Matthew Slater

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* Community currency engineer, a.k.a. matslats

Personal web site


Born 1972, Birmingham, UK. Teenage years in Cornwall. After my theology degree I allowed myself to be confused, depressed, married, experimenting with drugs; I failed teacher training, read lots of literature and travelled extensively. Towards the end of that decade I started computing, specifically Macromedia Director and made a meagre living from my bedroom making online arcade games.

I turned 30 during a year in India and set out to use my computing skills to leave the world better than I found it. Taking career advice I consciously decided to become an expert in something, but what? Learning PHP I volunteered then worked for Shelter Centre for 3 years during which time it relocated from Cambridge to Geneva. Around the time of the Failure of Bear Stearns in 2008 I set out on my own as a community currency engineer providing 'lifeboat platforms', became nomadic and lived 'in the gift' to save money. Met everyone in that field, attended many conferences, tried many ecovillages.

In 2018 I accepted that the western civilisation (i.e. pretty much everybody) was vanishingly unlikely to evade a catastrophic collapse caused by climate change, energy depletion and mass extinction at the same time. Around that time I settled down with a partner, moving to South Italy where I now reside, combining my previous work talking about and implementing small scale monetary systems with new goals of living more resiliently and closer to nature.


In 2003 I developed a php application for my local LETS, but without sufficient engagement on their part and it was never deployed. I took it to LETS link UK where, despite much more work being done on it, it was never deployed. But in Shelter Centre I discovered Content Management Systems (specifically Drupal) and realised that this was a great approach for building highly configurable web sites which diverse community currency groups could manage themselves, while I provided a distribution which included an accounting module. So Community Forge was founded with the Chairman of the Geneva LETS, Tim Jenkin. That org continues to this day hosting my Hamlets Drupal distribution for free for 2-300 mostly francophone groups.

In Geneva I also met and started collaborating with Jem Bendell, creator of Deep Adapation.

Sybille Saint Girons and I developed the trading floor game, a fun 2 hour workshop session to help participants think about the nature of money as a medium of exchange and the effects of monetary policy on the marketplace and the soul.

Always looking for new possible use-cases, I spent time in the Global Ecovillage Network helping with their website for a while and surveying Ecovillage Economics. I didn't find a context for a new accounting system either within or between the larger ecovillages.

In 2014 I modified Hamlets to build a timebanking platform for New South Wales. This was defunded after 5 years and redeployed for the government of Queensland.

In 2016 Bendell and I created the Money & Society MOOC, a Masters level course in 4 lessons running on a custom-built Drupal platform on which students marked each other's work. We ran it about 7 times and about 500 people completed the course. The narrated slideshows have been moved to my site. I still send an occasional newsletter to alumni.

Interoperability between local currencies had become my main focus. With Tim Jenkin, creator of Community Exchange Systems I authored the Credit Commons White Paper and considered it might make a fundable blockchain application. But it didn't.

In 2018 Dave Darby founder of LowImpact got in touch soon I introduced him to Dil Green and Oliver Sylvester Bradley who began a productive partnership which continues to evolve. Dave is now top advocate for Credit Commons. With Dil's encouragement, during COVID I defined the Credit Commons Protocol, and built a reference implementation. Dil, under the guise of Mutual Credit Services has deployed it twice, while I am also now advocating for the other side of his work, Multilateral Offset Clearing.

Oli changed focus towards Murmurations meta-protocol, a way of indexing and finding structured content from many different sources. I designed the community currency profile and implemented it for all Community Forge sites, and the offers & wants profile which will be used more as Cforge sites upgrade from Drupal 7.

Around 2021 I started attending conferences organised by CryptoCommons Association, who found my monetary discourse deeper than the crypto discourse. In 2023 I was invited to organise my own conference. With sponsorship from blockchain outfit Informal Systems, the #CoFi (Collaborative Finance) conference was a great success.

In 2023 I recorded my first professional audiobook, Breaking Together by Jem Bendell. Other audiobooks

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