Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Transactions today require common trust in govt/central bank, Promise Language distributes that trust.
At its most basic, Promise Language is a simple standardized protocol describing transactions between people.  However the structure of that protocol will transform the banking system into a system of trust and accountability.  It can be started at a small local credit union or at a large central bank, but either way it will be adopted by all institutions due to its simplicity and significant cost savings. The protocol is similar to how internet browsers standardized on a single version of HTML.  It is more than a protocol however.  The entities in the diagram above already exist today, but the protocol changes how we view them.  Subtly changing the banking system from a system of theft and corruption to a system of trust.  Eventually forcing all central banks to back their products (money) with something of tangible value.

Promise Language is the result of reverse-engineering the concept of money.  Money becomes obsolete.  Currency becomes optional.  All transactions become wealth that is transferred.  The distinction is critical.  Wealth has an owner.  Money and Currency have hierarchical authorities behind them who extract a price and maintain their position through force.

The origin of Promise Language

(Sorry for the grammatical errors.  I type as a I think, and when I switch plurals with pronouns, it means that I have conceptually abstracted the pronoun's reference.  I am not a writer.  This was written from the perspective of developing software to encompass the subject domains of commerce, money, and transactions.)

For commerce and transactions to occur, it requires:
1. communication
2. trust
3. performance
4. accountability

Performance is made through a transfer of wealth:
- gold
- property
- real estate
- promise to work
- prior work
- etc.

Trust might be built by:
- reputation
- performance bond
- cosigner
- etc.

Accountability is the interrelation of trust and performance over time. Reputation. The historical results of previous interactions.

What is trade/commerce?
- An offer consisting of wealth transfer (gold, time, property, etc.)
- Trust between parties (reputation, performance bond, cosigner, etc.)

Trust is a binary decision. It can be quantified and tracked.

Performance is an analog result (partial performance). It can be quantified and tracked.

Trust + Performance = Transaction

Communication * (Trust + Performance) = Accountability

If a computer system tracked the above, what do we need money for?

Brokers could offer wealth translation services. If you want gold but I only have time, we could introduce a broker to take my time and give you gold. True barter system with 100% liquidity.

Money becomes non-existent. Just Transactions. No more money supply. No more interest. Liquidity becomes moot. Liquidity is the result of individual choice to transact their time, gold, or property. If you had no gold or property, you would trade time (wealth).

Since USD would be a form of wealth in this system, it would be phased out naturally (unless it proved to be a good form of wealth storage).

The entire system can co-exist with the current system and transition seamlessly.

I imagine Gold would likely become the measuring unit to translate wealth, but it is not a gold backed system. Gold would facilitate communication of value.

The above would be fairly simple to design. Describe Transaction messages composed of Trust and Performance messages. Servers process the messages and store the results. All open source and the consumer chooses the company/server.  A company of your choice would store your transaction history, validate the integrity and release the data to potential creditors upon approval.

What I'm proposing is simple: a common language that describes the basic transaction/contract (trust + performance). A framework that describes the communication but leaves the details undefined. Trust might be gained through reputation or performance bond. Performance might be made through gold or wheat (or USD or yen).

A common language replaces the need for a common transactional currency.

Currencies become wealth that is bartered.

Money as a transactional currency disappears. Only wealth remains. Wealth is defined by each person/entity. Iran can store its wealth in oil. A farmer can store his in wheat. Wealth translators provide liquidity.

Since wealth translation is expensive, the system naturally tends towards a common wealth like gold. But if gold is hoarded or unavailable, the system self-adjusts by re-introducing wealth translators or by changing the mutually agreed upon wealth to silver or copper or anything else. Dynamically, with no authority, responding to the best available store of wealth.

Pure barter, free from authoritative restrictions. Transactions occur through the common language.

Various companies would:
- process the transaction history (integrity)
- summarize and display the history (similar to a fico score)
- translate wealth from one form to another (wheat to oil to gold to USD)
- provide trust (performance bond, insurance, etc.)

Since all human contracts/transactions can be described as Trust + Performance, it works perfectly within today's system. It also survives a global banking collapse.

The protocol/language becomes the banking system. Each entity within the system is interchangeable. No hierarchy. Totally distributed.

Here's how the system might work:

Define a public specification for a Transaction. It would store who, what, when, and where. Not why or how the transaction was determined. The protocol would be openly designed like HTTP or HTML.

With that described, companies would fill various roles (these companies already exist):
- transaction coordinators
- transaction reporters
- transaction fulfillment
- wealth depositories
- wealth translators
- wealth lenders
- performance assurers

Performance assurers would be household names (Visa, MC, Discover, Amex). When transacting, Trust would be gained by saying: "All my transactions are assured by XY Corp". If you failed to perform, they would perform on your promise (whatever that promise was).

Present a card at a convenience store. The card would identify you. The store would likely accept various performance assurance companies (eg. Visa, MC, Discover, Amex). Trust is gained. Performance will be made through your preferred method (eg. gold). If the store does not accept gold, a wealth translator would facilitate the trade. If they do accept gold, your wealth depository would transfer gold to the store's wealth depository. The coordinator follows the process and sends the result of all transactions to the parties' respective transaction reporters.

With the exception of the coordinators, all of the above businesses exist today. Their only change would be to communicate through the public protocol.

There is a cost to all of the above, but the benefit is authority becomes distributed into interchangeable entities. It also allows total freedom of interaction between participants. No entity can gain control and it eliminates central banks and the need for a transactional currency. Maybe most importantly, the system is built with accountability (rather than authority) at its core.

In small communities, remembering the results of previous transactions is how people know who delivers on their promises.

This would do the same thing, but on a global scale. A protocol that tracks: "what was promised and if it was delivered".

Promises between strangers could be assured by a trusted entity (maybe a mutual friend or commonly known company). Each becomes an interchangeable node on the system.

Since money is "a promise to deliver value", the language is the money.

HTML is a standardized language that allows PC's to exchange text and pictures. No one profits from that standard and the rules are decided publicly through the non-profit http://www.w3.org/

Similarly, if we were to design a standardized language of promises, a decentralized monetary system builds itself. Promise Language.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Promise Language in real life

PL can be implemented at a small local bank as easily as a central bank. It instantly assures trust among participants while reducing transaction costs. Existing companies that adopt the specification would change how they do business in very small ways that lead to a globally trusted system.

Four categories of companies exist within the system.  These companies already exist, the labels are a way to describe them in the public PL specification:
- Promise Assurance companies
- Promise Reporters
- Wealth Translators
- Wealth Storage companies

Wealth Translators
If two individuals trade different forms of wealth, these companies handle the exchange. For example, if you stored your wealth in a vault in gold or silver, USD could be sent to the merchant instantly, behind the scenes. Simply present your Mastercard or Visa, etc., your gold is reduced, the Wealth Translator takes a small fee, and USD is delivered to the merchant.

Promise Assurance companies
Two types of Assurance companies:
1. Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express allow instant trust between strangers
2. companies to accept risk on larger Promises (eg. Lloyds of London or other underwriters)

Promise Reporters
The data belongs to the individual, and the Promise Reporter ensures integrity of that data. Data is only released to others at the discretion of the individual. Current companies like Experian, Transunion, Equifax can easily reorganize along these lines.

Wealth Storage companies
Vaults holding something of value (Euros, USD, gold, silver, diamonds, etc.) on the individual's behalf.

Description of Promise Language (PL)

Similar to HTML or XML, PL (Promise Language) is a simple framework describing promises that can be read by humans and processed by computers.  For example:

  (person's name)
  (person's name)
  (description of value conveyed)

A Transaction would be comprised of two Promises. A Transaction is marked as completed when both Promises are delivered. Simple. Templates for forms of Value (such as electronic gold, paper money, electronic silver, labor/time, etc.) allow for efficient processing by banks and related financial entities. Transaction costs go down. Reporting becomes automated, standardized and simple. Conveying reputation to others for credit purposes becomes easier.

What is Promise Language?

It is a public specification for contracts (promises) between individuals. Promise Language (PL) provides a framework that can be easily read by a computer.  That creates an accountability system which pushes corruption and corrupt currencies out of competition.

Who is making the promise?
Who is the recipient of the promise?
What value is to be conveyed?
Was it conveyed?

A computer system tracking the above promises becomes money. Any value can be conveyed so money becomes obsolete and meaningless. All forms of payment become wealth that is transferred through the conscious action of individuals who wish to transact. Money supply becomes moot. Money supply is only limited by the individuals' desire to transact. If nothing of value is available to one or more of the individuals, time or labor is the value. It is a barter system that works to barter anything (including USD) but will tend towards a stable, commonly accepted form of value such as gold or silver. However, if gold or silver were to be hoarded by large-monied interests, the population can simply choose another form of value such as copper or diamonds or anything else imaginable. What makes for a good, commonly accepted form of value? Something finite and discrete in nature such as a single diamond or a known quantity of gold. For example, the Federal Reserve could tie its currency to ONLY the gold in Fort Knox. That decision is up to the bankers at each central bank. The paper/digits of a central bank could be tied to the rice output on a yearly basis (currency fluctuations would arise from varying output).