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Frequently Asked Questions - General

What do you mean by "open?"

We mean an even playing field for all participants.

Our current economy is closed. Bankers and brokers manipulate trades, transactions and terms for their own benefit fairly invisibly. The average person has no access to the source code (rules, policies, processes) behind the scenes.

This power combined with a lack of transparency about what they do with it, is largely responsible for the current financial crisis. Securities, sub-prime mortgages, over-valued assets and portfolios are collapsing as the lies unravel.

The problem cannot be blamed on some greedy individuals or lazy regulators, it is structural. Until we change the underlying structure where the imbalance emerges, it will happen again and again.

Open Source Software does this by making a progam's source code available. Anybody can verify what's really happening behind the scenes or make modifications to it. This creates an even playing field where the original programmers can't hide functions which would give them undue control over your computer.

We are doing this by reclaiming the power to make currencies with visible rules, decentralized control and tamper-proof data to anyone who wants to use them.

Why do we need an open source economy?

As long as there are monopolies granted for money-making powers, we cannot have a free market or even a true democracy. The people who control the money supply can and do use that control for their benefit and use the resultant wealth to buy politicians and exert undue control over the government.

No amount of law-making or regulation can counteract the imbalance of the power that a monopoly has in a system which is as fundamentally closed, hidden, secretive and convoluted as our financial system.

If we ever want economic stability and sustainability then we need to build a new system which can be self-regulating.

Hasn’t this already been done?

No. Not to our knowledge.

There are some fundamental technology issues which has made this possible only in recent years. We're pretty certain that nobody has solved the same set of problems we're addressing.

There are certainly related solutions, and we're trying to learn from those and/or incorporate them into what what we're building.

The normal approach to technology is actually to build closed systems (even for open source projects). For example, Cyclos is an open source currency platform. But every installation of Cyclos is itself a closed system with a small group of people who control access, make rules, charge fees, etc. You can build your own independent installation, but you can't participate in their system as an open currency. There's no protocol for interacting across different currencies or installation. They can change rules without your knowledge. And you don't own your data, they do.

The core capacities for software to not need to be managed as a closed system is pretty new, but is necessary if we want to make an even playing field for all participants in an economy.

What about privacy in an "open" economy?

Open is not the same thing as Transparent.

In some currencies, the rules may require complete transparency. In others, there may be privacy (of participants, contents of transactions or whatever).

Think of it this way. There are card games where some cards are public and dealt face-up and some are private and dealt face-down. All the players can see that cards were dealt even if they can't see what the cards are.

Open Data allows all players to see a transaction took place, but the transaction can contain private encrypted data (similar a face-down card). The rules of the currency determine how much transparency there is.

A currency could have numbered accounts where the identity of the people transacting is private (like Swiss bank accounts), the amounts are private or what was transacted was private, but if it shares its data using our Open Data protocols, each transaction will be visible, but what parts of that transaction are readable without special keys is customizable.

Why don't you have more questions and answers on this page?

Because we need your help...

A question is not a FREQUENTLY asked question if it never gets asked. Please, feel free to ask us questions.

Also, we have answered a lot of questions that we believe people may have in our blog posts at on the New Currency Frontiers blog. We could really use your help translating some of that to a useful Q&A format for the FAQ. Please feel free to submit questions AS WELL AS ANSWERS to those questions if you feel you've been able to glean the answer from our blog posts, web site, videos or discussions.

Please chime in. This is the page visited most frequently (other than the home page) and we'd really like it to be useful to you.