The ability for members of one TimeBank to trade services directly with a member of another TimeBank is desired by some in the TimeBanking community.
The technical challenges of intertrading are the different software platforms and different service descriptions (taxonomy) in use between TimeBanks, including TimeBanks using the same S/W platform. For example, Community Weaver (TimeBanks USA) and Time & Talents (hOurworld) are based on different S/W, different database structures, and use different service category naming conventions.
The currency challenges involve the rules for determining “time” and whether or not that currency is considered to be taxable by government entities. Is one hour of time equivalent to one hour of time across all participating TimeBanks? Some LETS systems utilize bartering to determine “time”. Bartering is considered as taxable in the USA and LETS may be considered as “taxable entities”. Taxable entities can be required to report certain transaction details to the government for tax collecting purposes. This may pose a tax risk for TimeBanks who operate as tax exempt entities, should the government decide to audit them because they were reported being involved in a taxable transaction by another TimeBank or LETS intertrading participant.
The TimeBanking community has created a collaborative team of volunteer TimeBankers and developers to try to address intertrading, amongst several other TimeBanking objectives and initiatives. The main group is known as KAN (Knit A Network) and the sub group pursuing intertrading is Exchange Software Tech Deep Dive Work Group. This team is looking to create, or at least agree on, an API for intertrading transactions. The group is presently in the stage of defining specifications for intertrading. A rough draft diagram is attached for review. An example of a more complete specification was recently published by the International Journal of Community Currency Research and can be found here: http://ijccr.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/ijccr-2013-huber-martignoni.pdf This description gives a good overview of what the team is thinking about, although the S/W details may not provide proper solutions or proper integration with the larger set of TimeBanking S/W platforms.
Additional discussions, proposed specifications, and solutions can be found at the following sources:
Use cases and use stories for TimeBank intertrading have been roughed out to give further definition to the requirements. Drupal professionals who may wish to follow this effort more closely can view KAN team meeting notes here: https://hackpad.com/Worksheet-for-Exchange-Software-kUjzUzcW7Jn#Workshee...
Community Weaver is currently based on D6 and will likely be moving to D7 or D8 in the not too distant future. Whatever intertrading mechanism is adopted would have to be able to easily deal with diverse S/W platform changes as their underlying technologies evolve and improve over time. The Intertrading solution will also need to provide support for mobile devices. Many TimeBank members desire more TimeBanking functionality at their finger tips while out and on the go.
Are their other Drupalers out there working on, or wanting to work on, a TimeBanking project such as this that goes beyond connecting only Drupal based systems? If so, please let us know here and we can explore getting your ideas and/or projects involved with the KAN team of volunteers.
Community Weaver Site Admin
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