The New Economy of Trust Networks – an overview


Think of your friends and how you have tit for tat with one another. There is an unspoken agreement to keep track of such favours implicitly, and if you have a friend who really keeps track of every cent he spent when doing favours for another, you’d all think he was a miser and keep your distance in some fashion.

Meanwhile, to exchange favours with the rest of the world, you use an abstraction of value called money. Over there, business is strictly business.

Now imagine if the tit for tat network could be expanded to not just include your close friends, but people who know about and presumably like you. Like your fans, or merely acquaintances who think you’re cool because they don’t yet know you eat boogers in the bathroom. Tit for tats could also be exchanged through a mutual acquaintance, enabling the exchange of favours with a total stranger.

Of course you’d need to keep track of all this explicitly, with currencies.

Could such a network reduce the importance of money in our lives/make transactions more personal, and abolish the desperate need to get rich at all costs?

the projects I know of in this space

Roll lets you create ERC20 personal tokens.

MeTokens seems to be the same thing, but adds a bonding curve, making your tokens more expensive as demand for them increases.

Trustlines an IOU exchanging network just like Lightning (Bitcoin), but mostly for fiat currencies and the integrated “Beer” currency.

Circles UBI an IOU exchanging network, except that these are personal tokens, which are replenished daily (it is a UBI).


Although this won’t replace money altogether, this form of explicit tit for tat could become a way of socially signaling you are closer together. Great way for famous people to make you pay more to feel more included, artists to rally their highest paying patrons etc.

Hippies will love this, and it’ll become even easier for them to live without money now. They might even think of this as money and start a movement to abolish this…

Value perception remains as important as ever. For your personal tokens to have value, you must make people see the value in you. This is not easy. And you must back up your tokens when called upon.

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