Trustlines Network – Mobile Payments For People Powered Money?
The Trustlines Network is a permissionless mobile payments platform “based on people powered money”. Find out how it works today in our review.
What is the Trustlines Network?
The Trustlines Network is a network where every user acts as a bank by granting credit lines to friends they trust. This allows the network to issue “people powered money” between friends while facilitating secure payments between strangers. Basically, you can send payments along a chain of trusted friends, which eventually allows a stranger to receive your money after it passes through a chain of trust levels.
Overall, the Trustlines Network promises to “rethink money”. Most of today’s money is created by commercial banks when they issue loans. The core service a bank provides is to keep a verified record of credit relationships. Using blockchain technology, the Trustlines Network can replicate a commercial bank’s verification system in a reliable way.
Ultimately, the Trustlines Network could change the way communities around the world access credit:
“As blockchain technology is particularly good at accounting, it provides an opportunity for communities and enterprises to exchange goods and services in people powered money based on mutual-credit.”
The Trustlines Network was introduced through a presentation at EDCON 2017. The platform is an iteration of the original Ripple idea, but built on Ethereum.
What Problems Does the Trustlines Network Seek to Solve?
The Trustlines Network recognizes the enormous potential for cryptocurrencies, but states that there are some big problems in the way. By getting rid of those problems, cryptocurrencies can become a truly daily-use, fair, transparent, and peer-to-peer system.
Today, cryptocurrencies come with a poor user experience for a new user. Users need to follow a string of steps to create their account, wire traditional (fiat) money from a bank account to the exchange, buy the cryptocurrencies they wish to buy, endure their volatility, and then use them to make payments.
Overall, this makes today’s cryptocurrencies “feel more like prepaid vouchers than the kind of money we are used to.” There’s also the problem that users need to use centralized payment service to access decentralized payment platforms. These problems can severely hamper the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.
These are the problems that the Trustlines Network seeks to solve.
How Does the Trustlines Network Work?
The Trustlines Network is based on the original idea behind Ripple. Ripple was based on the idea that money can be denominated in real-world fiat currencies while existing as IOUs between friends that have entered a bilateral credit-line agreement. Payments between non-trusting strangers on the network are facilitated using “rippling” balance updates through a network of trustlines – like a chain of friends of friends – until the payment reaches the receiver.
This is a complementary currency system. Money is decentrally issued by users based on the credit given by trusted friends.
The Trustlines Network goes into more detail about their technology in a YouTube video seen here:
What is People Powered Money?
The Trustlines Network calls its credit issuance system “People Powered Money”. It’s a solution to the permissioned, volatility-plagued reality of today’s cryptocurrencies.
Here are some of the key features of People Powered Money, and how the Trustlines Network plans to implement it:
- A protocol for IOU-based payments, implemented as a set of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain
- An open platform to host complementary currencies based on this protocol
- A mobile client reference implementation
How to Start Using the Trustlines Network
The Trustlines Network is designed with the goal of making it easy for anyone to join the system. It was built with a low barrier to entry “compared to any payment app that has ever existed”. Here’s how you can start using the Trustlines Network:
Step 1) Download the mobile app
Step 2) Join the system by creating a trustline with a friend who is already part of the network
Step 3) Start sending and receiving payments
The Trustlines Network does not require you to register, display your ID, link to a bank account, deposit via credit card, or perform any of the other verification procedures we’ve seen with other platforms. You don’t need to have ETH or deposit any type of money.
All you need is one smartphone and one friend who trusts you.
Potential Uses for the Trustlines Network
Some of the potential uses for the Trustlines Network include:
Permisionless Mobile Payments
This is the main application for the Trustlines Network platform. These mobile payments are denominated in traditional fiat, unit, or time-based currencies. This payment service will be particularly useful to the unbanked – people who don’t have ID, cash, or a bank account. If these people have a phone, internet connection, and a friend, they can access the permissionless mobile payments platform.
The Trustlines Network supports cross-currency payments by users automatically accepting the best achievable conversion rate offered from other users. This makes it easy to send and receive payments worldwide with no cost or settlement time.
P2P Crypto Exchange
Sellers and buyers can securely trade cryptocurrencies for fiat money or credit without having to know or meet each other.
Custom Complementary Currencies
Communities, organizations, or businesses can create their own interoperable complementary currencies. Communities that pursue a local circular economy, for example, can disable interest or global interoperability. Or, business networks could customize access criteria to conform with regulatory requirements.
Loans & Saving
Unbanked individuals have no access to bank accounts. The Trustlines Network aims to address their needs by making it easy to access loans and savings. Credit lines are a core feature of the Trustlines Network, and they allow users to lend money using smart contracts to encode specific terms (like an interest rate). By taking the opposite side of a loan, you can use the Trustlines Network as a savings mechanism.
Third Party Applications
The Trustlines Network is an open platform extendable by smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Third party developers can build on top of new or existing currency networks.
Trustlines Network Conclusion
The Trustlines Network is still in active development. The project does not yet have a whitepaper. However, the ambitious project promises to replicate the original Ripple idea on the Ethereum blockchain. Benefits include better widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies and easier access for individuals in developing parts of the world – including those who can’t access traditional banking systems.
Stay tuned for more information about the Trustlines Network as it continues to grow. Or, visit Trustlines.network for updated information.