Our tools underpin a variety of Credit Commons projects around the world.

Resilient economies are ecosystems, able to respond to change and shocks. As natural ecosystems act to create the conditions for more life, so economic ecosystems act to create the conditions for more exchange.

Mutual Credit Services works with on-the-ground partners to weave our collaborative finance tools into platforms that serve different sectors of the economy. These projects are carefully designed and tested to meet immediate user needs, with community wealth building, the circular economy, and rebuilding the commons as key emergent outcomes.

As providers of technical, governance, policy, and analysis services with a commitment to ongoing support, our consultancy work always has skin in the game – we have a vested interest in ensuring that whatever we co-design has a sustainable business model. Our support is always on a contractual basis – networks own their own infrastructure and data, and are encouraged to develop commons governance capacity.

We have several projects in various stages of development, each of which will serve as proof-of-concept for a different platform. Together, these will form the earliest building blocks of a global Credit Commons. We expect these diverse initiatives to provide both the inspiration and a solid evidence base for rapid replication and federation into a viable, dynamic, and equitable economic ecosystem, supported by our social franchise business model.

Local Loop North West, UK

Local Loop North West will be a business-to-business Clearing Club, centred initially on Lancaster and Morecambe. A multilateral obligation set-off algorithm, MTCS, will be used to clear local trade, reducing demands on cashflow and boosting city-wide economic resilience, with Trade Credit Clubs as a follow-on:

  • Phase 1: Trial aimed at collecting data on local business activity and monitoring the viability of the potential network.

  • Phase 2: Recruitment of a critical mass of trial participants for the real invoice-clearing service.

  • Phase 3: Identification of clusters of high-intensity local trading activity, Trade Credit Clubs recruitment and trial, integration with Clearing Club-wide multilateral obligation set-off.

This proof-of-concept of community-scale collaborative finance will offer a basis for rapid replication across the UK. Much more detail can be found on the Local Loop North West website.

Shubh Vyapar, India

In partnership with a social entrepreneur in Nagpur, we have co-designed a business-to-consumer system allowing consumers to invest spare cash in local retailers in return for a use-credit obligation-type discount voucher that represents a claim on the business spare capacity. The network wide discount is fixed to the smallest profit margin of any participating retailer (mitigating their risk), whilst additional discretionary discounts can be offered by individual business at the point-of-sale. The consumer can use the voucher at any member across the network. Vouchers are cleared between businesses using a shared ledger, with issuance and acceptance limits mutually agreed on the basis of spare capacity. Proof-of-concept will demonstrate a mechanism to bring consumers into collaborative finance relations with retail businesses.

Svensk Barter, Sweden

We are working pro bono for Coompanion SA, a Swedish co-operative development agency, supporting students at Linköping University to build an app for an existing network (Svensk Barter) which was dissatisfied with its existing ‘business barter’ software. MCS will become the network’s ‘service member’, with the potential to scale the model to the national co-operative parent group. This will provide us with proof-of concept for mutual credit exchange based on the Credit Commons Protocol.

Brixton Mint, UK

Brixton Mint intends to deliver a programme to support local people in building their confidence, capacity, and will to engage constructively with money, with a strong focus on community-based resilience. We are applying for funding from the Lambeth Community Connections Fund to deliver the first two phases between September 2022 to July 2023:

  • Phase 1: Three community ‘edutainment’ events, in different venues across Brixton, both offering and asking for stories, performances, advice, and experiences about money. The aim is to meet, involve, and learn from a wide range of Brixton people and communities around their relationship with and understanding of money both personal and cultural. The impact of this will be the gathering of information around the grassroots experience of money and finance, with this material serving as the basis for the co-design of Phase 2.

  • Phase 2: Empowerment Programme, working title: Money, Community & Me; over three months, a group of up to 20 local people will be supported and guided through a programme of empowerment in their relationship to money alongside a wide range of practitioners, experts, and theorists. A key strand will be to develop and share better understandings of different community approaches to financial resilience, savings, and empowerment.

  • Phase 3: Working with alumni from the programme to develop an ecosystem of community-specific projects to strengthen and develop community financial empowerment.

This project, delivered in partnership with the Credit Commons Society, may develop into community-based implementations of mutual credit.

Stroud Housing Commons, UK

On the basis of a novel approach to housing finance and investment through use-credit obligations, we are developing an approach to a pilot in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Early days yet, but watch this space for something that we hope can be quite powerful.

Sustenance and South West Good Food Network, UK

MCS was a key member of the Sustenance Partnership, funded by Innovate UK in 2020/2021, undertaking action research around local food economies in Plymouth. This work led to an ongoing project with the South West Good Food Network, a group of four local food hubs, who are working together to bring on a wider variety of producers and consumers, operating as separate businesses, but sharing transport costs and using mutual credit to account for their trading.