Document Coin follows in the footsteps of Bitcoin, but uses personal reputation to keep transactions in order.

Photo Credit: © Gstudio Group - Fotolia.com

Photo Credit: © Gstudio Group - Fotolia.com

Bitcoin completely changed the realm of currency by turning monetary transactions into a completely virtual experience, and free of government regulations. J. Chris Anderson hopes to do something similar with Document Coin. 

Anderson is the co-founder and chief software architect at Couchbase, and hopes to take digital currency to the next level. With Document Coin, pure mathematics won't be completely relied on to ensure, for example, that the same person isn't spending the same money twice. Instead, it will rely on personal reputation to keep everything in order. Additionally, each unit will have a different value in different situations. For example, a coin might be worth more if used in one place than another. Anderson hopes this will help in getting people to rethink the way currency is used. 

Also, Document Coin will be available that anyone that wants to create it, at any time. This is quite different from Bitcoin, which is rewarded only to those who are able to solve cryptographic puzzles. With Document Coin, the value of each coin will be subjective to who created it and why. 

"For example, the coin my disco singer friend created and gave me at my barbeque might be what gets me past the rope at the club,” Anderson said. “It’s a bit like a combination of a social network with baseball trading.”

Anderson's goal is to get people questioning the idea that everything needs to have a preset numeric value, as well as the social implications of crypto-currencies. 

“If bitcoin is the toy version of what we’ll all be using the future, then I want to build the crazy art project version of the future,” he said.

Ultimately, each new Document Coin will cryptographically unique with two parts -- encrypted data that can only be seen by the owner, and a set of public data. To transfer a coin, a copy of the original would be created with new cryptographic data so that the new owner can access it. Each coin a person spends will be associated with their own public key, so if a coin is used twice, it could damage the value placed on the coins created and/or used by that person.

Anderson is currently working on a prototype using Couchbase, but he notes this is not an official company project.