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Engineering Human Cooperation: Networks, Cycles, and Money

George Iosifidis, SCSS/TCD
12-1pm  3rd Mar 2017


Novel monetary instruments, ranging from blockchain to decentralised credit systems, are facilitating human cooperation and trade. Using uncommon and complete data from Sardex, a new and successful community currency in Sardinia, we investigate the interplay between network structure and economic performance in this alternative economy. Leveraging new methods for quantifying “loop density” and “k-loop centrality,” we show that geodesic transaction loops of varying length (where money flows in a circle through the network) are prevalent and that certain nodes have a pivotal role in loops. We analyse the transactions within loops and find that the economic turnover of the involved firms is higher, and that excessive currency and debt accumulations are lower, especially in the lengthier loops. Both of these performance metrics are strong indicators of the success of such mutual credit systems, and this circulation of currency is an indicator of the trust of the community regarding the currency. The importance of quantifiable trading loops extends to other novel financial instruments and sharing economy applications.

Short Bio

George Iosifidis is the Ussher Assistant Professor in Future Networks, Trinity College Dublin. He obtained his M.Sc and Ph.D degrees from the ECE Department, University of Thessaly, Greece, in 2007 and 2012, respectively. He also holds an engineering Diploma in avionics and quality control. He worked as a Post-doctoral researcher at CERTH, Greece, and Yale university, for 2 years respectively. His research interests lie in the broad area of network optimisation and network economics with applications to wireless networks. Recent topics of focus are carrier-grade mobile data offloading and caching, edge-networking architectures, video delivery and green-networking in 5G systems, and sharing economy mechanisms.


Large Conference Room, O'Reilly Institute