Subject: REA, Freenet, and BarterGod
Date: 07/21/2000
Author: Todd Boyle <>

[reposted from, the XBRL workgroup ]

Cal said Friday, July 21, on Digital Bearer Settlement List

> What is serving for money today already has no permanent store of value.
> The money of tomorrow will serve as a bearer of information with most
> likely (my guess) a negative carrying charge....

> In short, what I am saying is look for a permanent divorce of the
> store of value function from the list of attributes of money.

Hi Cal, WAP summary-


Long version --a year ago I started ranting about shared transaction repositories explained at and payments on the host before that , etc. Now it seems, there might not be any server at all.

At least 3 different possibilities for this.

1. REA system of accounting has emerged with decentralized solutions for large scale production, that span enterprises; now the internet really enables it for the first time.

2. SCM people are are talking about a smart chip attached to every unit of production, even on every can of chickpeas in the supermarket. The cost of chips are getting down around 1 cent.

3. Freenet-style distributed file systems offer glimpses of a magical transaction fabric. You may be able to participate in exchanges, send and receive payments, and even maintain your accounting system, with all your bits encrypted and scattered among numerous peers on the network. The intent of Freenet is there would be no server to regulate, censor, or shut down. Read Sean Dugan last week in Infoworld. This idea hit the mailing lists months ago. The portal mavens are rotating on this P2P thing, they're in a tizzy. Nasdaq in a dive. Can't figure out how to collect rents from peer-2-peer commerce.

Think about the smart-chip proposition (item 2) -- What seems to emerge is a whole new network-based architecture where there is very little persistent storage or logic anyplace other than on the smart chips, and there is an encrypted token for every resource. Money, raw material, finished product. Account receivable or payable. Whatever.

These tokens will have a beginning and an end. In eastern religion we had brahma, vishnu and shiva. The product chip would accompany the product to final owner and then the landfill.

Anyways, these tokens are like "titles" to an automobiles. They represent the product. They might be bolted onto the product or they might travel the net. In REA-like systems they might be passed up and down the network along with the necessary XML document to explain the content (or perhaps, the XML is within the token). Chickpeas might not have brands. They might have reputations derived from the producers' reputations. Chickpeas might not have owners other than their producers. Every can of chickpeas is an LLC. Let's bust up those corporations. (grin)

Workers might burn their charges into the chip when they bolt parts on the automobile, and get paid when the car is sold. You might have pennies or dollars invested in fifty thousand of these little buggers, and you will index them in your tokens directory, to maintain a sort of receivables control.

And with no surrender of privacy, no big-brotherish system. The more you think of it, the weirder it gets. What does GAAP look like when there's no GL, and everything is humming along nicely with permissions and statuses stored on the labels of chickpeas?

Note that there is NO intrinsic reason that everything in the economy has to be quantified in money anyways. Like so many other things, perhaps, money is a lesson we must unlearn. It has certain disadvantages lets face it. Perhaps the DNA will organize itself around a more efficient system of production.

What is still lacking as far as I can see, are software algorithms for unconstrained multi-party bartering. What would really break the logjam would be a website where you would login and tell this godlike website what you need (from housing, utilities, food, transportation, thru entertainment etc. etc.) BarterGod would read your capabilities and performance history from the database and print out a list of places to go, and tasks for you to do. BarterGod would figure out what is possible, what the schedule is, how far away you're located, and calculate scenarios and proposals to members, to organize the labor. There is nothing but labor in the universe. There is no capital, entrepreneur, or adam smith.

If you don't want to do the work, you could scratch some stuff off your wish-list and BarterGod will give you a shorter tasks list. If you don't do your task, some other member will be mad when they don't get their stuff, and you will be busted and you won't get any stuff either. Bartergod would figure out you owe the tribe some tasks, and would get on your case. Maybe there would be multidimensional tribes.

Szabo's smart contracts. XML schemas. MapQuest. GPS/GIS. It's all coming together.

This will happen any day now. This year maybe. bwaha ha! That's why we should all work hard to keep our income below $20,000 per year. It will be terrific evidence of fair market value. Nobody should be allowed to join if their income in any of the past 3 years was above the poverty level.

Governments will say "You valued your groceries income for 2002 at $3,000 but we know that groceries in the supermarket cost $52,000 for a family of 4." Members will argue "Look, here's a list of every hour of every bum who worked on those damned groceries. Some of them didn't even show up. Besides, I never received all these groceries." Economists will argue, "Those supermarket groceries cost $52,000 because they came from a completely different system of production that's less efficient" And they would be right.

Had fun with this ;-)

Saaaay--- how are you "suits" coming along, with that GL schema?

I been busy,

* Todd F. Boyle CPA