Trustlines Networks

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= “trustlines networks,” a new way of representing how much we are willing to respect our friends’ obligations".


Henrik Suikkanen:

"The main principle of a trustlines network is that it allows secure exchange between strangers, by sending payments along chain of trusting friends. The basic idea is a network of people who have a mutual trust on each other. Anyone can create a trustline with a friend, allowing them to borrow or pay any amount up to a specified credit limit, expressed in anything considered valuable. For example, one can create a trustline for $100, for 10 hours of work, or for 4 beers.

At this basic level there is nothing new. People have always trusted their friends, lending things and providing services. The new thing is in scaling this up.

With trustlines networks, two strangers can exchange different measures of value by taking advantage of the trustlines they have both created with a mutual friend. Let’s say that Alice and Bob do not know each other, but both of them know Nick. Nick has in turn created a trustline for 4 beers with both Alice and Bob. Now Alice can buy Bob a beer so that Bob owes one to Nick and Nick one to Alice, with the expectation of getting the beer eventually back.

As the network and different measures of value grow, Bob does not actually need to buy a beer for Nick. For example, it is possible that Bob changes his tyres instead, cancelling the original debt (and perhaps creating a new one.) Since all the people in the world is connected by just 4 degrees, trustlines scales up quickly in communities and cities.

It is no longer necessary to exchange everything with just money. Computers and digitalisation are particularly good at accounting, having made it technically viable to keep track and exchange values of multiple sorts. Measuring multiple kinds of value make it possible for us to appreciate and endorse actions which are not directly producing monetary value." (

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