• Alternative Currency Software

last modified April 4, 2018 by strypey

Back to Perma-geeks

The initial research for this page was done by Strypey and Banjo in early 2012, during discussions about setting up a server to host exchange websites for Timebanks in Aotearoa, to allow members of a Timebank to find other people to trade with, and record transactions. As well as software designed specifically for TimeBanks, we also included packages designed for use with LETS (sometimes called "Green Dollar" systems). Except where otherwise indicated, these packages are free code software, under various licenses (mainly GNU GPL). I strongly recommend these projects consider a move to GNU AGPLv3 , to free access to the source code of any web service using their software.

This page was last update in July, 2016, with information added from the (fairly outdated) list of exchange software in active use at ComplementaryCurrency.org, and the P2P Foundation page on Complementary Currency Software.

 

Free Code Web-based Server/Client Approaches to Online Book-keeping for Timebanks/ LETS

  • cclite (Hugh Barnard) - Language: Perl. Database: MySQL. License: GPLv2. There is an Android app in development.


Proprietary Web-based Server/Client Approaches to Online Book-keeping for Timebanks/ LETS

  • Community Weaver 3.0 (Market Acumen/ TimeBanks USA): while Community Weaver 2.0 was a free code stack, and it appears that CW 3.0 has been built on much of the same technology, as of May 2016, no list of components or links to source code for CW 3.0 are available.
  • Cyclos (Social TRade Organisation) - Language: Java/JSP. Released under GNU GPL up to at least version 3.7.3. It's not clear whether 3x versions are still usable. According to Wikipedia, version 4 was released under a proprietary license. As of this writing the latest version is 4.6.1.  The license page confirms that there are gratis and paid versions available on their hosting.
  • Time and Talents (hOurworld) - recommended by Timebanking UK. Despite their references to "Open Innovation", emails with the main developer and sysadmin indicate they see being proprietary and centralized as features not failings, perhaps believing it gives them security by obscurity?
  • Community Exchange System (CES) - supports hundreds of community exchanges around the world, with the largest number concentrated in Australia, and allows for inter-exchange trading. Although source code is not yet available, due to the ad-hoc nature of the way the system grew, CES don't seem to be committed to a proprietary model in the way hOurworld and Market Acumen are, " In the long term we would like to move our tens of thousands of users onto distributed pluggable, open source social network like Synereo or Fermat, but we nothing is even nearly ready yet." As of May, 2016, they are working with CommunityExchange towards a libre web service that could allow communities on different hosting platforms to intertrade, in the same way communities on CES can.

 

Obsolete and Discontinued Platforms

Although these projects no longer appear to be supported, it may be worth trying to contact the former developers at some point, to see what experiences they can share, whether they are still involved in community currencies, and whether they are interested in getting involved with one of the active projects listed above.

  • Community Weaver 2.0 (GeekGene/ TimeBanks USA):  includes a number of the Community Accounting modules, as well as two custom modules written for CW 2.0 by GeekGene. The engine of CommunityWeaver 2.0 is Drupal 6, which is has not been officially supported by the Drupal community, since 3 months after Drupal 8 was released. CW2 is sadly obsolete.
  • Hours (Axlroach/ CivicActions) - Drupal module: GPLv2. According to its page on Drupal Groups, this project got very little work done, and has been abandoned.
  • WebLETS (Terry Mackintosh) - Language: PHP. Database: PostgreSQL. License: GPL. Last release in 2009. Appears to be abandoned.
  • Rgbtrade (Rainbow Trading) - Language: PHP. Database: MySQL. License: GPL. Appears to have fallen over sometime in 2013.
  • PyLETS (Richard Kay) - Language: Python. License: GPLv3. This page hasn't been updated since 2010, and the project appears to be abandoned.
  • Local Exchange (Calvin Priest/ 4th Corner Exchange). No language or license info available. Never got past beta. Last release in 2005.
  • EasySwap (Swap'n'Roll) - License: AGPLv3. The archived snapshot of their RedMine development platform confirms it was an open source project. No info is available about language.
  • Open Source Currency (Tom Brown/ Austin Time Exchange) - Language: Ruby. Framework: Rails. License: AGPLv3. Demo site . According to its GITHub page, this hasn't been actively worked on since November, 2015, and it "isn't being maintained anymore" according to Matt Slater of CommunityForge.
  • Timebank (Wadobo) - Language: Python. Framework: Django. License: AGPLv3. Demo site. According to its GITHub page, this hasn't been actively worked on since April, 2015, and appears to be abandoned.
  • LETS-Software: License: GPLv3 or later ("Please note that there is no "stable" release at the moment of LETS-Software and it shouldn't be used in production as is."). According to the GITHub page as of July, 2016, this doesn't appear to have been worked on since May 2015.
  • Epoch - Language: Ruby. License: no information currently available, but full source code is on GITHub. Project seems to have been created to work with Heroku. According to the GITHub page as of July, 2016, this doesn't appear to have been worked on since May 2015.
  • 65Hours (probably defunct) - a global timebank site, not based in any specific place. No source code could be found. Integrates with Twitter and Google Maps. Although it supports standard functions like user profiles, searching for specific skills and requests, and paying time credits, there's no way to find users in by geographical area, see user profiles, or see credit balances. This seems like an experiment by an enthusiastic web developer with minimal understanding of the community-based nature of local currencies. The 'Save Changes' function on the profile editor doesn't seem to work, and the Twitter account hasn't been used since 2004. The graphic design is uncluttered and welcoming.
  • Time Exchange (defunct) - originally set up at time-exchange.org.nz by Richard Brown, in Aotearoa. Like 65Hours, it was intended as a meta-timebank server, designed to require no committees or $NZ. As of July 2013 it was no longer available. Sadly, no archived versions of this site can be found.
  • AskShareGive - an Aotearoa-based platform that allows users to share favours and unwanted goods. Like a cross between a timebank and FreeCycle, with a user feedback system inspired by auction platform TradeMe. Closed down in (?) and recommended users join FreeForAll.


Other Sites Providing Platforms for Community Exchange

  • FreeCycle.org - provides a web-based directory of Offers and Requests, usually used in combination with an email list. There is a separate page for each actively maintained local group.
  • FreeForAll - similar concept to FreeCycle, but focused on people located in Aotearoa (NZ), and only allows offers of items, not requests.

 

Architecture of Exchange Software

This diagram from Drupal Groups shows one way of breaking up a timebank server into functions:

timebank-exchange-diagram.png


 

Open Protocols/ P2P Approaches to Online Bookkeeping for Timebanks/ LETS

  • OpenTransact (Stake Ventures Inc) - License: "MIT" 
  • The Sharings plug-in for GNU Social may be usable for timebank/ LETS transactions, or forked to create a plug-in that can
  • GoodGoodWonderful was a project proposed around 2013 to replace CommunityWeaver for timebanks in Aotearoa, with a particular focus on attracting, user-friend graphic design. As of early 2018, it's still in hibernation, but...