User:Woozle/Unnamed Money Thing
from explanation typed into Slack on 2018-06-10
I had this idea for how to turn FinanceFerret into a revenue-generating thing without getting all capitalistic about it.
Well, [charging 1% of every transaction's] not too far off.
Except it would be voluntary.
And I was thinking it wouldn't be every transaction on every account.
More like... well, there's the basic principle, and then there are the implementation details.
The basic principle would be that you'd pay a percentage of your net gain.
Implementation details... would probably need some experimentation but. Let's say each user could designate one bank account as being their "main", and we'll pretty much ignore the others. (We'll expect that to be the one with the most dollar-volume in transactions, and we'll want some kind of explanation if it isn't -- which gets into philosophy: we will deal with people as individuals with lives to live, not as anonymous accounts where money is what matters. We will trust by default, but verify when we can, and enact accountability measures when bad faith is found.)
In that main account, the user can designate certain categories of transaction as "living expenses".
Their net gain is then the monthly income minus anything spent on that category.
There are probably other ways to do it, but the obvious ones that come to mind tend to encourage people to spend on luxuries and entertainment so as to pay less "tax", and we don't want to do that.
The difficult part is that in order to make this work, I _think_ it's going to be necessary for people's ledgers to be semi-public.
[ Someone says: mmm, more corndogs means less taxes, I like that idea ]
Any set of rules can be gamed -- which is part of why I want other eyeballs looking at the ledgers. (edited)
Another part is that a lot of people just aren't very good at managing money, and could use advice from other trusted people.
One key benefit would be that if we can actually generate some steady revenue from this, then we could hire coders to do what proprietary subscription-model apps like QuickBooks and TurboTax do, i.e. turn the tax laws into code so that you can do your income taxes with relatively little pain (edit: except we won't use our revenues to lobby for more complex and punitive tax laws so you'll continue to be dependent on us and our ilk).
Another benefit is that it would be affordable for everyone. You wouldn't have to worry that maybe next year you wouldn't be able to afford the latest version of QuickBooks and all your accounts might be trapped in a void of non-upgradeability or whatever.
If your income doesn't exceed your outgo, then it's free.
...and I want a way to make the payments non-coercive as well.
Like... we calculate how much we think you should pay. If you don't pay it, then... several possibilities suggest themselves; the trick is to find the right balance between heavy-handedness and ineffectiveness, but since I'm mainly wanting this to be a service for nice people to use rather than trying to maximize the bottom line, it seems to me that social feedback will matter. We can afford to boot people off if we think they're taking advantage of the honor system. Or...
...we can revoke their honor-system rights.
Which basically comes to the same thing, I guess.
It's just that you wouldn't be booted by default, and not right away... and communication would be rewarded rather than ignored.
Oh! Another thing I just thought of -- people could use it as a way of tracking interpersonal debt (from bartering and so forth). Kind of like the Ripple system (which I need to do a write-up for).
"Users who do not pay up will be mercilessly spammed with advertising to make up the deficit -- but only if we think they really deserve it."
Go ahead, leave a bad review somewhere. That'll just keep away all the other authoritarian followers; we'll keep serving the people who need this the most.
What if each node had a cryptocoin wallet from which it could send cryptocoinage to other places? Each user of the node could have their own balance, with all accounts in total backed by that cryptocoin. This would allow users to effectively send actual money to each other, as in federated banking.
For comparison, a standard capitalistic paid service: Cheddar