Earlier this year I spent 6 weeks traveling in the UK, France and Germany. Knowing that CES is global, I was keen to use my credit in whatever way I could, so I did some research before I left to prepare for it. I hope this story helps others use their credit internationally and in doing so, help build up the system.
NITE is a way CES credit-holders can travel the world and find accommodation. It is an exchange in itself, and is described on its CES homepage:
The ‘currency’ of this exchange is called a Nite. One Nite is the basic unit of value and account. Its value is one night of the most basic form of accommodation: a couch for a night using your own sleeping bag and without meals or any extras. Any extras such as breakfast and a proper bed can be expressed in terms of thse basic Nite units. At the current time, one Nite is approximately equivalent to USD $28. More complex accommodation offerings can thus be expressed in terms of units of about USD$28.
The best first step to getting familiar with NITE is (unfortunately) on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/716894585184048/about/ Alternatively, sign up and open an account and then learn more:
I’m not aware of other information, although there may be YouTube videos about it.
On the NITE exchange I can search for accommodation offerings all over the world. The technology is all there ready to be used and really it’s quite wonderful. I found a lovely offer in southern England and corresponded, but location and timing didn’t work out.
I have to thank two people most of all for helping me find ways to use my credit in the UK and Europe; Kathryn Spencer, the NITE contact person in Australia, and Mary Fee the LETSLink Organiser in the UK. Katheryn did a sterling job sending me information about exchanges local to my destinations, but none were active. Mary Fee also went the extra mile sending out messages and we got some offers, of which one in Wales worked out. My cousin and I were hosted by a formerly very active admin member of a nearby exchange who was a font of literary, economic and cultural information. We only stayed a night, but it was friendly, comfortable and a delight. We offered to help with some housework, but in the end she didn’t charge us anything because she wasn’t a member of NITE and just ‘let it go’, as it were. I encouraged her to join and debit my account later.
You may be wondering why I needed help with bookings. The reason for Katheryn and Mary’s help is because people need prodding. That is not ideal at all. In my opinion this points to the need for active members in these exchanges to build the social support systems for traders, and for those active members to be supported by the exchange in return. It is, afterall, creating a new economy model in practice, and people have to learn how to use it, both technologically and psychologically. Other reasons for the hibernation of exchange groups in Europe is pointed to by Matt Slater and Tim Jenkins in their White Paper on the Credit Commons:
“collaborative credit groups are not growing because the skills of cooperation and feelings of solidarity are thinly spread, and in many cases the groups don’t see their own potential as part of a wider network…”
Londonwide.letslink.org for example is a separate platform to CES which requires its own maintenance staff and yet does the same thing, so there is no technical reason for doubling.
Simon Cole, President. October, 2018