31 Jul 2014

Other IOU based systems

I've been a bit quiet of late - sorry. Too many things to do, and not enough time to do them!

First, an update on the OWEM project. We're clearly still very early days. Take up has been very slow, and although I promised to send an IOU to the first 100 people to sign up (which I would pay off by buying them a beer at the first opportunity), I'm still a long way from the 100 names! So, do try the system out - it's painless, and totally free.

Second, since launching OWEM, I've realized that there are actually quite a large number of IOU based systems that already exist as Apps for iPhones, Android and Windows Phone devices (51 in total).

Here are some of the 28 apps that are available for iPhones:

IOU debt manager
IOU debt manager "still waitin" Rating 4.4
IOU Rating 2.6
IOU free Rating 2.6
IOU Piggy Rating 5.0 (5 ratings)
Mr Moneybags IOU Rating 4.0
Bank of Me (IOU Tracker) Rating 3.0
Lend Me! Lending and borrowing IOU tracker Rating 3.5
TAB IT - Confirm, Track and Trade IOU Rating 3.5
IOU for Friends Rating 3.5
iBorrow (IOU) Rating 3.5
IOU Lunch
IOU eLOG Rating 3.5
IOU mobile
IOU Project  Rating 3.5
PayApp - IOU UOI
IOU - I owe you 
iou passes Rating 3.5
IOU UOME Log Rating 3.5
iPaid (IOU) Rating 3.5

Here are some of the 19 available for Android devices:

Splitwise Rating 4.3
Repay - For IOU's Rating 4.3
IOU I Owe You You Owe Me Free Rating 3.7
IOU I Owe You You Owe Me PRO Rating 3.7
IOU Rating 4.3
IOU - debits and credits Rating 4.4
Tricount - Group Expense & IOU Rating 4.3
LendMate IOU (I owe you) Rating 4.3
IOU Debt Notebook Rating 4.2
LoanBuddy IOU Raring 4.4
Pay You Later (IOU) Rating 4.7

And there are others that are for Windows

IOU Rating 4.7
IOU Revamped Rating 4.3

I'm gradually working my way through the list. So far, I get the impression that the most if not all of these apps will keep tabs of the amounts that you owe to other people, and how much you are owed by them. However, so far, I get the impression that they are really just a local memo system - nothing is keeping tabs of thinks at a central level.

This makes them quite different to the OWEM system where individual people can only SEND IOUs to others. And only the other person can cancel out that debt by sending an IOU in the other direction.

If you get to hear about any other systems that can allow this to be done, do let me know.

In the meantime, I wonder whether the people that have been writing all this IOU software realize just how close they are to producing a system that can short-circuit the effective monopoly that commercial banks have on money creation?

The fact is that, in a system where people can create create by sending an IOU to someone else, we are effectively creating a form of money. The only thing that is needed is trust. If somebody is prepared to do some work for me (like repairing my central heating, or doing some gardening) in return for an IOU, then it is because they believe that I will repay the debt later on - either by doing some work for them, providing them with some goods that they want, or (if all else fails) giving them some "real" money in the form of a bank transfer or some notes in Euros, Dollars or Pounds.

And since, in a system like OWE'M, there is no limit on the amount of credit that can be generated, such systems really would have the ability to avoid the standard boom and bust cycles that are inevitable if we allow our economy to depend on "money" created by commercial banks.

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