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CodeGlitch0

"Resource Tokens" for player item trading

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NOTE: I've posted this as a random comment on another posting, but I think it is worthy of it's own discussion...

 

From my early on in the DU, I plan to focus on building and selling useful (scripted) tool and transport constructs. To help with this, I am mulling over the idea of creating a small "Resource Token" construct (the size and shape of a coin) that players will be able to trade with me at any time for product.

 

For example, I might not have a lot of money available at game launch, so I would give out these "resource tokens" to other players instead of money for the resources they give me.  Later, once I have built items for sale, I would allow players to trade the resource tokens freely for finished products instead of game currency..  Essentially, it is an IOU.

 

Suddenly, my resource tokens have suddenly become an alternate form of currency that players can trade on the game Markets for game currency if they so desire.

 

Obviously, I realize that this would require the honor system on my part. But that is typical of any cottage industry, isn't it?

 

What do you all think of this idea?  Would you accept resource tokens in place of currency early on in game?

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You've obviously been doing some research on this. Let me tell you my honest opinion about this. 

 

It's an idea that we've seen time and time again, but it's tricky to see how well this would work out in the long term. We can't tell if a player would be willing to honor his end of the agreement and if that player will even be able to profit enough to do this. So, we have to break it down real quick.

 

You: The issuer of this currency and manager.

Person 1: A person who accepts this agreement and takes some of your currency after he trades you something.

 

When Person 1 gives you something, it would be reasonable for him to expect a repay or due date for his payment, items, etc. You would have to then repay him by that date, in order to honor his investment. If you didn't honor his investment, let's assume he asks for collateral so that he has something to take back if need be. Now, there is a lot of trust here and it can easily be abused, unless, you are a extremely trusted individual. In that case, the collateral might be able to be taken out of the equation(which is unlikely.)

 

Is this a usable idea? Yes! However, using it early in the game is probably not going to work for anyone in the end. Sorry.

 

Well, those are my thoughts as I have had the idea before, but by all means, give it a go!

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You've obviously been doing some research on this. Let me tell you my honest opinion about this. 

 

It's an idea that we've seen time and time again, but it's tricky to see how well this would work out in the long term. We can't tell if a player would be willing to honor his end of the agreement and if that player will even be able to profit enough to do this. So, we have to break it down real quick.

 

You: The issuer of this currency and manager.

Person 1: A person who accepts this agreement and takes some of your currency after he trades you something.

 

When Person 1 gives you something, it would be reasonable for him to expect a repay or due date for his payment, items, etc. You would have to then repay him by that date, in order to honor his investment. If you didn't honor his investment, let's assume he asks for collateral so that he has something to take back if need be. Now, there is a lot of trust here and it can easily be abused, unless, you are a extremely trusted individual. In that case, the collateral might be able to be taken out of the equation(which is unlikely.)

 

Is this a usable idea? Yes! However, using it early in the game is probably not going to work for anyone in the end. Sorry.

 

Well, those are my thoughts as I have had the idea before, but by all means, give it a go!

 

Well, as a trader and builder, I'd be 100% reliant on my reputation to sell anything.  If I made junk or didn't honor agreements, obviously no one would do business.  So, I can assure complete trustworthiness or I may as well not trade.

 

That said, I fully understand people would be hesitant to do an "honor system" trade.  However, once I have a few blueprints, people will be able to see me with another player constructing objects with the resources they've given me to do so.  That would boost confidence fairly quickly until i get a full shop set up.

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Well, as a trader and builder, I'd be 100% reliant on my reputation to sell anything.  If I made junk or didn't honor agreements, obviously no one would do business.  So, I can assure complete trustworthiness or I may as well not trade.

 

That said, I fully understand people would be hesitant to do an "honor system" trade.  However, once I have a few blueprints, people will be able to see me with another player constructing objects with the resources they've given me to do so.  That would boost confidence fairly quickly until i get a full shop set up.

I thought that as well. In reality, a currency without a valid way of ensuring counterfeit copies without knowledge of the game is impossible. There might become a way eventually but I don't see it working without that knowledge.

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How would you address counterfeiting of your tokens? 

 

According to the DevBlog for tagging and lua scripting (I can't remember which off-hand), all constructs have an "owner" property.  The owner indicates the person who created it.  Since I would create all of my resource token, I would only need to verify that the owner is me.  If it is, it is authentic.  

 

EDIT: That's how Second Life did it, and why change a system that works?  DU devs didn't describe a "creator" property.  Based on naming conventions, that would be more appropriate.

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According to the DevBlog for tagging and lua scripting (I can't remember which off-hand), all constructs have an "owner" property.  The owner indicates the person who created it.  Since I would create all of my resource token, I would only need to verify that the owner is me.  If it is, it is authentic.

I see. So then, as the owner, it would be a valid identifier. Another think I can see as well is the problem of you having to create each of these tokens manually. Now, I realize you aren't probably aiming to do this on such a large scale but if you were to start distributing many of these, you would therefore have to make a large amount by yourself. Also, the dev blog for lua scripting is here. Besides the problem that you can't use them for large scale, or if you do, it'd be complicated, there is another thought. If you become too relient on these, as I'm sure you've thought of, it would be a "collapse" of your player based currency, and cause more problems than it fixes. I'm sure your've probably thought of half of this as well but I'm just bringing it up.

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The nice thing about DU is that I could make a blueprint for it, then manufacture many of them very early on.  They would be tiny, like a small coin and would use minimal amounts of the cheapest, most abundantly possible resource.  The first thing I would do i mine the resource, and make them.  Because they are very small, the nano-builder should be able to do it very quickly.

 

My goal wouldn't be to create a currency out of them, that would just be a side effect.  I don't care about market collapse, as that was never the intention.  I would still honor them for products for sale.  X number of tokens = a particular product.

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Ofcourse you would say you plan to honor it :)

 

The problem with this is you are trusting one person. Now if the token had a value of its own in resources you could break down, maybe. if its a fiat currency then no one would trust one guy. 

 

Now this could work with large trusted alliances later on, or even an alliance currency to be used between members. Eve had trusted entities like Eve lottery that did similar things. But once you have an alliance large enough to be trusted it is expected the would have the in game credits to use as well. Unless it is specifically an in alliance token or maybe given out for special events and prizes. 

 

 

I do have to say Id love the possibility of making your own currently, but they dont plan to implement it. Unless you do something like this

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I understand this idea for the beginning of the game when currency is not very abundant, but i don't understand it in the long run.

 

Why not just use normal game currency ?

 

When people have the money to buy a ship off you, or the materials to build the ship anyway, I don't think that currency will be an issue and then you can just sell your services normally like any trade in the game.

 

If people can't afford to buy/ build a ship themselves why would they have the required currency/materials for your services?

 

In my opinion, doing this would limit your market to people that you know/trust or just guild members. I would choose to go with another person over yourself if they gave me the construct of equal value to the currency i gave them rather than a token that has a 'supposed' value when i hand it back into you.

 

It's a interesting idea, but i feel that it's an idea that's trying to get around the early problems of the game (lack of currency/materials) where everyone will be in the same boat and will be unable to purchase this token regardless and buy the time they are able to purchase it the alternative of just using normal currency will be available without the need for a 'trust' system.

 

nora,

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This is actually very similar to a liberated monetary system called self-issued credit that has been proposed in the real world (you know, after the revolution and stuff). There are two elements that are missing if I recall correctly. One is that the currency is backed by a particular product or service and is always redeemable in that product or service. So if you have a ship building business, 1 credit might be redeemable as 1 small, basic CodeGlitch0 Model 1A shuttlecraft. This can be guaranteed by a tag that is always issued along with every credit of the currency. The second aspect is that there should be a base currency which is used purely as a measure against which all self-issued credit currencies can be compared. In the game this can be the actual game currency, and the market will decide what currency is worth based on how much your product/service trades for. Of course, the tokens themselves could be traded on the market too and you'd expect them to usually be priced around the same as the product that backs them.

 

The issuer of the credit needs to make sure that he doesn't give out too much or else he could end up out of business if everyone comes to redeem them at the same time. But what happens in the situation where the issuer has no more of the product in stock? In that case I'm not sure. The same question goes for tags that require payments at certain times though. I guess the answer is "nothing". You trusted the wrong person.

 

But there is no incentive for someone with real game credits to trade for player made credits. That person deserves to get scammed. The incentive comes for people that have their own resources and services, but don't have money.

 

Let's say you are out on the fringes of inhabited lands. A micro economy has sprung up disconnected from the main markets. Resources become abundant, but you can't sell for a lot because the market isn't big enough. You could ship, but that also reduces profits. Now there is an incentive for you to trade your resources for a local player's self issued credit. Everyone in this micro economy can issued their own credits to each other, because you're all in the same situation. Perhaps living side by side has also generated trust. You are also likely to see and know that the issuer is a genuine provider of the product/service that backs his currency. It's like a sophisticated barter system.

 

I don't know if a group of people using this type of system could spread their currencies to the wider player population, but it might be cool to try.

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Very true. The notion of a resource token is intended for when real money is scarce. Obviously, this would gravitate towards early game and I would always prefer to deal in the universal game currency.

However, at the very start I may not have money to pay you for your resources right away as I have to first build products that I can sell to earn the money to pay suppliers. So having an "in kind" token to promise goods back would solve that early issue.

After I trading for a little while, I would always pay cash for resources.

 

EDIT: It's probably just dreaming, but maybe the very last resource token out in the wild will become a rare collectable item traded for rediculuous amounts on the Markets as a relic of the First Days...

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I think I'm going a little too theoretical here,

 

When it comes down to it, though... All forms of currency are based solely on perceived value.  Paper and electronic money all have no intrinsic value that can be broken down for any actual use.  Technically, money like the US dollar is backed by gold, but even that is largely a façade these days.  What are you going to do if your entire city looses everything they have in some disaster and decides that US money is worthless to them now?  Nothing.  You could try going to Ft. Knox as giving them your money demanding that your get your equivalent gold in return.  But will you actually get it? Probably not.  You're just left with a bunch of worthless paper.

 

Currency is backed solely by "perceived value."  The actual placeholder for it (ie. coins) may have some intrinsic value if your melt it down and make wires, for example, but that is largely minimal.​

 

 

Back to point:

 

I concede that it would take a monumental effort--backed by a very large group--to make a viable player-created currency.  I don't really have any intention of doing that but it was an interesting muse.  My initial post was centered more around whether people would accept "resource tokens" for promised goods in the early days.  An alternate currency was just a side-effect of that.

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