As more and more people begin to use Bitcoin, the adoption of digital wallets continues to be on an uptick around the world. And just when we become familiar with the notion of storing value in a virtual wallet that can live on various devices, enter a new type of virtual wallet - the time wallet. Able to store units of time as currency, the time wallet is a new idea looking to find its place in society.

Time is money

Have you ever heard the term ‘timebank’ before? What about ‘timebanking’? If not, no worries, you are not alone. The concepts of a timebank and timebanking may be just as foreign to many of you as the concept of Bitcoin and blockchain technology is to others. Allow me to give you my Millennial, short attention span version of what a timebank is.

A timebank is essentially an exchange system where members of a community trade units of time for services. In this system, time becomes currency. Anyone using the system is able to offer their skills, talents, expertise and genius to other members in exchange for more time. Then, that earned time can be spent to obtain the services of others. Got that?

Here is a real world example. Let’s use the famous Alice and Bob placeholder names that are so common in Bitcoin presentations.

Alice is in the gift card business and she wants to learn more about how blockchain technology can be applied to her business. She goes to a timebank marketplace, searches for ‘blockchain technology’ and notices that Bob is selling a 1-hour blockchain consulting service. Alice decides to spend one of the hours she earned from doing graphic design work for another member on Bob’s consulting service. Bob provides the service, earns an extra hour in his time wallet, and then decides to spend his hour on Carol’s local dog walking service.

Who’s timebanking now?

The example above is based on a community of people who freely exchange their talents and expertise where the currency is time. This is quite an intriguing concept and may be worth your ‘time’ to further acquaint yourself with. It should be noted that the idea of timebanking is not a new one and in fact, similar use cases to the aforementioned are happening right now.

One company exploring this very type of time-based sharing economy is TimeRepublik. TimeRepublik is an online timebanking marketplace designed to allow anyone to easily get value from their spare time.

Can you imagine a new alternative market economy where people globally transact using an alternative currency not backed by a government? Hmmmm, sounds familiar. Only this market economy is not Bitcoin. This market economy runs parallel to Bitcoin, and its currency is built into the very fabric of life - time.

Time is fungible. It is the same for everyone. There are a set number of hours in the day and how each one of us spends that time is what makes us different. What sites like TimeRepublik are doing is making it easier to transact locally and worldwide with the value of time. Because after all, time cannot be bought; it can only be exchanged.