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Author Topic: Basic accounting ledger system for local currency  (Read 1557 times)
jago25_98
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October 09, 2013, 11:22:27 AM
 #1


 I have a Local Exchange Trade community searching for a ledger solution.

Bitcoin is fine but goes against the goal of the system which is local. Forking a new blockchain seems over the top.
Ripple seems not ready for he prime time, since it's only running on one server. You can't change your password and we need to export the values of the preexisting database to each user.
Cyclos seems too complicated... as does OpenTransactions. We just need user, balance, send amount.

 A Google Spreadsheet with forms might be fine... any example of that?

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OnkelPaul
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October 09, 2013, 11:53:32 AM
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Ripple's server is open source now, you can run your own server - however, you probably won't make it into anyone's UNL, so your server will not be used as a validator in the network at the moment (unless you find other server operators who are willing to put your server into their UNL).

With the server issue out of the way, there's the client issue - the current Ripple client is probably both too powerful and not functional enough for your users. Writing a new client that does exactly what you want but uses the ripple ledger to store transactions is not a simple task but should fit your goals pretty nicely.
Your user database could stay mostly the same and just needs to add fields for the ripple account information.

The question is how much work/money you would want to invest - your description sounds like you'd prefer a low-cost solution, which makes it a bit difficult :-)

Onkel Paul

PS: of course, a simple roll-your-own database solution might work as well - however if the local community trades significant amounts, it might be hard to protect it against hacking and fraud.

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October 11, 2013, 12:23:48 PM
 #3

I would also advice for Ripple for the following reasons:

1) API is relatively straightforward
2) Server and client code available + network is running right now
3) Transaction reversal is nigh impossible

Google spreadsheets would for example score negative on all three of these things - whoever owns that spreadsheet can change balances at will.
Ripple does not really use passwords at all with the current system, the current client at Ripple.com is just a way to access and decrypt your private key that is stored encrypted. This means that there is nothing that can be changed without revealing the private key to the actual operators of that service (which is something they don't want).

Another (though also easily manipulated) alternative would be to use the program ledger (ledger-cli.org) and use this to create your ledger.

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jago25_98
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October 14, 2013, 02:02:04 PM
 #4

Love that little ledger tool.
Great points.

Only thing is, you're talking at me like I can program... very unfortunately that's not so possible. We have someone who might be able to help but I don't know the extent of their skills. hmm...


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Sukrim
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October 14, 2013, 02:26:16 PM
 #5

Well, in any case you need to have initial transfers, be it in Bitcoin, Ripple, ledger-cli or an Excel spreadsheet.

The question is, should it be an accounting tool (menaning there are trades happening and after some time you collet the trades and enter them in the system) or should it support trading as well (so you don't have to run after people and ask for their trades, they can trade without you knowing)? In the first case, ledger-cli (or something like GNUcash) might be the easiest solution, in the latter case I'd recommend going for a Ripple community implementation. How many people are we talking about? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands?

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jago25_98
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October 14, 2013, 09:35:55 PM
 #6

It's a few hundred members.
At the moment a tresurer is having to type all the entries manually into a spreadsheet. It would be great to transfer that spreadsheet online and send user/pass to emails on the spreadsheet.

There is software out there to create the whole community website but frankly I don't rate it. I think it's better to have separate accounting system (Ripple?) and community website (Dolphin).

The only thing stopping me is thinking that maybe Ripple isn't ready for this.

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October 15, 2013, 10:15:00 AM
 #7

Ripple would be a marketplace, allowing your users to trade whatever they trade directly on the system and settle the trade (in person for example) afterwards. If you only have a handful of assets you are trading, this might be nice to have, if it is something like a big store with hundreds/thousands of articles, I doubt that this is something your users will like.

With any system sometimes someone has to enter information - either your treasurer or your users themselves. In the first case ledger-cli or google docs (if you want it visible online) or some other online accounting tool might be a good choice, in the latter case you need some overview + education for your users.

Ripple can be very simple or very complex, depending on how many of its features you use. You probably know your user base better than me - if it is people trading Bitcoins and a couple of other fungible assets with each other, then Ripple might be great. If it is housewives trading hand-knitted pullovers you might have a problem, as you would need to represent each pullover uniquely in the system.

Since you already have a spreadsheet (I hope with backups!), I'd go for Google docs personally, unless I get more concrete info about this trading community. Atm. people anyways have to trust your treasurer (who hopefully gets audited every once in a while) and they seem to be comfortable with that, if you have hundreds of members. With that many people, also dedicated accounting software might be useful and I hope your treasurer knows how to do proper bookkeeping.

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jago25_98
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October 15, 2013, 11:35:17 AM
 #8

If we were to use Ripple how would we transfer the existing database?

I'll suggest importing the database into Google. I'm sure it's possible to have forms to allow people to enter their own trades.


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Sukrim
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October 15, 2013, 05:09:54 PM
 #9

Just like in any ledger system - issue the balances from somewhere and transfer them to the respective accounts. In excel you just enter a number, in Ripple you do a bit more, but the end result is nearly the same.

The main difference is that Ripple will allow you to trade the balances, Excel will require manual intervention. This can be good or bad, depending on what you wnat to accomplish.

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jago25_98
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November 12, 2013, 05:01:03 PM
 #10

I want to use Ripple for this community. Where can I see a decent guide on how to integrate the system to a community website?

All I have is:
https://ripple.com/wiki/Gateway_Integration_Manual#Manual_alternative

It's pretty technical. Not sure how to arrange it around a community website so the grannies aren't too confused...

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Sukrim
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November 13, 2013, 02:35:51 AM
 #11

I'd recommend going to the Ripple forums with a link to this post.

Also it would be nice to know if you are technically skilled or can get soemone to help you. Support won't be easy and just like Bitcoin - if people loose their keys then that's it! There is no way that transactions can be reversed other than the other party sending it back.

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