Peer to Peer Exchanges
Peer to Peer Exchanges = The term can refer specically to Peer to Peer Lending, such as Zopa or Prosper, or more generally to different kind of exchanges that put people directly in touch with each other.
Typology of Exchanges
From a typology developed by Francois Rey:
- Buy/sell, e.g. classified listings of items on sale
- Gift, e.g. Freecycle
- Auction, e.g. eBay
- Barter, see Online Barter Markets such as Open Barter
- Sharing, e.g. car-pooling/rideshare, book lending and exchange, time-share accommodations, etc.
- Mutualization, e.g. mutual insurance Mutual Banking Clearinghouse?
- Group Purchasing, e.g. LetsBuyIt.com (a special case of mutualization)
Typology of Markets
From Ethan Miller:
The above tools could be seen, and mapped, against the following typology of non-monetary exchange types:
Householding economies — meeting basic needs with our own skills and work at home and on or with the land: raising children, offering advice or comfort, resolving relational conflicts, teaching basic life skills (such as how to talk!), cooking, sewing, cleaning the house, building the house, balancing the checkbook, fixing the car, gardening, farming, raising animals. Many types of work that have often been rendered invisible or devalued by patriarchy as "women’s work."
Barter economies — trading services with our friends or neighbors, swapping one useful thing for another: "Returning a favor", exchanging plants or seeds, time-based local currencies.
Collective economies — in their simple form these economies are about pooling our resources together (sharing): bringing food to a potluck supper, carpooling, lending and borrowing, consumer co-ops; in their most "radical" form, collective economies are based on common ownership and/or control of resources: collective communities, health care collectives, community land trusts, and more.
Scavenging Economies — living on the abundance of Earth’s own gift economy: hunting, fishing, and foraging. Also living on the abundance of human wastefulness— "one person’s trash is another one’s treasure": salvaging from demolition sites, using old car parts, dumpster diving, the "swap-shop" at the local dump.
Gift economies — giving some of our resources to other people and to our communities: volunteer fire companies, community food banks, giving rides to hitch-hikers, having neighbors over for dinner.
Worker-controlled economies — workers deciding the terms and conditions of their own work: self-employment, family farms, worker-owned companies and cooperatives.
"Pirate" economies — various activities that might be labeled "theft" by those in power, but would be called "rightful re-appropriation" by those who have been robbed of power: re-incarnations of Robin Hood or Pretty Boy Floyd, squatters.
Subsistence market economies — thousands of very small businesses survive (and sometimes thrive) with little or no imperative to grow and accumulate wealth. These are subsistence-based businesses, created and run for the purpose of providing healthy livelihood to the owners (who are often the workers) and providing a basic service to the larger community (sometimes in the indirect form of creating a community gathering space). (http://www.geo.coop/SolidarityEconomicsEthanMiller.htm)
The following refers specifically to P2P lending sites such as Zopa and Prosper.com:
"Such 'social lending' or 'peer to peer lending' sites "encourage borrowers to post personal accounts of their financial situations -- the kind of material that doesn't show up on a credit report, like the fact that you accumulated your debt going through school and are about to graduate into a good job -- and then allows individuals to act as lenders by putting small sums together in a syndicate to make the loan. So if you want $5,000, you might get it from 50 people who share your interest over three years. Interest rates are also determined between lenders and borrowers, and are much lower than the predatory high-risk rates charged by credit cards and payday loan centers (which can charge a whopping 521 percent API). Lenders are encouraged to diversify their loans, spreading out their investment in $50-or-up chunks that are spread among borrowers with different risk profiles." (http://www.boingboing.net/2006/05/21/how_p2p_lending_is_c.html)
Zopa (Zone of Possible Agreement): the new company is an amalgam of a number of business philosophies. It is where eBay meets credit unions by way of easyJet, the peer-to-peer movement and Betfair. You can lend up to £25,000 through Zopa and your money is divided among 50 borrowers (who have already been screened to ensure they have good credit ratings) to minimise risks of default. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/economicdispatch/story/0,12498,1435623,00.html}
Zopa is at http://www.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/.
The new kid on the block, in the U.S. is Prosper.com. There is an interesting discussion on Omydhyar Net about the potential for charitable giving of Prosper-based lending groups, as well as of the market-driven practices, at http://www.omidyar.net/group/foodchain/news/124/
Amongst the types of exchanges are
See the individual entries on
- BarterBee, music and movies
- Bookcrossings, book exchange
- Lala, CD exchange
- SwapTree, Books, CD's, DVD's
A successful German lending and borrowing experiment, dieborger.de, at http://theage.com.au/articles/2005/03/17/1110913726676.html?oneclick=true
Other peer-based exchanges, are described here at http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66800,00.html
The development of 'gifting technologies' is described here at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_12/mcgee/index.html
See also our pages on P2P Exchange Infrastructure Projects