I think that BETS, or something similar is a great idea! I would be interested in getting involved in a BETS project. However, since LETS type systems are mutual credit based, and bitcoin is closer to a commodity, I think the best of both worlds would be a Mutual Credit Clearing Network. By this, I mean that goods and services are exchanged in the BETS system on credit (denominated in bitcoins of course), and each account is periodically settled in bitcoins. This essentially means that each BETS account is a margin account. Parties can then decide whether to transact with one another (or at what price) based on the counter party's history of maintaining their margin.
This is the drupal module that cforge uses.http://drupal.org/project/mutual_credit
I quite like the look of this software alsohttp://www.hughbarnard.org/content/alternative-currency-software
# Multilingual ready via HTML templating Simple::Template
# Support for payment via SMS, Encrypted email and Jabber
# Simple services directory
# Experimental rss feeds for trade items, offered, wanted, matched search
I especially like the sms and encrypted email bit
I'm the main author of cclite, described above, glad you like some bits of it...as I've explained in a private email, the digital cash world and LETS, credit clearing [Greco] etc. etc. are rather different structurally and philosophically. Then 'on top' there are major governance decisions [in the rest of this thread 'trusted issuer' would have some associated governance [banking regulator, appointed by nominally democratic government, for example, or not, that's the governance decision].
Finally, most of my 'side', mutual social credit, credit clearing, small currencies, [in my case] multiple currencies usually have a social reform agenda concerning green issues, inequality issues, local area resilience etc. For that reason they are not aimed at global or really-large systems. There's problems with that inter-trading, useful mixes of offer/demand in the system etc. but that's the price they pay for a perception of federated resilience and local accountability. I'm involved in the transition town movement, for example.
Cash or digital cash [according to some on the reform side, I'm actually waiting to see a system and its effects, I'm agnostic] won't really work in most of the reform cases described above, though it -may- transfer power from the 'banks' to more democratic groups [or not].
Incidentally that's also why I'm personally wary of re-creating sophisticated derivatives [I'm cool with harvest futures, they have a pretty clear purpose] because my aim is reform, rather than more of the same.
So, I think that it's very healthy for everyone to talk and debate, but there are lots of differences in approach and desired effect on society.