P2P Money: would you also need a pooled payment system?

At BarCampBank, we have been thinking lately of what we call P2P Money. In fact this is more like a pooled payment system that would allow us to decide and manage common expenses for the group. Beyond our immediate need as a community, we also see that as an enabler for the different project we are incubating in peer-to-peer mode.

 In short, here is a list of requirements that could characterize such a system:

  • Have a place where pledges for money can be stored and easily committed
  • Have a way for the group to define different future expenses, voting for prioritization and approval.
  • Have a way to make direct payment to the vendor in case of a large payment
  • Alternatively, have a way to transfer cash to one of the participant to make the payment
  • Have a way to enter, track, approve past expenses incurred by different participants (above feature would then provide a reimbursement mechanism)
  • There are already things existing along these lines. This is certainly one of the driving ideas behind Fundable . Fundable already makes possible so called “group actions”. Iit misses some of the decision making and tracking (accounting) that I described above. But it is a v 1.0 of a Business 2.0 application. So stay tuned for what comes next there.

     It is interesting to devise for a while what a new system like P2P Money would make possible or what systems it could replace eventually.

    First, it would make possible monetary coordination in loosely organized groups. Association could collect funds from their members (or non members) for routine small projects. Budding project groups could start acquiring resources without having to trust one of the member to serve as a treasurer. Transnational social network could jointly invest to promote their goals (something standard banking system make next to impossible).

    Second, it could eventually entirely replace the banking system for certain of these groups. I can easily imagine any club using such a system for its entire accounting and expense system. True, usually you do not pledge money, but treasurers would cerainly feel happy not to bank all the checks and reimburse members that bought material with through similar paper hassle. 

     Finally, things have to be put in perspective to give the boundaries to a pooled payment sytem. Bill Gates can easily decide to allocate $1B to a project within a matter of days. That represents 1M people ready to collectively pool an average of $1000. That’s a lot… So, no need to say that a pooling payment system won’t be a significant player before a while. But it makes possible entirely new patterns. If we indeed find a large collection of problems that can only efficiently be solved through the wisdom of crowds, we definitely need P2P Money. So be prepared for a long journey, but the prospects seem quite exciting. What do you think?


    1 Response to “P2P Money: would you also need a pooled payment system?”

    1. 1 My bank money is too sticky! « Frederic Baud Trackback on April 10, 2008 at 10:47 am

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