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My Name Is Legion, Limited

Peer To Peer Banking
  (+24, -4)(+24, -4)(+24, -4)
(+24, -4)
  [vote for,

With the advent of eBay and PayPal, people are already taking advantage of the Internet to enter into transactions that used to require the participation of "broker" institutions.

At the same time, the banking industry continues to profit from built in inefficiencies, taking more than a week to clear a check, charging very high credit card fees while paying out low interest, etc.

In the proposed peer-driven system, money is never actually aggregated into a single "bank", and people continue to hold their assets in the current banking system, be it PayPal or Citibank.

But when borrowing money, a member's credit info and requested amount are sent out (e.g. credit rating 900, looking for $250,000 as a 30 year mortgage loan or credit rating 600, looking for $10,000 to retire credit card debt).

Other members can review requests and approve them to participate, perhaps bid on rates, or set up automatic participation based on predefined parameters. Interest payments are then payed to their accounts.

theircompetitor, Jan 12 2005

Euroclear http://www.euroclea...agr/106/_pa.106/113
Eurpoean finance attempting something similar for Euro-Zone securities [zen_tom, Jan 12 2005]

CLS http://www.cls-grou...4514CEC&crumb=about
Like Euroclear, but for foreign exchange transactions [zen_tom, Jan 12 2005]

Wired article about Zopa p2p banking http://www.wired.co...tml?tw=wn_tophead_7
[xaviergisz, Mar 29 2005]

prosper.com: US version of zopa http://www.prosper....elcome/default.aspx
1% fee, + 0.25% for non-electronic transfers. [jutta, Mar 20 2006]

slashdot article on 'Can Peer-To-Peer Finance Work?' http://slashdot.org...05/16/2013205.shtml
[xaviergisz, May 17 2006]

Ripple Project http://ripple.sourceforge.net/
"Ripple is a monetary system based on trust that already exists between people in real-world social networks." Now beta testing ... [bellorie, May 23 2006]

Zopa http://uk.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/
more info about Zopa from the actual scheme [xenzag, Jan 17 2009]

German version http://www.smava.de/
Pretty much the above idea, but there is still a bank somewhere [loonquawl, Jan 20 2009]

Article re: Kiva.org http://www.techcrun...nches-api-platform/
Kiva.org is a non-profit that lets you lend peer to peer to people in the developing world. Key here is that they now have an API you can use to develop similar sites [theircompetitor, Feb 04 2009]


       If you could formulate a distributed system where part-fills of finance requests can be spread across a group of people, that would be fantastic. A fully no-broker instant financial market could deal with all manner of requests - Someone central body would have to exist to bookeep and maintain proper financial records. [+] and what's more, I can see this actually happening too.
zen_tom, Jan 12 2005

       Isn't this how Al Qaeda is supposed to move its money about?
DrCurry, Jan 12 2005

       Laundering concerns do exist here, but I think this can be set up pretty transparently to the government, certainly better documented then wiretransfers, for instance
theircompetitor, Jan 12 2005

       Can i fish from the peer or not? I don't really understand all this stuff.
macncheesy, Jan 12 2005

       you can fish so long as you don't bone
theircompetitor, Jan 12 2005

       Croissant for you! But I take it away the moment anybody makes a bundle of money of this.
zeno, Jan 12 2005

       The tricky part would be managing the confirmation of intent to form a bargain/trade/agreement and then performing on-time settlement. It is an ambitious idea - one that international banking has had some difficulty perfecting (see Euroclear and CLS for examples) but still strives towards - I'd love to see this viable as a personal option.   

       [edit] Both CLS and Euroclear are centralised - which might look like something different to the idea - but the main service they provide is the means for external parties to settle their trades with one another - they don't exist as a bank as such. It's a tenuous and subtle difference (since they both offer banking services of a kind as well) but I still think is relevant - even as an example of how the finance industry is approaching the problem.
zen_tom, Jan 12 2005

       Any business model can be hedged ... is that what this is about?
reensure, Jan 12 2005

       [zeno] - It seems to me that those of us with an overall positive balance would be making money out of those of us with a negative balance via a lending procedure. Just like now only without the banks getting their pound of flesh for being the middleman. Ambitious? Extremely. Good idea? Genius.
wagster, Jan 12 2005

       Isn't this basically a credit union?
RayfordSteele, Jan 12 2005

       Well I do think everyone should be able to invest in food producers vs. just spending money for it at the cash register. There is a program here to invest in organic farmers and the yield can be in food or money.
mensmaximus, Jan 12 2005

       [RayfordSteele] -- arguably in it's basic form, as eBay is basically Sotheby's :)   

       In other words, the Internet makes certain efficiencies possible.   

       Splitting the loan among multiple bidders, at potentially variant interest rates, though, does not seem to be an existing business model that's accessible to individuals.
theircompetitor, Jan 13 2005

       I think this is great, fine work [TC], be nice if there was a non-internet interface too, for those that actually need to borrow money (i.e. those without a hotline to the HB).
neilp, Jan 13 2005

       [neilp] deal, I'll provide a dial-in interface.
theircompetitor, Jan 13 2005

       I work for an investment bank...I can tell you from first hand experience that this idea is a no-no...
DaveW-H, Jan 13 2005

       [Dave] -- I spent 20 years on Wall St. I recall senior executives telling me online trading is a no-no.
theircompetitor, Jan 13 2005

       Having said that, there is a thing called remote trading....done on line...sort of.
DaveW-H, Jan 13 2005

       [Dave W-H] I think we're all aware it's a no-no, at least for the time being. Could you please tell us exactly why - you're probably better qualified than we are to explain the problems peer-to-peer banking would throw up.
wagster, Jan 13 2005

       [DaveW-H] Allow me to support you on that - if these transactions were truly peer to peer the damage caused to participants by acts of default (its irrelevant whether the act was intentional or not)would be severe. You'd need some kind of regulating mechanism standing in between the borrowers and lenders to spread the risk and protect the interests of both parties...some kind of financial intermediary service...like a BANK, or an INSURANCE COMPANY, or any of a thousand variations thereof.   

       Banks are beautiful. I love banks. I give silent praise every day that I live in a scoiety with a well regulated banking system that forms the foundation for a functioning economy and a functioniong democracy.   

       A world without banks would be a very, very, dysfunctional place.
ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 14 2005

       Well, yes, I second that.
DrCurry, Jan 14 2005

       Dave made a very funny joke
zeno, Jan 14 2005

       Sounds like napster to me... what we need is a spotty 17 year old to do it and raise two fingers to anyone who gets in the way.
madness, Jan 14 2005

       What's to stop you borrowing 10c off 100,000 people and running away with it?
wagster, Jan 14 2005

       I can't believe it, xavier, thanks for the link
theircompetitor, Mar 30 2005

       Even if this idea doesn't work in its raw form, I love the sentiment. I've worked (as a programmer) in both merchant and retail banks long enough to know that they're very conservative in their technological outlook (this largely suits them, after all), so a "this'll never fly" response is to be expected from that quarter.   

       I'm appalled that the banks have been permitted to take control of our basic exchange mechanisms and to profiteer shamelessly from this. Whatever happened to the idea that governments should be responsible for printing money, to provide a low cost, fair exchange mechanism for all? Of course, I want the advantages of electronic exchange, but not at the expense of handing control to these new robber barrons. This would best be achieved by having governments set up free or low cost accounts and electronic transacting systems, and assuming their traditional responsibilities in this area. If they won't, ideas like this will gain more prominence.
goldilox, Mar 30 2005

       //A world without banks would be a very, very, dysfunctional place//

And it isn't now?
DrBob, Mar 30 2005

       A world without banks would be a world of lower margins. The idea here -- which is apparently really going to be attempted by the Zopa entity mentioned in the Wired link -- is to provide liquidity directly to the people
theircompetitor, Mar 30 2005

       Zopa looks interesting but is, as Ray points out, really an internet version of a credit union.

To really put the squeeze on the banks you need to come up with some method for people to hold their own deposits (other than cash of course) independently of the banks. Sort of like an on-line safety deposit box, I guess, with it's own sort code.

Off hand I can't think of a way to achieve this without some form of third party intervention (whether it be a Zopa-like organisation, a government or even just an ISP).
DrBob, Mar 31 2005

       Interesting link, jutta, thanks. Fascinating, though, that all the rates are so high -- though the risk probably justifies it, that certainly wasn't my vision.
theircompetitor, Mar 21 2006

       Yeah, what scared me away for now was a brief scan of the lenders' message board - how on earth am I going to decide whose stories to believe? But I'll keep an eye on it.
jutta, Mar 21 2006

       I don' think the issue is about which set of regulatory requirements your chosen bank claims to adhere to; I think that it's more about the fact that you can't trust that bank to be sticking to the rules because proper regulation would be prohibitively expensive and that, in the end, the only person you can trust with your money is yourself.

The problem that that raises is quite fundamental because, in the end, money is merely a promisory note from a bank; albeit a state bank. Once faith in banks has been undermined, the whole basis of the economy is suddenly endangered and the economic model that our society is based on, i.e. a gargantuan pyramid scheme, looks rather fragile & precarious.
DrBob, Feb 04 2009

       [+]. And cut out interest, both charged and earned.   

       "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." [Luke 6:35]
vincevincevince, Feb 06 2009


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