The Credit Commons is a parallel money and banking system that combines private enterprise and philanthropic initiative. It is designed to make the existing money and banking system more efficient, equitable and empowering. This is a very big idea and it might seem audacious, but it’s already happening. The building blocks of this system already exist. This Credit Commons connects the dots between the thousands of privately created forms of money and money substitutes that already flow through commerce: points, rewards, airline miles, virtual currencies, gift cards, Facebook Credits. The challenge is to create a platform enables these diverse money forms to interact by integrating the systems that support them.
The Credit Commons is structured so as to constitute both a compelling business enterprise and social initiative. The Credit Commons is the central agency in a new private money ecosystem consisting of “certified” social banks formed as adjuncts to existing institutions with a store of legitimacy. The Credit Commons will to create sustainable sources of capital for businesses, nonprofits, foundations, universities and government agencies. Social banks issue new money as gifts, bonuses, rewards, grants, investments and loans, all designed to stimulate commerce, create jobs and help make the world a better place. This parallel money system will open up the money creation process. It will be entirely digital, democratic and decentralized. Consumers will use these privately branded currencies (ie social dollars, iBucks, Cardinal Cash) with the same ease of old money with all transactions integrated into conventional banking, credit card and mobile payment channels. The platform utilizes social networks to scale and open software that encourage developers to create imaginative applications that address pressing economic, social, educational and environmental challenges.