Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Transaction Economy Ireland

ImageDemocratic Charters for Social Economics lead to Debt Free Ireland.
On 30th June 2009 when the international credit crunch hit Ireland, the Irish Nation saw their entire economy collapse with an unworkable National Debt of €65bn. Three years later the total has doubled to €131.7bn and continues to increase at €100,000 every three minutes. The average income in Ireland is around €22,000 (CSO-2010) whilst the National Debt per person is €27,000 (2012). If every Irish worker gave up a quarter of their income every year for the next 5 years, the debt could still not be paid. Austerity, referenda, IMF advice, EU financial guidance and decisions by the Dáil Éireann will now keep Ireland in debt for the foreseeable future whilst propagating the very financial monetary system that caused the global economic crisis in the first place.

ImageAlternatively, Ireland’s national debt could be parked in a similar fashion to Argentina in 2001. In a radical shift in economic policy President Adolfo Rodriguez stated that the Argentine people would take priority over national debt payments by introducing a parallel currency alongside the peso to create liquidity. In the same way, the Irish government could rethink economic policy at a government level but instead of creating an alternative currency, create a new economy network for transacting. Ireland could then retain the trading currency of Europe, whilst rejecting EU debt treaties, stopping the socialisation of debt through long-term austerity measures imposed on it's people.

The technology now exists to create a transaction network economy from a peer-to-peer [P2P] citizen architecture that can perform transactions through online accounts operating from online  mobile payment-processing platforms. This independent solution would remove transaction costs and allow money to flow freely throughout the population whilst offering layers for banking, savings and loans. By implementing an alternative infrastructure, expensive intermediary, financial service providers are circumnavigated to prevent extractive accounting mechanisms from draining resources away from communities; enabling a cycle of continuous reinvestment back into the economy, creating wealth, jobs and infrastructure.

The Irish state could guarantee this transaction network economy by government charters for an internetwork of citizen identity accounts. Charters have long been the traditional way for constitutional governments to authenticate new institutions, making them acceptable in the public realm. With the will to create a new social economic system, a government could begin to promulgate charters that guarantee a new participatory transaction network, designed upon digital identity for every citizen be the architect of their own life. From this citizen-centric approach a new transformational role for government could emerge as a guarantor of new forms of citizenship and finance. Economic change through social responsibility is far more affordable than the existing banking solutions, which have proven socially irresponsible, institutionally corrupt and negligent.

Image Despite the ‘Celtic Tiger’ economics unleashed by EU structural adjustment policies, Ireland now looks more like part of the marginalised periphery of failing European states caught in a tidal wave of debt. International debt adjustments treaties are primarily designed to serve their signatories. What citizens need are social economics based on localised solutions that serve the national interest. In Ireland this could be more easily achieved if government charters worked through an existing social network, such as the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The GAA has the trust to broker a new form of social economics because it is rooted in the cultural identity of every local community. This would allow the Irish government to move out of the current crisis using a transaction infrastructure based on an existing citizen network, for a more resilient economic future.

ImagePublished by Oliver Ashton & Fred Garnett
@oliverashton @fred Garnett


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Digital Identity Bank

Changing The Constitution One Transaction at a Time

ImageWe live in a representative democratic society that evolved from the rise of constitutional republics like France and America in the late 18th Century.  This resulted in the emergence of modern constitutions governing the legal behaviour of political leaders, supported by accounting frameworks for citizenship. Governments now manage taxation, legal process and border controls by issuing identity documentation, but as we spend more time online our real world identity overlaps our emerging digital identity and vice versa leading to governments becoming “digital by default” as citizen identity documentation is transformed into data. This process is useful for navigating the digital realm but it lacks democratic accountability, creating a shift in representation from government to private enterprise where information is easily shared without consent, enabling misrepresentation and fraud.

ImageIn response to these challenges the UK government attempted the digitisation of state processes with a National Identity Register, holding fifty categories of information on every British citizen, but this was scrapped in 2010 over human rights and security concerns. More recently at the 2011 e-G8 summit, President Sarkozy of France and Eric Schmidt of Google argued ‘who could best build the networked society’: big government or the corporations? Ben Hammersley, in his British Council lecture then argued ‘that we are moving to networked societies, but we do not yet know how to build them’. Meanwhile global online communities continue to evolve regardless, with over 900 million users signed up to Facebook actively transacting personal data from identity accounts designed to optimise corporate advertising revenues.

ImageCitizens, who nominally hand over their collective power to the state at election time, now need more control of how their identity is represented as both governments and corporations make decisions on our behalf; data protection law needs to be extended to the intellectual property rights of the digital self. Governments could begin translating passports, driving licenses and birth certificates into online citizen accounts that embrace human rights, by granting appropriate charters for citizens’ to represent themselves digitally. ‘True Identity’ accounts, a form of digital passport, could then provide a unique master key for authenticating digital  transactions with utilities, banks and social networks, without handing over data to second or third party providers.

ImageOnline citizen accounts, chartered by government for identity  creates opportunities for an alternative peer2peer economy network to emerge for transacting money, including layers of banking, savings and loans. A financial network without the expensive costs imposed by service providers, only using money issued by government, guaranteed by users through identity accounts. This would enable all currency to be invested back into the social environmental economy to create a robust utility focused solely on the needs of the community that it served. From these citizen-centric themes trust could evolve to transform hierarchical representative democracy into a participatory network society.

Written and Published by Oliver Ashton and Fred Garnett

@oliverashton – @fredgarnett

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Mobile Transaction Economy

Creating Economy Networks, One Transaction at a Time

Peerpay is a peer2peer mobile wallet facilitating NFC Text transactions. The product is free to download and free to use, offering pricing transparency, coupons, discounts, peer cash-back and  augmented reality [AR] search. Merchants can operate hyper local customer loyalty programs; text,  splash page and location marketing; plus group settings to reward customers  for shopping locally on the high street.  

Peerpay takes advantage of changes in consumer behavior in social networks, e-commerce and
online banking. This opportunity coupled with online mobile technology gives Peerpay room to slash debit credit card costs, by circumnavigating merchant card payment terminals; cutting direct to consumer charges, indirect hidden charges, out-dated land based banking infrastructure and expensive cash machines.  

Peerpay reengineers digital money to flow more freely between the population by giving the processing power back to the merchant, who in turn can pass the cost savings back to the consumer through the customer service model. Using money with out expensive intermediary service providers stops extraction and stimulates the local economy to fulfill a self generative wealth cycle to create an economy network one transaction at a time. 

Peerpay makes online transactions more relevant in the everyday by linking online with offline  through a mobile wallet solution. This creates an economy network that cuts costs, makes  faster payments and reengineers the distribution of profit. A repurposed digital transaction network that gives your money back to use your own way.  

Peerpay's vision comes with social responsibility and a belief that healthy economic growth comes from only working with money that exists, transacted through transparent accounting models. Peerpay aims to grow networks of the future now, to create a participation society based on true identity, trust and self governance.

If you have a question about Peerpay, or a product that you feel could be launched on the Peerpay network then please contact Oliver Ashton and Fred Garnet: 

oliver@oliverashton.com - fred.garnet@gmail.com 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Peer2Peer Banking Network

Building the Transaction Economy, One Transaction at a Time.  

Thundrbump is a peer2peer transaction network offering person2person loans, investments, shares and mortgages at social rates. Thundrbump meets a need to innovative a social economic response to out dated, extractive and expensive intermediary service providers by creating a sustainable economic future using only money that exists. A robust utility focused solely on the needs of the community that it serves.
We can visualise Thundrbump in terms of innovation waves created from social technology transformation. Companies that best capture this meme are WEB 1.0 Google [search], WEB2.0 Facebook [social], WEB 3.0 Thundbump [participation]. Thundrbump rides the next technology wave through online mobile accounts, to create an interconnected society on a P2P super highway. A revolution built upon a new transaction economy. 

Contact: oliver@oliverashton.com  Fred.garnett@gmail.com

Transition Transaction

Creating A Network Society. One Transaction at a Time. 


Having begun in Totnes, there are now 372 UK Transition "Towns" that share ideas, developing templates that can be used as frameworks for other towns to develop complementary, resilient local green economies with hyper local redevelopment. The term ‘transition’ is based on a belief that we need to prepare for a post-peak oil economy with an environmentally sustainable approach. The focus on ‘towns’ comes from the need for cultural change in social and economic behaviours from within an organisational population structure that can support transition through local community action. 

If we use product life-cycle analysis to look at the environmental impact of consumer goods on the planet, we find that the raw materials that create the products come from all over the world; that production has heavy energy costs, high water usage and the distribution network is environmentally unsustainable [airplanes, lorries, container ships]. Both the true economic cost and environmental impact of manufacturing are hidden by accounting systems that are askew with the global resources that are available.

It could also be argued that the existing international financial system is not fit for purpose. It is based on an accounting system devised by 14th Century, Italian money lenders to ‘extract’ wealth from local producers, to reinvest with merchants to explore the world and return with valuable goods for trade. Initially, this was extracting money from the poor to the rich parts of town, but in a modern global economy we move trillions in currency instantaneously away from home based economies which can be highly destructive. As we have seen, when an international financial crisis occurs, local wealth has all but been removed, reinvested in volatile markets or traded as 'credit default swops' [debts repackaged for investment].    

Transition Towns’ answer to “extractive” banking is a Local Exchange Trading System [LETS], which keeps wealth in the community using alternative currency for barter, such as the Lewes or the Totnes pound. However, the dominant mode of exchange outside LETS micro environments remains the original currency, which is still recorded as payments through extractive accounting systems in the hands of traditional banking infrastructure. LETS remains unconnected with the dominant currency used for trade, which suggests why it has not emerged as a transformative answer to the global economic down turn and the impending Euro Zone Crisis.

Ben Hammersley points out in ‘Toward an Internet of People’ (2011), that we live in networked times controlled by people who grew up in a hierarchical society. Banks are hierarchical private companies based on extractive models that cannot or will not change. The solution then exists in the online network society to create an independent financial framework, without changing societies social relationship with the currencies that exist. We can re-vision this new formula for transacting to include LETS, credit unions and cooperative solutions operating in networks of interconnected personalised Peer2Peer’  [P2P] accounts. 
The technology now exists to perform P2P transactions through online mobile devices operating from payment-processing platforms. This technology removes transaction costs all together, for money to flow freely throughout the population, circumnavigating expensive, intermediary service providers, giving processing power back to the merchant at the point of sale. This stops extractive accounting mechanism from draining resources away from the original communities, enabling a cycle of continuous reinvestment back into the economy or to be diverted into social charitable causes etc. 

Combined with a transformative, social, ecological mindset, P2P transaction networks emerge as robust utilities focused solely on the immediate needs of the community that they serve. Local merchants can compete with global brands through loyalty schemes that reward consumers with cost savings, to encourage economic growth in a self-generative sustainability model. Currency, raw materials,  products, merchants and consumers remain in a local vicinity which in turn rewards the local community with a more diverse economic ecosystem, a greener, more resilient economy. 
Wriiten by Oliver Ashton & Fred Garnett.

Creating technology platforms that re-engineer payment banking infrastructure. Seeking solutions to extractive  models for  environmental economic transformation. 

If you have a product that fits into our vision of the Transaction Network Society, please get in touch. We are looking for technology partners, investors and people to help us e-engineer the future now.

Contact: oliver@oliverashton.com - fred.garnett@gmail.com

Monday, 27 February 2012

Social Gaming Redefined

Social gaming is defined by games produced on a social networks but the creativity of this term was redefined by Quizchannel.com a project I wrestled into life with investor David Wainwright. This was a live interactive 2WayTV quiz game show set within a 360 interactive environment, using real time studio/audience participation, on Facebook. 

Between 2004 and 2008, the future of gaming was being be mapped out by social networks where anyone and anything could take an idea and drive it into the future using network super highways. Networks of e-commerce, networks of banking, networks for advertising. Quizchannel.com was about catching that wave and was designed to capture the imagination of millions of social users in an interactive environment. 
The intention was to create a multi-dimensional interactive social gaming product which could be signed into at any time; which was ‘sticky’ and which would fill a database with players from day one to become a cult online social viewing. This was an exciting proposition for me personally as it took everything I had learned in creating live online gambling and took it to another level and into social networks. Quizchannel.com was going to put a very positive spin on eGaming/iGming to create a product that  potentially had thousands of revenue applications using easy to make digital content and a lot to fun to boot.

The show started with eight games  built on an ‘open’ Flash platform, scalable to accommodate as many games as could be conceived. The game engine was set within a clock environment with two events. Firstly for one player to take maximum points per correct question with the first correct answer and secondly for the remaining players to scramble collectively for the remaining points. In this way we were able to create a presurised points environment where every player had the opportunity to win and complete whilst adding adrenalin to keep the gaming sticky, addictive and exciting.

The games were designed to cover every aspect of the soft gaming spectrum from Quiz to creative to skill to memory. This gave every player the opportunity to win at one game or another with out any one player taking all. The games were played through live chat  with word recognition for correct answers, in this way Quizchannel.com was able to remain socially during real time gaming. The fourth dimension was then delivered through direct participation between the audience and the presenter and vice versa using 2WayTV making this product not just social but very very social.

The Quizchannel.com team knew that they’d hit 'social gold'. Unfortunately the investors hadn’t hit ‘pay dirt’. As a traditional business model, Quizchannel.com didn’t add up because it needed millions of players to provide immediate returns OR regular investment until economies of scale plateaued. Just as the Quizchannl.com Facebook interface was completed, the initial game testing had been proven and the players had started to pour in to the data base so the project was scrapped in favor of traditional casino gaming models. Frustratingly, games such as Mafia Wars and Farmville were released on Facebook around the same time, with only a fraction of the interactivity,  have gone on the lead with 54 million users and ‘Zynga’ games now worth $5.4 billion. They still do not charge players for playing games.

In this way, the most exciting socially interactive gaming project of 'the naughties'   ended up in the big software bin in the sky, along with many other great digital start ups. So what’s next? It’s interactive, it’s social and it’s live. Welcome to the  four sided interactive ‘Cube Tube’ landscape of the future where anyone can be on TV and probably will be. The quality of the content will vary but if you’ve got a small, but reasonable budget and a web platform with something to sell then you will be required to offer something in return, other than your address.
Consider this: you have a website with daily traffic exceeding one million hits a day. You want your customer to stay longer and engage so that you can sell more advertising. What better way to do this than to have your very own live TV channel with a two way engagement interface that puts the customer at the center of an interactive content model. Into this format you throw your key influencers' to host channels and market your products. You have now created an online sales tool that offers meaningful interactive content, transparency,  and customer engagement. Now cross pollinate this model with facebook! Social  meets personalised interactive TV. Millions of social users creating unique personal content from bedrooms all over the world, assimilating youtube with Facebook.

The landscape of 2012 will be defined by social casino gaming, the 'Social Gold Rush' has begun based on  freemium business models like 'Zynga'. Free to Play or Pay for Points to Play where $1 = 100 games. This will lead into social gaming for Mobile led by Facebook with O2 and Twitter moving into wallet payment solutions and banking. The technology is catching up  with our desire to be interactive, in real time. with social. The desire to share information, to use cheaper, faster, better networks and to connect the everyday with our online lives in ever more practical innovative fun ways.

But this is just the beginning. If you have the inclination to create a network project from your garage then do it, because this is an open infinite virtual space where anyone to create and have fun. Remember that Facebook and Google are still badly behaved teenagers, youngsters in the big picture, born from maverick innovation concepts. The bigger and older they become the slower they will move and the more they will shun opportunities to change their ways. Evolution is guaranteed and it is constant. Better Faster Cheaper. Networks of Everything.

Katya and Adam switch brains.
RIP Quizchannel.com - You Shall Return.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

iPad Creativity Learning Tool

In researching under 5's, kids' iPad apps, I discovered a lack of creativity at the design stage; learning and creativity being separated by the creators' perception of what a child can learn. Under 5's apps were sometimes limited to simple mimicry, ignoring imagination or the creative process whilst other creative apps were made specific to drawing and coloring-in when they could have included numeracy and literacy to support education and learning.

I was really inspired when I taught my best friend's 4 year old daughter to draw using a simple hand to eye observation and coordination exercise. She picked this up so quickly that I showed her an abstract painting by Pollock with squiggles and lines. In a moment of inspiration she picked up all the colored pencils and at once started to recreate a copy. I realised that the creative technique that she had learned, one normally reserved for teenagers far beyond her age group, had changed her perception and excelled her learning ability.  

It seems to me that children learn through creativity because of their ability to mimic the world around them and that we could use creative techniques to aid the education process. In fact every child from a very early age, could theoretically learn complex creative processes to better understand and excel learning. Potentially, every child could have the opportunity to become an artist with the capability to learn more effectively through engaging with creative processes. I know from my own experience as a child with early learning difficulties, that it wasn't until I was taught using imagery that I really began to understand words, letters and numbers. 

I felt that the answer was to create an early learning app with a holistic approach to education with fewer assumptions about a child's capabilities by offering higher levels of imagination and creativity. iPad is perfect for this because it offers the possibility to create innovative and engaging interactive multi-sensory learning with gamification levels, which could foster learning independence and lead to higher levels of ability with perceived intelligence from an earlier age.
Stage1. pre determined learning [pedagogy]
Stage2. task and problem centered learning [andragogy]
Stage3. independent learning through creativity [heutagogy]

See: 'Facilitating the development of a content-based model for learning' - http://goo.gl/yt9mC