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 Lancaster & Morecambe, UK
Local Loop Lancaster & Morecambe will be a business-to-business Clearing Club, powered by a multilateral obligation set-off algorithm (MTCS, provided by Informal Systems) that will clear local invoices, reducing demands on cash flow and boosting city-wide economic resilience. A future phase will introduce Trade Credit Clubs to multiply the impact:
Phase 1: Trial aimed at collecting data on local business activity and monitoring the viability of the 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 trading activity suitable for mutual credit, 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 Lancaster & Morecambe website.
Svensk Barter, Sweden
We are working with Coompanion SA, a Swedish co-operative development agency, to support students at Linköping University in building an app for a business-to-business network which was dissatisfied with its existing ‘business barter’ software. MCS is 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.
More details can be found on the Svensk Barter website.
Land Care Trade, Vermont
We are adapting the Svensk Barter app for the Land Care Co-operative, a group of small-scale farmers in Vermont working on watershed-scale land restoration.
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 High Street 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 redeem the voucher with any business member across the network. Vouchers are cleared between businesses using the Credit Commons Protocol, 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. More details can be found on the Shubh Vyapar website.
We are supporting a group in Berne to build a Clearing Club. BAERGeld approached MCS after reviewing the collaborative finance landscape, and decided that our team (and the overall Credit Commons approach) offered the best fit for their aims.
Brixton Mint, UK
Brixton Mint is a programme to support Brixton people in their confidence, capacity, and will to engage constructively with money. Practitioners, experts, and theorists meet and learn from Brixton communities around their relationship with and understanding of money, and their different approaches to financial resilience, savings, and empowerment. In the longer term, the intention is to develop an ecosystem of community-specific projects to strengthen and develop financial empowerment, possibly via a community-based implementation of mutual credit.
Brixton Mint’s first event, Money, Community & Me (delivered in partnership with the Credit Commons Society) took place in November 2022.
Stroud Housing Commons, UK
We are working with Dave Darby, founder of Lowimpact.org, to kickstart a pilot of MCS’ Commons Housing Society model. We are also co-designing further initiatives with the Stroud Commoners Club.
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.