Social TRade Organisation (STRO)
Cyclos is a project of a network of Social TRade Organisations from Latin America and Europe.
STRO’s objective is to move money as a major steering mechanism in society from causing environmental abuse and preventing many poor to optimise their capacities, to become an instrument that serves a qualitative human development. The first STRO was founded in 1970 in Holland. Social trade promotes the opportunity for communities to optimise the circulation of purchasing power in their community. Using the Social Trade methods the potential of the community can be optimised based on the community’s culture with respect for the environment. People involved in realising the Social TRade targets are working from local offices in Porto Alegre (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay) and Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Utrecht (Holland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Murcia (Spain).
STRO picks up the challenge described by Bank of England’s governor Mervyn King: “Is it possible that advances in technology will mean that (…) the world may come to resemble a pure exchange economy? Electronic transactions in real time hold out that possibility. There is no reason, in principle, why final settlements could not be carried out by the private sector without the need for clearing through the central bank. (…) There is no conceptual obstacle to the idea that two individuals engaged in a transaction could settle by a transfer of wealth from one electronic account to another in real time. (…) The same system could match demands and supplies of financial assets, determine prices and make settlements. Financial assets and real goods and services would be priced in terms of a unit of account. Final settlement could be made without any recourse to the central bank.(…) Without such a role in settlements, central banks, in their present form, would no longer exist; nor would money.”
Cyclos solutions for social impact
The objective of the Social Trade Organisation is to provide a free (or low cost) platform that can be used by different organisations and institutions that are aiming on social economic impact. Cyclos supports a wide variety of implementations.
Banks in developing countries
Cyclos allows local and regional banks to compete with big international banks, because Cyclos allows them to provide cost effective state of the art on-line banking, sms banking, POS and mobile banking services. This contributes to a more diverse banking sector which makes it stronger and more competitive. Regional banks are also known to invest more money in the region contributing directly to the country's economic growth instead of international speculation.
Because of Cyclos barters can easily be set up at low cost, the barter doesn't have to invest heavily in expensive software. Research shows that Barters can be very beneficial to a countries economy in times when capital is scarce, making countries more resilient in times of economic crises. The reason behind this is simple. When the economy suddenly contracts enterprises still have products or services to offer, but not enough customers. Even if company A wants to buy a product from company B and company B wants to buy a product from company A, often the money (or credit) is missing to enable trade. A barter helps these companies to trade with each other through the barter network.
Campus card systems
Education plays a crucial role in the development of a country. Campus card systems are quite expensive and usually require considerable external expertise and support. Cyclos permits installing and maintaining a Campus card system with local know-how. For more information about the Campus card system click here.
Cyclos reliefs these organizations almost completely of their administrative burden and helps people to find the services they want, allowing these organizations to flourish. Because timebanks and LETS encourage people in the local community to help each other, Cyclos helps here to strengthen the local social cohesion.
Micro finance institutions
A big drawback of micro finance is that the amount of money that is brought into circulation into a region is considerable smaller than the amount of money that is taken out of circulation when the loan is repaid, because of the high interest rates charged. Cyclos can be used to to supply loans digital, keeping the 'real' money on a savings account. The money can only be converted after a certain time or with a certain fee for example. In this way the loan can be provided on a lower interest rate and the tools in Cyclos can stimulate the money to circulate longer in the region contributing to more sustainable economic growth.
Because of the ‘low level’ access channels such as SMS Cyclos is an ideal solution for remittances programs. Currently the cost of remittances are very high and only a part of the money meant for the family of the migrants can reach them. Cyclos can help to reduce these costs.