[hackerspaces] Fwd: [austin-hacker-space] Hackershare Time Exchange

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Oct 26 12:08:29 CEST 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brandon Wiley <brandon at blanu.net>
Date: Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:04 AM
Subject: [austin-hacker-space] Hackershare Time Exchange
To: austin-hacker-space at googlegroups.com

I was at the space last Friday and somehow Marshall and I got to talking
about complimentary currencies and the Austin Time
Exchange<http://www.austintimeexchange.org/>(ATEN). It's what is
sometimes called a community skillshare or timebank.
Basically it's a way to trade your time and skills for the time and skills
of other people in the community. The exchange gives people a place to post
services which are available or needed and it keeps track of time spent on
projects through a simple ledger. So if I help you out with something for an
hour, you can transfer to me "1 hour" as payment and now I have +1 and you
have -1. All transactions are public, which gives you a way to show off that
you're awesome and helpful. It's not really about accumulating hours since
the overall balance will always be zero. It's just a way to keep track of
your community give and take and it's a fun way to thank people for helping
you out.

Both ATEN and the Bay Area exchange (BACE) use a Rails app called
OpenSourceCurrency <http://opensourcecurrency.org/>. It has some cool
features like OpenID for login and the OpenTransact API so you can write
apps that talk to it. I have actually used this API in the past to make an
app that let's you withdraw hours from your account like at an ATM machine
and it prints QR code stamped dollars which you can trade offline. When you
scan the QR codes it deposits those hours in your account.

Well, OpenSourceCurrency runs on Heroku, so I went ahead and started an
instance for the hacker space called
The first purpose of this exchange is to help people find people to help
them on projects. You can fill out a profile with your skills, make requests
for help, post offers of assistance, and of course keep track of the hours
of help you give and receive.

The second purpose is to have another thing to hack on. All the source is on
github and it has open APIs. I had a bunch of ideas today for cool features
and I asked the lead developer Tom Brown about it and they're already
working on some of them. For instance, you can now start groups, which are
basically micro-currencies you can launch for a small group or single
project. This could be used by committees to keep track of how much time
people volunteer on committee projects, if anyone ever wanted to track such
a thing. I also had an idea about setting up a prepaid dollar-denominated
micropayment currency for consumables. I never have cash on me, but I like
to drink sodas when I'm at the space. I'd like to pay upfront to establish a
soda fund and then withdraw from the fund each time I drink a soda. That way
there will be minimal transaction fees and I don't have to remember to go to
the ATM and get change and all that hassle. Maybe there could be a QR code
on the fridge I could scan to debit my account. The same thing could go for
solder, etc.. So I when I think of ideas like that I sometimes try to
implement them on top of OpenSourceCurrency because 99% of the functionality
you want is the same for any currency such as ledgers, accounts, transaction
logs, etc..

It's up and running now at hackershare.heroku.com, so check it out if you
want. This is a totally unofficial, just-for-fun, but fully functional demo
we could use for stuff or not. I had a lot of fun setting it up. I only had
to type 4 lines, but that was kind of why it was so fun. Yay cloud!

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- Bryan
1 512 203 0507
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