From the ReSource team
Last year we witnessed the inevitable collapse of projects and institutions with shaky foundations. This trend is far from over. The technologically driven transformation of society is finding its stride and the corresponding turmoil associated with such a major restructuring is accelerating. Underneath the noisy surface, the industry dedicated to building the decentralized infrastructure and tools for building our new institutions is growing rapidly. There are more projects who are focused on real, long-term utility than ever before, and there is an immense amount of protocols and platforms to use that simply just work. For entrepreneurs and projects like ours dedicated to bringing these new systems to life, this moment is immensely fertile. The major hurdles facing the growth of this space is the ability to design for adoption, and it's not as simple as more on and off ramps. In short, there are huge opportunities for those who are building for people outside of the tech/finance world, described in more detail here.
As we end this year and look ahead, we want to share a recap of our progress and developments in 2022, and what’s ahead in 2023.
We onboarded hundreds of businesses in Asheville, Austin, and Chattanooga into our pilot network, issued ~$1.2 million ReSource dollars (RSD) in credit lines, and saw $500,000 RSD in transactions.
We tested our technology, learned first hand the challenges facing the global industry of existing trade networks, and developed hypotheses for how our protocol can address them. We re-architected the protocol in light of these learnings and will have detailed documentation released alongside our new website, aimed for release later this month.
We developed a scalable, long-term strategy of partnering with established trade networks and other partners to launch networks, which will be our primary focus in 2023. Thus we concluded our team’s investment in our own pilots.
We attended the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) annual conference and established a partnership with two of the leading barter and trade network players - VirtualBarter and LODEPay (more below).
We spent 10 weeks in Kenya doing market research in informal settlements, primarily for a network planned to launch in partnership with The Sanergy Collaborative next Spring. The Sanergy Collaborative has been solving the sanitation crisis in Kenya for the past decade with a unique circular economy approach, and now they are expanding their offerings across Africa. They have built an existing network of customers who have limited access to financial services. They are interested in increasing the value of their network by providing a mutual credit platform powered by the ReSource protocol.
- We made some major internal breakthroughs on our design of underwriting and risk management to support automation and thus scalability. We describe the new design in our documentation which we will pilot in the networks we launch this year.
What we're planning for 2023:
These are the projects that we have confirmed to start this year. Our team is working on the technical requirements and business/strategic preparations to get started in the Spring.
- Serving the $650 billion Reciprocal Trade industry: We partnered with VirtualBarter, one of the most widely used trade exchange and trade network management platforms and ecosystems, and LODEPay, a global decentralized payments protocol to facilitate seamless payments and commerce with digital, crypto, and trade currencies that can auto-convert to digitized silver, gold, or fiat. The goal of this partnership is to set an industry tech-standard for the global barter and mutual credit industry, based on the ReSource Stable Credit Protocol. The standard is intended to serve the 400 established networks served by VirtualBarter as well as future trade networks while scaling globally with the benefit of the LODEpay infrastructure. The collaboration will provide a ReSource-powered full-stack approach to running next-generation trade networks with means to manage credit risk, stabilize network currencies, absorb defaults, and allow for inter-network trade in a rules based, permissionless and predictable manner.
- Financing for the under/unbanked in Kenya: In partnership with The Sanergy Collaborative, we will pilot a mutual credit network in informal settlements of Nairobi. Waumini (believers in Kiswahili) will leverage a locally existing, informal IOU system and transform it into a standardized, well-managed liquidity engine. The project will offer the best existing franchisees of Sanergy’s Fresh Life initiative, to become “Ambassadors”, who will recruit members for Waumini and earn income for bringing on good members and fostering trades. Waumini’s future plans are to provide a platform for other social enterprises to reward their customers for their prosocial behaviors by giving them access to fair credit and opportunity for additional earnings that is powered by the ReSource protocol.
- Mutual Credit + Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) as a package for kickstarting an economy: We are planning a pilot with impactMarket in Uganda for the 3rd quarter of 2023, providing mutual credit lines to one of their existing communities of ~500 women entrepreneurs who have already been receiving UBI and are eager to learn what other opportunities web3 can bring to them when it comes to accessible and inclusive financial tools. This partnership is exciting for both of us as it could be deployed with other existing impactMarket networks around the globe. Its success would provide a model that uses UBI as a first incentive for someone to onboard into a network which can then be sustained and grown through access to credit (mutual and/or traditional).
- Collaborative financing for the underemployed in South Africa: Our partner SA Harvest has been addressing the hunger crisis in two main ways. Firstly with their charity model whereby they rescue excess, nutritional food - that would have gone to waste - from the food chain, including modern agricultural industries, and redirect it for free to those who need it most. Secondly, in conjunction with their charity model, through the SA Harvest Entrepreneurial Incubator, beneficiaries are helped to become food sovereign via in-site entrepreneurial training and support. They are interested in mutual credit as a tool for civic society organizations to create jobs and become more sustainable themselves as organizations. Our pilot will center on a collaborative effort to create added-value products, such as a product from a farm. The network will pay laborers in credits that can then be spent back with the farms or on other offerings from the partner organizations and donors, providing access to resources, jobs, credit, and strengthening community ties.
What else? We have capacity for exploring 1-2 more partnerships for 2023 - please get in touch with us if you have any ideas. We are only able to support partners with established networks at this moment in time.
Mutual credit and local currencies have not yet been widely adopted, but we and others think that the innovations with decentralized ledgers and the general financial revolution underway is going to change that. We plan to spend 2023 demonstrating the viability of the protocol in a variety of contexts, and generating learnings that provide a foundation for them to grow. In addition to understanding how mutual credit can unlock more value for businesses around the world, we have chosen these pilots because they enable us to explore the different dimensions of what’s possible with the protocol and ultimately what can demonstrate pathways to scale for the industry.
We are excited to collaborate and build alongside the other projects who are growing this ecosystem alongside us, including Grassroots Economics, Credit Commons, Informal Systems, and many more. We look forward to partnering with real world trade networks who already have decades of relationships with small businesses all over the world, and to expand into partnerships outside the typical domains of the crypto and trade network ecosystem.
In 2024 our team will prioritize the infrastructure and tools needed for any community to start and grow their own networks. We will also start to focus on partners in the traditional institutional space who are looking to adapt their operations to the changing financial reality.
We wish for you and us that 2023 will be a year of progress on the frontlines of decentralization and increasing access to economic opportunities.