Frequently Asked Questions

  • Meaning and Calculation of Whuffie.
    • What does the term Whuffie mean?
      It was coined by Cory Doctorow, a famous blogger and science fiction writer that used the term on his novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdon. In this work, he refers to a reputation based currency under the name Whuffie. Later on, this word was commonly used to refer to social capital, in the sense of a persons' reputation or influence within a social network. A clear example of this, is Tara Hunt's book The Whuffie Factor where she explores how important it is to improve your whuffie (by doing good and well unto others) to improve the awareness of a brand or yourself in the net.

    • How is Whuffie calculated?
      Our work consists on improving the calculation of whuffie to properly represent a value for reputation. The Whuffie Bank won't take into consideration popularity or influence, although these variables may help to increase the whuffie of a person. The algorithm currently considers these aspects:
      1. Detects Public Endorsements — Each time a message you put on Twitter gets retweeted that's considered a positive endorsement for you.
      2. Measures Level of Influence — A person that's constantly retweeting others will be spreading the impact of his influence among many people. On the other side, if a person retweets a message once in a while, that will have a bigger impact.
      3. Considers Existing Reputation of Members — Being endorsed by a Whuffie-rich person will have a stronger impact than being endorsed by an average user.
      4. Analyzes Content of Messages — When message with a link gets retweeted, it's usually because of the content in that link rather than the person itself. So when someone gets retweeted for something they exclusively said, that will have a bigger impact on the algorithm.

    • Which are the supported Social Networks?
      The goal of The Whuffie Bank is to support as many social networks as possible. We have started with the support for Twitter and plan to evolve on including Facebook, FriendFeed, Digg and any reputation driven interactive space online.

    • What inputs does the Whuffie Bank consider for each Social Network?
      It varies according to the network and the kind of activity that occurs within it. For Twitter, The Whuffie Bank scans all the daily messages that contain the expressions "RT", "Retweeting" or "via" that refer to another person. Retweets that have links are less relevant than retweets that don't.

    • How can I make my Whuffie increase in value?
      If you're not active in the supported social networks, we suggest that you start using them more often. Your whuffie score is essentially based on how relevant your messages are to the people you're connected with. If it's low, it could be because your actions are relevant to a reduced amount of people or you're connected to very few people. Try increasing your reputation by doing or saying things that matter to others. Unlike capital, reputation is never under the control of a single individual, it always depends on your peers.

    • Why does my Whuffie Salary go down?
      A big number of whuffie gets distributed among all the members of The Whuffie Bank. When you receive WHF+ or get retweeted on Twitter, your whuffie value will increase, and someone else's whuffie value will decrease. If you stop being active on Twitter or other supported social networks, then your whuffie value will decrease and someone else will get a bigger share. Keep a close look to your whuffie daily and try to see what did you do that day that made it go up or down.

    • How can I increase the Whuffie of another person?
      You can either access his account on The Whuffie Bank and click on the "Give Whuffie" button, or do it directly from the social network you use. On Twitter, by either tweeting "WHF # @username" or retweeting a specific message, you will increase the whuffie of the person you mention.

    • What does WHF mean?
      It's a special code that you can use directly on Twitter or other messaging services supported by The Whuffie Bank. Our goal is that you can easily make use of the whuffie economy without necessarily having to access our website. So each time you write "WHF # to @username" (replace # for a numeric value), you'll be spending your Whuffie on that person.

    • Does The Whuffie Bank consider inputs from the real world (ie: credit score)?
      As the efficiency and credibility of The Whuffie Bank evolves, we certainly would like to include values from the physical world to make the advantage of a reputation based economy accessible to every individual. We are very serious about the potential of a reputation based economy and how it can shake the current economic principles in order to build a better society among men and women. That's why we have built The Whuffie Bank as a non-profit organization with the commitment of smart individuals in many fields doing research and development on technology, economics and science.

  • The Organization and Values of The Whuffie Bank.
    • Why is The Whuffie Bank a non-profit organization?
      To achieve the purpose of granting a reputation-based economy, we felt that commercial incentives should not guide The Whuffie Bank. We want to build an organization exclusively focused on building efficient reputation algorithms that's capable of bringing credibility and trust on them. In the same spirit Creative Commons pursues to change the relation of us with our ideas by changing copyright, The Whuffie Bank aims to change the relation we have with our values by changing money.

    • How does The Whuffie Bank finance itself?
      Like any non-profit organization, through the donation of individuals and other organizations. The Whuffie Bank was founded and is currently supported by Popego, an artificial intelligence software company; Atommica, a software development studio; Aconcagua Ventures, a venture capital firm and Livra, an online market research company. All these companies share the same values for building technology that can help the world become a better place. Also, The Whuffie Bank counts with support and ideas from students of MIT and Stanford.

    • What's the vision and statement of this organization?
      We want to be very clear of our goals, that's why instead of seeing our logo in our home page, you will see our mission statement: "In a world where reputation is wealth, only those who do good and well unto others are the richest". That's the social change we want to achieve through the use of a new kind of currency as the whuffie.

    • How many people work in the organzation?
      Right now, a team of 5 is working on building The Whuffie Bank. In alphabetical order: Martin Añazco, Martin Conte Mac Donell, Emiliano Kargieman, Diego Meller and Santiago Siri.

  • The Whuffie Economy.
    • Do printed Whuffie bills exist?
      We believe that printing bills will help the idea of the whuffie economy to have an impact beyond the virtual sphere that is the internet. We are currently researching on what would be the best method to start building a physical currency that you can eventually use anywhere on the world. Security is a very important issue regarding printed bills and that's why only governments are capable of financing secure printed bills. Yet, we are still considering alternatives that could take the whuffie to the next logical step.

    • Why do I get a Whuffie Salary?
      Based on your calculated reputation from your online activity on social networks, we established a dynamic salary that increases or decreases according to your reputation. If you open an account on The Whuffie Bank, you'll start accumulating this salary on your account and be able to spend it any way you want to.

    • What is the relation between Whuffie and other currencies (dollar, pound, euro, etc)?
      We are very cautious of inflation and other issues that may have a negative impact on the value of the whuffie. Yet, the currency value in relation to others is something that the market alone can answer.

  • The Technology and Applications of The Whuffie Bank.
    • Are there any mobile applications for Whuffie exchange (iPhone, Blackberry, etc)?
      We have on the horizon the idea of building a mobile application that will enable you to use your whuffie freely with friends and other members of The Whuffie Bank. But our development efforts are currently focused on the transparency, scalability and performance of our algorithm.

    • Is there an Official API of The Whuffie Bank?
      Yes. We foresee many possibile applications that could make good use of the whuffie economy online, and this can easily be enabled by the API. If you're a developer and you use it, please contact us and let us know when your application is ready. The api documentation is here by the way.