Exchange Money and Lose on the Spot

by Winngie

16 October 2019

Exchange Currency

Financial Service

General

Peer to Peer

Share Stories

0 comments

Anyone who travels as often as me or lives in several different countries as I do may know that he/she needs to exchange money all the time. Each time, you will see how much the banks are charging and cutting from your money.

All payments and transfer fees are not so unclear, and you don’t know how much it costs you. In the information era, there is some information that has been covered but not opened to us. If you transfer a huge amount of money from your country to another country, you will feel amazed how much it may cost you and you will not be even sure how much you pay for each specific reason.

You will be battered to realize that the fees are as much as 13%. That’s on a round-trip exchange currency. It means if you exchange the money then change it back, you may lose 13% of the exchange amount. Of course you’re not going do a double exchange, but it gives you a clear idea of how much the banks can make out of you. The average fees are roughly 7% of the total exchange amount for a round-trip or 3.5% for one way.

Interbank rate is the rate the banks pay when exchanging money. This is the rate the banks pay when they are trading with each other. This is the “genuine” exchange rate. The banks make a margin on top of this, and give you their exchange rate with the fees covered. Mostly they do not open out the fee, and they just disclose the rate that you have exchanged. The reason why they charge that much is because this is a hidden fee. You don’t see the fee because you just see how much foreign currency you received when exchanging.

 

Country

Bank name Example currency

Round-trip fees

International

PayPal AUD/USD 3-9%

U.S.A.

Wells Fargo USD/EUR

2%

U.S.A.

Citibank AUD/USD

2.1%

Australia NAB AUD/EUR

10%

Australia

Westpac AUD/EUR 11%
United Kingdom Barclays GBP/EUR

13%

United Kingdom

Lloyds GBP/EUR

5%

Canada

Toronto Bank CAD/USD

6%

Canada RBC CAD/EUR

8%

The table above indicates the rates you receive if you wire money into your bank account in another currency. This is probably what will happen if you sale a house in one country and purchase another house in another country. It’s not the rates you receive when exchanging cash over the counter in the bank (although rates for both situations are usually very high). I include PayPal in the table above. Although they are not a bank, they are a popular option for international transfers. You will notice that the fees in the US are a bit more reasonable than the UK, Australia and Canada. But still, even the Wells Fargo currency exchange rates of 2% round-trip (1% one-way) cost some money to pay when there is no other lower cost option.

There are several options to avoid these fees, but it depends on how much money you are exchanging and which currencies you are exchanging. If you’re transferring $5k to $100k, you can avoid the fees and pay only around 0.5% by using any one of these currency exchange companies:

  • TransferWise – charges 0.5% one way or 1% round trip. They seem to be able to facilitate a transfer even if you do not have a bank account in both countries (but I have not confirmed this). The other alternatives on this list will need you to have a bank account in your name in both countries. TransferWise will definitely need the sender to have bank account and will need the sender to verify their identity with a copy of a passport or similar documentation.
  • OFX – charges usually 0.5% one way or 1% round trip.
  • CurrencyFair – charges usually 0.5% one way, and they also have a marketplace where you can trade with other people directly. (Note: Five free transfers with CurrencyFair if you use the link)
  • xe.com – fee varies depending on the currency.
  • Winngie-it gives you the best rate and best option. It is the best I have used.
  • Curexe – offers a transparent 1% cost on currency exchanges and goes down to 4% on higher volume transactions. They have awesome customer service because you can get a direct line to the founder 24/7.

 

The way for these services to work is that you transfer (via wire transfer usually or ACH in the US) to their bank account and then they will wire or direct transfer to you in the exchange currency. Usually this means you need a bank account in the two different currencies. You can get a bank account with multiple currencies which will solve this issue, for example, by setting up an account with HSBC in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia or the UK.

There is also an option for using a foreign exchange broker to directly exchange money and pay the same rates that banks pay. This is something I have personally done, but it’s a little tricky to set it up. I would not recommend it unless you have over $500k to transfer. In other words, brokers don’t want you to set up an account. Just to exchange some money! They are looking for you to trade, and transacting hundreds of times, so that they make something on brokerage fees. One company you may use is Interactivebrokers. There will be a monthly fee and a minimum to open the account if you do this.

All of these previous options are more for transferring larger amounts of money. If you’re traveling overseas and just need some cash during your trip, there are basically two options: local currency exchange (cash to cash) or simply using your credit card. The best option depends on which country you are traveling to. Some countries have a local economy that relies heavily on exchanging to US dollars and you will find in these countries that the exchange rates for cash to cash can be quite reasonable (around 1% fees one way). Some examples are: The Philippines, Hong Kong or Ukraine. If you have US dollars, then the best option for these countries is to bring US dollar cash and exchange it when you arrive. Mostly you will not want to exchange at the airport as the rates are likely to be a lot worse than in the city center.

Credit cards are another option for getting your money when traveling. This can be either paying via the card or withdrawing from an ATM.

You want to be careful as most cards will double-charge you, not only for the currency conversion, but also an extra fee for withdrawing from ATMs and then on top of this an additional charge for foreign currency withdrawals.

So you can end up being charged in three separate ways for the same transaction: 1) The ATM fee 2) A percentage charge for cash advance or for foreign currency transactions 3) Another hidden fee on the exchange rate (again banks do not declare this fee to you they just tell you that this the “rate” they are giving you, but of course that “rate” includes their undisclosed fee.

There are some credit card options without additional fees whilst traveling, but all of them as far as I am aware will still have the hidden fee that they take when converting currencies.

 

Read more

No More Feeding Big Chunky Bankers

by Winngie

3 October 2019

Exchange Currency

Financial Service

International Money Transfer

Peer to Peer

0 comments

If we just get on a time machine and fly back to 80s, the time of Marty McFly from “Back to the Future”. It would be tremendously difficult to explain how the world changed and how we are connected by a button of a small computers and even mobile phones. The time has changed, internet is already old and settled technology that we cannot even consider a life without it. If we go back 80s, even we cannot be sure to explain what we are having at this stage of the time. We are now well connected and well achievable.

The things on Internet are also on move and change rapidly. Big companies are losing their stance and small business who has no brick and stock having their time. There are no clear definition of supplier or demander, now all same in the same basket. No more people are stuck with big corporations and full of employees that earning good sum of money and enjoying being monopoly. The time changed, no more shopping mall needed, it is already online. No more bookstore, no more travel agents, no more groceries we are stuck on and need to visit, it is all one click away.

Banking? Big cold banks? Waiting for the line and getting ticket to remit your money? Still in this era? Money is a media that we use for mutual agreement. It is actually easiest one to transfer or remit. No need big exchange offices and no need to line up for banks declare all your recordings including your personal details.

Nowadays Peer to peer financial platforms are creating fresh start for the industry.

It is a demand that never been supplied well until lately, now all transactions are easy and manageable via online applications. Why people need to pay for the easiest transaction? Why we need to pay corporate bankers well paid salary? Peer to peer transfer options get the exchange offices, banks, lines, long waiting time out of our way. Now it is easier.

It is funny that one of the first material that we use as peer to peer, money! It is first peer to peer solution, barter is the forefather of all peer to peer business strategy. With the revolutionary speed of internet, there is no higher costly transfer deals, commissions and unnecessary waiting times.

Peer to peer Financial applications started replacing exchange offices. No more line up in the middle of street and waiting someone to charge you commission because you need them. Your hard worked salary, the money that you save for your kids, the salary for your family. Why you need waste your daily hard work to people who are sitting and getting commission. Why your hard worked money has been cut by big fat banks? It is painful for many working people that they need to look after their family back in their countries. Current business style is a monopoly, it is slow, costly and not even considering hardworking people who just want to transfer their money to their loved ones, who pays their school fees or rent. This is the motivation why peer to peer financial platform will be the one which replace robust monsters that cut our lumpsum money.

I am you and you are same as me.  We are all having same issues and same cut, why we need to feed big guys. Why we need to work hard every single day with dreaming our love ones, dreaming of being together one day we get together. However, giving large amount of commission, giving a share from our money to these big fatty chunky business monopolies. No, not anymore. That time is changing, taxi industry changed in good way for drivers and users, not anymore feeding this oligarchs of transportation. Travel has changed, it is cheaper now, affordable faster. All peer to peer business development, it is a revolution of business, it is the awakening of the customer. No more lining up and waiting for being devalued with our own money.

Yes, peer to peer financial apps already on the market, one day they will be the one change this vicious circle. Faster, cheaper, friendlier and yes, no more monopoly. Open space and plenty of options, this is revolution!

For Example, Meet Winngie Services. Winngie is a social platform for travelers, foreign students, expats, business people, and anyone travelling internationally. We help you transfer money abroad and exchange local money with real people. There are no hidden fees, no commissions, and no differences between the currency exchanges.
You decide the exchange rate and you find a solution that suits your needs.
We connect people with currency needs and help foster a mutually beneficial exchange. By cutting out the middle man, Winngie can help you drastically reduce the amount you pay while exchanging currencies. Say goodbye to your bank!

Read more

Marginalizing on Margins

by Winngie

23 August 2019

General

0 comments

The trend in the travel industry is changing drastically lately, and the business has been in a direction that all transaction and services is decided before heading to destination. Many travelers are not anymore using travel agents or any other brick and mortar institution as their previous generation who used to use for travelling.

Lately, most of bookings and land arrangement are handled via online. Many people book their flight ticket via online and then book their hotel as a combination with their flight. For their travel information and entertainment tickets, it is very common to get through online sites as well. It was the latest trend in the market. Many people used to follow this path.

However, it is also changing in a different way. Travelers lately have been starting using online C2C platforms for their schedules. Airbnb is a platform that the travelers book their accommodation. Uber is a platform for travel-lovers to arrange their transportation. Winngie is a platform for tourists to exchange their currency.

The trend on C2C has been developing so fast in last years. Airbnb was basically paid option of couchsurfing, which has been a phenomenon in all over the world. It makes accommodation like at home, you can rent an apartment and stay there as your own. It gives a flexibility that you can live as a local, cooking and partying. You can have your own free space and adjust yourself true local environment. Basically, Airbnb changed the perspective of accommodation for many travelers all around the world, and now it is getting a norm for accommodation as well as many options as in hotels as have.

Uber is a revolutionary taxi that you can be a taxi driver as a local and as a traveler you can get so quick and safe way to hop on. Uber changed all transportation industry especially in city centers. Not anymore need to wait for a taxi and try discussing or settling with your destination. It is already handled by Uber itself. It is an amazing application that you can find your driver and take you all around without paying high commission or service charge as you are a foreigner and being waited pay more than local. Uber solves it very smartly.

Winngie, this is an amazing platform. It was a niche for many. It gives you an easy way to get your money exchanged without paying ridiculous commission. It has its own matching programmer which works so smartly, it gives you all details around you and you still have best capability to get a rate that works on you. It is so trustable and you feel as it is secured by Winngie. The platform has been very well received in all around the world, you would be able to exchange Uruguay peso in Uganda. This is something in mind opening and revolutionary in all. Not only it is for travelers, but also it seems getting so popular in business environment that many users are utilizing the platform as a best way to avoid from high commission and service charge implemented by exchange offices and banks. Their customer service is helpful, as mainly same as Uber and Airbnb. You will feel safe working with their service, and quality has been assured by all platform.

Different than brick and mortar business, online business gave us a capability that we can find the better solution, on the other hand C2C already goes further level, and lets us marginalize our demand. Airbnb offers a great chance that you can live as local with a budget-worthy price, Uber gives speed and safety feeling, and Winngie gives a quick and smooth transaction capability all over the world. You are no more stressful with using your credit card and losing great deal of money through commission or bank charge. Winngie saves your money, gives you flexible exchange way, and you still feel safe and relax without running somewhere to exchange several currencies and losing on exchange rate.

Market and business are changing; it is not as stable as before. People have more power and see their way as they would like to minimize their cost of service. Direct transaction on a sustainable platform is the way that they feel comfortable.

 

Keywords: money exchange, transfer currency, Winngie, Uber, Airbnb, Travelgram

Read more

C2C Commerce and the Best Global Examples

by Winngie

27 July 2019

Exchange Currency

Financial Service

General

Peer to Peer

0 comments

C2C commerce in a way, called as peer-to-peer e-commerce, is a basic concept to grasp and a quite trendy business model for many companies lately. It bases on with an existing platform customers who would be the supplier, and supplier who could be the customer. This type of platform transaction goes on certain platform and business runs between direct customer themselves. This business engagement is being on platform, but the business is direct as this is the substantial basic structure that we see in C2C commerce.

The way of business and the model itself differs from business to business and conceptually has evolved based on the business pattern of certain industries. It is a structure of business based on mutual benefit of 2 parts and then uses the platform as true way as platform. The platform itself is a basic place that transaction has been secured and controlled in a way and facilitation of business has been regulated.

There are many ways that peers use the platform as securing the transaction, receiving sustainable demand, and having their own supply market properly. It is a mutual performance way that many users satisfy with their effort ,and the payment has done for the process on platform.

Structurally speaking, it creates lump profit for sellers and buyers or users and service supplier. Technological advances and greater availability create the better conditions and demand that many business partners will find their own supplier quickly. Especially in service ones, speed and transaction success percentage has been dramatically shifted and this change is the main actor in the industry regardless of which part of business they involve.

There are many examples already involved in several different industries such as E-bay, Craiglist, Winngie, Uber, Airbnb and many local players such as Grab, Tujia etc.E-bay is one of the most famous e-commerce platforms that many users enjoy great benefit and speedy business structures. It has been used all over the world, and has been in long time in the industry and great market acknowledgment.

Craiglist is a platform dedicated for various sections and business including classifieds and advertisement. There are plenty of information and demanding details that many find it as a great source of product and information.

Winngie, the unique social maker, mainly focuses on money transfer and foreign currency exchange. For many users, it is a must when they are travelling and it’s a budget-worthy platform that they can find out the best exchange rate deals, and probably make friends with their match. For expats, it is a convenient tool to transfer their money and pay their own mortgage or school fees back in their country to family and friends. It is a financial tool that changes the industry and turns to be popular lately.

Uber is a transformation starter in the transportation idea with a basic start, changes the transportation industry business model, and pushes the business one step further. Many platforms follow Ubers footstep and tries to execute the same structure as Uber model, but still Uber is the most successful one to change the market environment and involves in several different business areas.

Airbnb is a revolution in accommodation business. It not only changes all mindset but also creates a new of stay. It starts from the pathway of couch surfing and at the end it adds more commercial model on top it. Still it is the newest method and innovative way in its industry and it consistently influences the tourism environment.

 

C2C player mainly focus on new generation players and gets good share from merging business, such as, what Uber done, as combining meal and transportation which creates Ubereats. Winngie Exchange and Transfer Money has the similar model, combining technology with financial business in all around the world.

Globally, the new movement is C2C which will be a new way to create a new era. There are many new players but currently the ones Uber, Airbnb, Winngie, E-bay and Craiglist who sustains its corporate in their own market.

Keywords: C2C, Travelgram, Uber, Airbnb, Winngie, sharing economy, peer-to-peer

 

Read more

China with sharing economy. Growing trend.

by Winngie

22 March 2019

Exchange Currency

Financial Service

International Money Transfer

0 comments

Fancy shooting some hoops, but don’t have a basketball? Caught in the rain with no umbrella? Smartphone run out of juice? Buy or sell foreign currency at café. China’s rapidly expanding “sharing economy”, which already provides car rides and bicycle hire on demand, can help.

For just 2 Yuan ($0.30) an hour, Nate Liu, a student at the Beijing Language and Culture University, rents a basketball from a court-side vending machine by scanning a barcode on his smartphone.
“I didn’t want to ask around and borrow a ball after losing mine, so I decided to give it a try,” Mr Liu told Reuters.
Far away, in China’s wetter south, some 20,000 umbrellas have been released on to the streets of Shenzhen, and can be rented – unlocked by another smartphone barcode scan – for just half a yuan ($0.07) for 30 minutes.
The umbrellas can be dropped off “wherever convenient”, though users are encouraged to keep them, says Zhao Shuping, founder of E Umbrella Sharing, one of a handful of start-ups offering the service.
China’s government has taken notice, and expects the “sharing economy” to grow about 40 percent this year to 4.83 trillion yuan ($705 billion). By 2020, it should account for around one tenth of GDP, illustrating China’s aspiration to become a sharing economy leader on a global scale.
PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts five sharing sectors – car sharing (Uber), travel (Airbnb), finance (Winngie), staffing, and music and video streaming – have the potential to increase global revenue to $335 billion by 2025 from $15 billion today.

Most of the money behind China’s ballooning sharing economy comes from angel investors and venture capital firms.
At least 1.69 billion Yuan ($247 million) in mostly series-A, or early stage, funding was invested in April to May in over two dozen start-ups offering sharing services, according to Reuters calculations based on data from Chinese data firm IT Juzi.

According to survey in Beijing, Winngie is also another trustable global brand which is quite unique example.

Twelve firms renting out power banks – typically compact, mobile battery chargers – secured 1.13 billion Yuan, while newer businesses such as basketball and umbrella-sharing took in about 25 million Yuan ($3.65 million) combined.

While mobile-savvy, convenience-obsessed Chinese welcome the innovations, some critics question whether the demand is real, or sustainable. They say the low-revenue, capital-intensive model means profitability can be elusive.

“Young people are embracing renting as a way of life instead of possessing things,” said Emma Zhu, investment director at Beijing-based Innoangel fund, who has held off investing in any of these start-ups. “But the sharing model won’t work in every situation. In some cases, they’re trying to meet genuine demand, while in others they’re not.”

Some investors say the funding frenzy recalls the spectacular boom and bust of hundreds of Chinese Groupon apps in vogue in 2010-12, noting that most ultimately collapsed after fierce price wars, with losses of around $1 billion.

“In China, the only barrier to entry is who can raise the most capital – that’s good and bad,” said Xu Miaocheng, an investment manager at Unity Ventures in Beijing.

“The upside is, there are funds available to launch a bunch of companies. You may not need a lot of specialization or new technology. The downside is a lot of money could be wasted.”

Cai Min, founder of basketball rental firm Zhulegeqiu, says he wants to expand nationwide, and quickly, offering the service at all of China’s estimated 100,000 basketball courts, and growing into a multi-billion yuan business, eventually offering all “sharable” products.

The Zhejiang-based start-up received 10 million yuan ($1.46 million) in early funding from Shanghai-based Modern Capital on May 5, less than two months after Mr Cai came up with the idea.

“We are expanding at all cost, because speed is everything,” Mr Cai said. “Of course this means costs have been very high at the early stage because we have to make everything in a month.”

He declined to give specific figures, but each of the solar-powered basketball rental machines –currently in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Tianjin and Chengdu – costs “a few thousand yuan”.

“The key to success is to get more money than your competitors and to expand faster than them,” he said.

The latest wave of “sharing” entrepreneurs has been largely inspired by the rapid rise of Chinese bike-sharing firms such as Mobike and Ofo, which have together raised close to 13 billion yuan in a little over two years, extending their services to more Chinese cities and international markets including London and Singapore.

Winngie is also great impact in Chinese business, it has been increasing its existence in mainland china. It is one of unique example that mainland and Taiwan, same platform is strong enough to dominate. Why you still need to go to bank wait on queue or exchange office to change local currency or foreign ones. Can use the share economy way with individuals for that.

E Umbrella’s Mr Zhao said he came up with the idea after his three young children rushed to try out the rental bikes that mushroomed across Shenzhen early this year.

“I thought they’re just normal bikes. If this could work, why can’t shared umbrellas?” he said.

“My cost for the umbrellas is basically zero right now.”

Read more

Introduction to the Different Types of International Money Transactions

by winngie

3 January 2019

International Money Transfer

0 comments

Most of us know very little about how the financial system works at the meanwhile we are highly dependent on it. When you receive the monthly salary, when you use the bank card to pay for the bill, when you send the money to others, it’s all about the transaction fashion. The user experiences fantastically influence and push the revolution of financial system. It’s hard to categorize but we still have some clues to observe the system into three historical stages: physical institution, digital service, and invisible currency.

  • Traditional Bank Service

There are three major ways to use the traditional bank services.

The first one is wire transfer. You can send the money to more than 150 countries by over 40 types of currencies. Without doubtfully, it’s a safe way to send your money around the world though it’s slower with the various commission fees. Moreover, for the virgin user, he/she has to open the foreign currency account by the assigned bank and activate it. It takes more times for preparation to wire the international funds.

The second way is through Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). SEPA is the European Union payment integration which aims to simplify the wire transfer in the Euro countries. Due to the same currency and the cooperated financial system, this is the cheapest way to send the money between 28 EU member states, 4 countries from European Free Trade Association, and 2 microstates who signed the agreements with SEPA. That is to say, you must have the bank account in these euro-zone countries and also it only accepts Euro.

Thirdly, it’s the checks. Checks are usually applied for bills or payment since the design is friendly to be used. When you want to send the money to someone domestically or internationally, only do you send via post or the bank, and the receiver can easily deposit based the due date of the check. However, it can be slower and more additional service fees come. Both sender and receiver sides may be charged with the commission. The checks deposits into the receiver’s account may also take few work days.

Of course, the bank system is more reliable but its slowness and red-tape progress also make the users being “kidnapped.” The weakness of the traditional bank system is vulnerable when facing the challenges from the digital technology. Time-consuming and high exchange rates push the traditional bank stepping into online service system.

  • Digital Financial Service

Online transaction becomes more popular than before since the senders do not need to go the physical banks and wait for few hours to only make one transaction.  There are also three major ways to send the capital by internet.  The first one is the traditional bank system which starts to use online banking.

The second one is by the third-party agencies, such as, Transferwise, Worldremit, Winngie, and XE. Each similar but different. They function as bank but it is not. The mainly concept is to work without banks and return the transaction right back to the customers.

The third one links together with the online shopping platform with speed payment which later evolves into the convenient payment method. The classical examples are WeChat pay, Alipay, and PayPal. Taking PayPal as example, PayPal is spawned from the simple concept which allows the users to transfer the funding through online to facilitate the e-shopping payment. This smart idea attracts million members to enjoy this encryption software. People use it to link together with eBay or other online shopping website, do donations, and exchange money with others. Same with the traditional bank system, PayPal users both are required to open the accounts under the PayPal system otherwise the other side cannot receive or send the funding. Unlike the bank system, PayPal are free with basic usage, and you don’t need to submit mountains of document to register the new account.  The weakness of PayPal system is highly exposure to be frauds, unfair high transfer fees, and dependent of internet.

The disadvantages of the digital financial fashion are undermined by cybercrime and low-control of financial risk. Many small-scale banks may lack capacity to enhance cybersecurity. Also, when it is easy to facilitate the financial flow, excessive borrowings and debt occur.

  • Digital Currency

Some say digital currency is a Ponzi scheme. Some say cryptocurrency has already died and resurrected over 100 times during past half decade. Whether the world likes or criticizes it, there is no doubt that cryptocurrency has successfully attracted people’s attention. Blockchain decentralized character makes the users transfer digital currency faster and easier. There is no single location, no holiday and no central authority in between. It is peer-to-peer basis. It means that cryptocurrency returns the transferred right back to its users without time boundary and location barriers.

Unreliable emerging ICOs, small new currency, and cybercrime may crowd the market. Due to its consensus-based network, it is hard to have universal rules to supervise digital currency.  Low-trust operation, virtual assets, and zero tolerate to fix the typo after transferred.

You cannot see your money in reality.

From bank-to-bank service to peer-to-peer basis, the financial world seems never tried seeking a better way for exchange. It not only exchanges the money but also exchange trust. It is also never tried to blow another trend. The trend you cannot repeat. The trend it will rock the old system. Winngie Exchange Money App and some others similar ways are trying to overcome these problems to make life easier.

   Winngie Editorial Department

13:04 Wednesday 21 November 2018

Read more

What is peer to peer and What are most popular P2P mobile platforms

by winngie

3 January 2019

General

0 comments

Peer to peer is the relational dynamic at work in distributed networks

Peer to peer is there not restricted to technology or P2P filesharing as such, but covers every social process with a peer to peer dynamic, whether these peers are humans or computers.

Peer to peer is particularly expressed in social processes such Peer ProductionPeer Governance, Peer Property, Peer Transportation and Peer Exchange.

It’s a way of organizing, and a way of thinking about organizing. It’s also a political and social program for those who believe that in many cases, peer to peer modes are a preferable option.

“What is peer to peer? Here’s a first tentative definition: It is a specific form of relational dynamic, is based on the assumed equipotency of its participants, organized through the free cooperation of equals in view of the performance of a common task, for the creation of a common good, with forms of decision-making and autonomy that are widely distributed throughout the network. 

P2P processes are not structureless, but are characterized by dynamic and changing structures which adapt themselves to phase changes. It rules are not derived from an external authority, as in hierarchical systems, but generated from within. . It does not deny ‘authority’, but only fixed forced hierarchy, and therefore accepts authority based on expertise, initiation of the project, etc… P2P may be the first true meritocracy. The threshold for participation is kept as low as possible. Equipotency means that there is no prior formal filtering for participation, but rather that it is the immediate practice of cooperation which determines the expertise and level of participation. Communication is not top-down and based on strictly defined reporting rules, but feedback is systemic, integrated in the protocol of the cooperative system. Techniques of ‘participation capture’ and other social accounting make automatic cooperation the default scheme of the project. Personal identity becomes partly generated by the contribution to the common project.

P2P is a network, not a hierarchy (though it may have elements of it); it is ‘distributed’, though it may have elements of centralization and ‘decentralization’; intelligence is not located at any center, but everywhere within the system. Assumed equipotency means that P2P systems start from the premise that ‘it doesn’t know where the needed resource will be located’, it assumes that ‘everybody’ can cooperate, and does not use formal rules in advance to determine its participating members. Equipotency, i.e. the capacity to cooperate, is verified in the process of cooperation itself. Validation of knowledge, acceptance of processes, are determined by the collective. Cooperation must be free, not forced, and not based on neutrality (i.e. the buying of cooperation in a monetary system). It exists to produce something. It enables the widest possible participation. These are a number of characteristics that we can use to describe P2P systems ‘in general’, and in particular as it emerges in the human lifeworld.

Whereas hierarchical systems are based on creating homogeneity amongst its ‘dependent’ members, distributed networks using the P2P dynamic regulate the ‘interdependent’ participants preserving heterogeneity. It is the ‘object of cooperation’ itself which creates the temporary unity. Culturally, P2P is about unity-in-diversity, it is concrete ‘post-Enlightenment’ universalism predicated on common projects; while hierarchy is predicated on creating sameness through identification and exclusion, and is associated with the abstract universalism of the Enlightenment.

To have a good understanding of P2P, I suggest the following mental exercise, think about these characteristics, then about their opposites. So doing, the radical innovative nature of P2P springs to mind. Though P2P is related to earlier social modes, those were most in evidence in the early tribal era, and it now emerges in an entirely new context, enabled by technologies that go beyond the barriers of time and space.

An important clarification is that when we say that peer to peer systems have no hierarchy or are not centralized, we do not necessarily mean the complete absence of such characteristics. But in a P2P system, the use of hierarchy and centralization, serve the goal of participation and many-to-many communication, and are not used to prohibit or dominate it. This means that though P2P arises in distributed networks, not all distributed networks exhibit P2P processes. When distributed meshworks, for example interlinking boards of directors, serve a hierarchy of wealth and power, and are based on exclusion rather than participation, this does not quality as a full P2P process.

P2P can be a partial element of another process; or it can be a full process. For examples, the technological and collaborative infrastructure build around P2P principles, may enable non-P2P processes. In the example just above it is the infrastructure of Empire, but it can also enables new types of marketplaces, gift/sharing economy practices, Exchanging Foreign currencies such as Winngie, sharing your car like Uber, or your house Airbnb.  Where P2P is a full process, we will argue that it is a form of communal shareholding producing a new type of Commons.”

Quoted from Michel Bauwens.

Read more