The Trustlines Network
is a community-driven project to build a better financial system. Users can pay each other using a system of debits and credits. We call this People Powered Money. There are no requirements to join: It is a payment tool open to anyone. In a circular economy, where value circulates so debts cancel out naturally, Trustlines is the ideal tool for payments. It is also a good tool for kickstarting sustainable trade loops. The Trustlines App
is a free tool (the reference implementation app) for using the system.
Why use it?
Trustlines is an open monetary system for the circular economy. Recent years have seen great interest in the phenomenon of local currencies and their ability to influence an economy. Trustlines provides these same benefits to all, in a scalable and decentralized way. It provides liquidity where needed, thus helping stimulate economic activity. And it naturally emphasizes local and hyper-local trade loops, since liquidity is most abundant where the trust network is strongest.
A true circular economy must address externalities not always valued by traditional currencies. Trustlines offers communities the opportunity to use alternative denominations of value, such as “hours of work,” “favors,” “kilowatt-hours,” or their own new denomination. This can create a more holistic or sustainable economy, rendering different forms of work or value more visible, to be acknowledged or compensated appropriately. Using a complementary medium of exchange in this way can help bring to light all aspects of an economy.
Who is it for?
Anyone can start using Trustlines with their friends or larger community, however business owners and entrepreneurs are often the most important agents behind kickstarting a larger ecosystem. They may also have the most to gain, since the added purchasing power in the local economy and stability to weather external financial shocks are great advantages for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The overarching mission behind Trustlines is financial and economic inclusion, so it is a good resource for development professionals working with underserved groups: Since Trustlines is credit-based, it is essentially a mobile-first payment solution that works equally well for people who do not yet have any savings in their national currency.
Trustlines is additionally an excellent educational tool for the classroom, especially for students of economics. Using Trustlines allows students to experience how money creation works, by creating and using it with their peers. Through experiential or game-based learning, students will gain a powerful level of insight into the modern money and banking system.
How long does it take?
Getting started with Trustlines is quick and simple: Download an app, connect with friends, and then you can use it to pay anyone in your network. Community-building, resource-mapping, and organizing a full-fledged pilot can be longer projects taking anywhere from weeks to months depending on the size of the community and scope of the project. Check out the communities page
for more resources.
How many people is it for?
You need a minimum of two people to use Trustlines. After that, there are no restrictions on the number of users. It can scale globally, as good as (or better than) a traditional monetary system.
We suggest a group of 10-100 people to start off with, to try out the system and make some exchanges. This will help reveal if there are any other facilitation resources needed by the community.
What materials do you need?
You will need smartphones and an internet connection.
For an initial meeting, we suggest paper and pen to assist in brainstorming for market facilitation. For example, this may include listing each person’s offers and needs.
Check out the communities page
for further suggestions and links to some worksheets and handouts to print and distribute. There are also slide decks online in case the facilitator wants to do a presentation, in which case they should arrange for a projector or similar.
Participants may also want to bring items to trade, although this is not required for an initial meeting.
What does the facilitator need to know or be able to do?
The facilitator should be familiar with Trustlines. There are plenty of resources to help facilitators, available on the communities page