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EDITED: Raiffeisen, Ripple, DIY banking and why 'Bitcoins don't stink' a Short Story Contest Entry

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Write a story Pete said, but how ThomasTheTGV thought… Posting the blog he previously published 'as is' didn’t cut it so I went back to the drawing board and came up with this, I hope you like it!

Almost a year ago on September 15th 2017 I posted a blogpost called: “Raiffeisen, Ripple, DIY banking and why 'Bitcoins don't stink'”. It was based on an article published in the 'de groene amsterdammer' and was called why Bitcoins don’t stink.

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an Amsterdammertje

I read it with great interest and although I don’t like Bitcoins very much it got me thinking about why I got interested in ‘ze Blockhain’ in the first place.

The writer of the article Victor Broers researches the fact that alternatives for 'money' are popping up every where. Also he states this is not something new and exactly there are examples that can be found back as far back as 1934 with the Swiss wir, a complementary coin which still functions today. Another example is sardex a unit of exchange which is successfully used on the Island of Sardinia. This was introduced in 2009 by a group of Arts and Humanities students lead Giuseppe Littera. Use case there is the fact that the Island was hit hard by credit crisis and banks stopped giving out loans. The system gave local businesses the possibility to invest and trade among each other, so you could say it made money personal again, because users are trading with each other directly.

The article goes on interviewing more people and exploring the pro's and con's of using cryptocurrencies, but it also takes me back to one of the reasons why I got interested in Ripple in the first place. My great granddad from my mothers-side was one of the founders of a local cooperative bank for farmers based on the Raiffeisen-system and the three 'S' formula: self-help, self-governance and self-responsibility. His bank later became a part of what is now the Rabobank.

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Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen

In my opinion the Rabobank and other banks really f-ed up because they no longer follow the three 'S' formula and instead of that put their commercial interests in front. They lost contact with their roots and are no longer one of the pillars of community, something I think a bank should be.

So late 2013 I was investigating for myself how banking could be reinvented with the wealth of technology that is available nowadays. It dawned on me that I was looking for a local, complementary money- and creditsystem just like my great granddad started over a century ago. Of course at first I looked at Bitcoin and I thought it would be able to provide a community with enough building blocks to create their own banking cooperation's again. But I saw that Bitcoin was/isn't flexible enough and it didn't provide me with a solution to make it complementary with the existing money- and creditsystems which are around. Also the fact that it was 'anonymous' isn't necessarily a plus because of trust-issues (it makes it difficult to the self-governance).

That's when I stumbled upon Ripple, it was late 2013, it ticked all the boxes to support a 'do it yourself'-banking system like my great granddad did with his community. There even where some LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) initiatives like villages.cc and you could create your own currency which could co-exist next to other digital or fiat currencies in the ledger! I started talking about Ripple with my friends and family and even organized a Ripple meetup in Nijmegen.

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Also I joined the XRPtalk a forum where I learned a lot about Ripple and experimented with different use cases with fellow forum members, but those are stories for another time. I was really excited and with my limited financial knowledge I thought it would be question of time before more fin-tech savvy people would start creating their own local 'banks' based on the ripple system/protocol. This exactly wasn't really the case and although there where some other interesting developments my interest in Ripple faded for a couple of years.

The price rise at the beginning of 2017, rekindled my interest. At first I had to learn to life with the fact that Ripple had focused more on banks and FI’s, although now I fully understand this point of view. It's a more 'if you can't beat them, complement them'-mentality, which hopefully makes it even easier to develop community driven financial solutions next or even into the existing banking landscape. How ever it turns out, I'm excited and anxious to see what the future will bring, because change is coming! 

 

Edited by ThomasTheTGV
Converted original blog to a 'short' story.

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