account to an appropriate public
Here is how we recently figured out how Global LETS could be
started by those systems wishing to inter-trade until more formal
arrangements can be made:
JCT: Actual ly, there need be no input from
Humans at all in the
establishment of a Global clearinghouse. As long as transactions could
be posted for public inspection by all, balances are evident to all
and no human input at the global clearinghouse is necessary.
Interesting. I just visited the Vancouver LETS web site and
noticed that they allow members to order payment by telephone, mail,
we'll use my newsgroup, alt.fan.john-turmel, to be the eyes for
everyone on what I see.
Each LETS opens an account in their own system called the "Global LETS
To effect a inter-LETS transaction, email it for public scrutiny
to the public newsgroup.
The sending LETS subtracts the payment from the account of the
local user's account, adds it to my Global account and email's
confirmation of the transaction to the receiving LETS with a copy to
the public newsgroup.
The receiving LETS subtracts the payment from my account and adds
it to the account of the local user.
Publishing the intersystem transaction to the public newsgroup is
all the verification for trade I need to guarantee balance. All I have
to do is keep an archive of transactions.
This is simply expanding on the idea of my trying to get my
G$3000 out of Toronto account and spend them in Ottawa. It would take
a third party. Well, the Global LETS Banker newsgroup can act as
Global supervisor with no human input from me. I don't have to do
anything. I just let the world's LETSystems use my public noticeboard
and as their third party while I, myself, don't even have to get
All casino cashiers proved trustworthy at one-to-one banking
transactions and I don't expect any miscreant newsgroup to prove
So there it is. Carefree, international, centralized, public -
the key - trading with no human intervention at the center.
*In the real world the obligations we make
are not to everyone and
*trust in banking management is finite; the more remote the central
*bankers the more limited our trust in them.
JCT: You can't get as remote as I'm going to be from the
alt.fan.john-turmel newsgroup. All you have to do is trust someone to
down-load all new transactions every week and trust the Local systems
to be true to their pledges.
It's not really me, the middleman, who might be the offending
party. It would be the other LETS. I'm saying you can trust me as
central banker because I can't do anything. Just let you post to my
newsgroup and keep the pledges to redeem you have made in public.
**They just aren't trading between each
*You are assuming that they will.
JCT: I am stating that they can. And systems which use paper
notes do. That's why Ithaca LETS is so powerful. You don't have to be
a member to use their notes. As long as you know everyone else in town
takes them, there's no reason for you not to take them. Houslow and
Ithaca can use my newsgroup to publish trades if they want. No one
will doubt their systems' pledges to honor their commitments.
Perfect example. You opened an account for me in your Canterbury LETS.
I have accounts in the Christchurch and the Auckland LETS in New
Let's say that you'd like a copy of the archives of the New
Zealand Greendollar Quarterly Reports, a wonderful publication
detailing the growth of LETS there. Let's say back issues cost $120
New Zealand Greendollars worth about 10 Greenhours like in Canada
since Canadian and New Zealand federal funds are about par.
In the UK, 10 Greenhours is worth 60 Tales or Greenpounds. You
deposit 60 Tales to my account worth 10 Greenhours and send an email
to the New Zealand LETS purchasing those back issues by Cash-On-
Delivery by transferring Green from my account over there to that of
the Greendollar Quarterly. Back issues are mailed to you, you pay for
the postage and they've had some trade.
If you publish your use of my New Zealand Banker account in
public, I have no doubt that you will honor it.
If the New Zealand LETS decides that they would like copies of
your archives and literature, the reverse process would take place and
again, I have no doubt they would honor any pledge they have made in
Notice that this can all be done because of one public newsgroup.
I don't even have to be responsible for archiving transactions. The
fact that everyone uses my newsgroup to register their transactions in
public confers absolutely no power on me to influence anything. It is
the integrity of the individual systems at issue and I have no doubt
that demands for redemption of Time will be honored with no problems
JCT: This has
been distributed to the econ-lets newslist for
almost a week and given no negative response, everyone might be as
stunned about the implications as I am. So the fact I have accounts in
the Canterbury, Toronto, Auckland and New Zealand means anyone in
those LETSystems may trade with anyone in any other system just by
registering that trade with the Global LETS Banker in the public
newsgroup. It's funny that the possibility was just raised last week
for the very first time.
SD: I'm also interested in knowing if anyone
is working on, or has
working, software for operating and managing a LETSystem over the Web.
Cheers, -Simon, Sydney, Australia.
JCT: I've heard that Vancouver LETS accepts transactions by post,
telephone and email. I think they're still inputting the information
manually at this stage. But I'll bet it will soon be automated.
I'd think that a software package to run a LETS web site will be
the next LETS "killer app." Talk about anyone with a computer being
able to organize their own barter circle and earn Green to spend in it
with their web site's service charges.
But third-party Global banker inter-system trading is available
to any systems who wish to trade with the simple expedient of opening
one new account in their local system. Fascinating how easily they can
now all come together, isn't it?
Usenet newsgroup intertrading is possible right now since
Greendollars are really nothing but information tokens representing
receipts for promised goods or services. That break-through changes
all the parameters of the game. Now that all systems can inter-trade
anytime they choose, there's no more diddling with the design. Keep
your local designs as you've tailored them. Use one new account for
all intersystem trading.
I was saddened by what I'd thought were suicidal changes at the
Ottawa LEATS system by banning the paper medium and prohibiting
outside trading. But now, no matter how many other systems follow the
LEATS design, they can now have the option to transcend that
xenophobia as quickly as they can open a Third-Party Central LETS
The potential of using Internet to connect all systems in such a
simple way hasn't yet fully been explored though I think a quantum
leap in its evolution just occurred. I think we need systems to offer
users the chance to advertise to the outside world! I'd invite any
LETSystem administrator to post an ASCII file to my newsgroup of any
offers which might be of interest to the outside world upon COD
conditions. Let us shop on your database if you can shop on ours. As
long as all translate prices into Hours, the world is now our market.
So how about it, Andy? Would you like any copies of Maureen
Mallinson's New Zealand Greendollar Quarterly Reports? Why don't we do
a first transaction just to demonstrate how easy and honest it is?
Maureen, would you like a package of Andy's Canterbury
Would anyone else? Sure, it would only be trading LETS historical
literature around but other kinds of trades could now be offered if we
can get LETS Noticeboards in other systems by email.
There is no reason to wait for a central inter-system software
with proper security when public postings eliminates need for security
and central processing at the same time.
The Central LETS Banker newsgroup is always in balance. It's a
completely safe alternative to waiting for something more official to
Sorry to have reposted this in such length but it does show how
important an evolutionary leap I sense it must be.
a comment to John Turmel