ITEM Standard: A proposed method to identify tokenized business inventories and services, on the blockchain.

A proposed method to identify tokenized business inventories and services on the blockchain:

  1. The “tokenID” of any business inventory or quantified service would be “ITEM”.
  2. The “name” field would be the most generic and universal name of the item or service.
  3. The “description” field would represent detail such as brand or SKU of the item or service
  4. The “What” field would include metadata indicating industry specific information such as SKU, unit of measure, link to the business page, etc.
  5. The “Where” field would include metadata indicating city, state, country, zip
  6. The ‘What Price” field would include the currency sign and the price in that currency.

The blockchain-agnostic ITEM standard seeks to achieve information about What is available, Where, at What Price in order to build Information Currency. The goal of these standards is first to create a discoverable marketplace.

Further, the Item Banc team has been working since 2018 to create relative value information to markets. This information at base is intended to be a safety net as inflated currencies fail to deliver fair value to markets. Our first dApp focused on the relative value of fourteen basic human need items in 110 countries. Human validator teams in these countries entered information in the database. The Item Banc Engine algorithms compared these baskets of goods by country in order to create valuation to currency. The business model rewards human validators with tokens, which can be redeemed in turn for information from the Engine.

If you would like to participate in the project or have a voice related to the proposed standard, please comment, or write

To read more about Information Currency, check out my book, The Language of Value, published in 2022.

item banc vacation

Item Banc’s Valuation Technology for Smarter Travel Budgeting

International travel is a thrilling experience, but navigating fluctuating exchange rates and unfamiliar price points can create budget anxiety. Travelers frequently overestimate or underestimate the true cost of goods and services abroad, leading to financial surprises and suboptimal spending decisions. Item Banc’s valuation technology offers a solution, empowering travelers with actionable insights for more predictable and stress-free vacations.

item banc vacation

The Volatility Problem: Why Currencies Make Budgeting Hard

Traditional reliance on currency exchange rates for travel budgeting presents several limitations:

  • Inherent Instability: Exchange rates are inherently volatile, influenced by a wide array of factors including macroeconomic trends, geopolitical events, and speculative market forces. Rates can change significantly between when a trip is booked and the actual travel dates.
  • Lack of Tangibility: Even with up-to-date exchange rates, travelers often struggle to intuitively grasp the true purchasing power of their currency in a foreign destination. This leads to uncertainty and can result in overly conservative spending habits.
  • Hidden Costs: Travelers routinely encounter hidden costs in the form of currency conversion fees, ATM charges, and merchant markups on foreign transactions. These opaque costs further erode the predictability of a travel budget.

How Item Banc’s BHN Baseline Changes the Game

Item Banc’s technology disrupts conventional budgeting by introducing a set or basket of Basic Human Needs (BHN) items derived into indices as a universal benchmark for value. This curated basket of essential goods, spanning categories like food, basic building materials, hygiene products, and more, calculated into indices establishes a globally consistent point of comparison.

Here’s how it functions:

  • Global BHN Price Network: Item Banc’s decentralized network of validators continuously collects and verifies local prices for BHN goods in various currencies across the globe. This establishes a real-time map of relative costs for the things people need to survive.
  • Purchasing Power Parity in Action: Item Banc incorporates economic principles like Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) to translate and analyze BHN price data. PPP allows for a more meaningful comparison between currencies by factoring in the relative cost of living in different locations.
  • Travel-Centric Applications: The core valuation data is translated into user-friendly tools. Imagine a mobile app that shows the “BHN equivalent” for various trip expenses –– hotel rates, restaurant prices, transportation, or even specific goods you might want to buy.

Illustrative Scenario:

Consider a traveler from the US planning a trip to Thailand. Item Banc’s technology could provide insights like:

  • Real Purchasing Power: A basket of BHN goods in Bangkok might have the PPP equivalent of $50 USD. This indicates what a traveler’s daily spending power truly is, irrespective of fluctuating USD/THB exchange rates.
  • Price Comparisons: A meal priced at ฿1000 Thai Baht is roughly equivalent to $25 USD in terms of BHN purchasing power. This simplifies decision-making and helps identify expensive outliers
  • Budgeting with Confidence: The traveler can set a “BHN budget” with the assurance that their spending aligns with expectations, regardless of short-term currency movements.

Potential Disruptions for the Travel Industry

Item Banc’s technology holds the potential to reshape various aspects of the travel industry:

  • Tour Pricing Transparency: Travel packages could be priced in BHN terms alongside traditional currencies, giving consumers a clearer picture of the true value they are getting relative to other destinations.
  • Destination Attractiveness: Travelers might become more sensitive to the BHN cost of living in certain locations, influencing destination choices beyond conventional “expensive” or “cheap” labels.
  • Local Service Valuation: Local service providers (guides, drivers, etc.) could utilize BHN comparisons to advocate for fairer compensation, especially in destinations where currency devaluations may not be fully reflected in traditional pricing.

Limitations and the Road Ahead:

  • Validator Network: Item Banc’s system’s accuracy and robustness depend on a widely distributed and reliable validator network.
  • User Adoption: Widespread adoption of BHN budgeting may require shifts in consumer behavior and new tools that seamlessly integrate with existing travel planning platforms.


Item Banc’s approach stands to empower travelers with a new kind of financial clarity. Its focus on tangible measures of value reduces currency-related stress,  encourages informed spending, and ultimately makes for more relaxed and enjoyable travel experiences.

Is Buying Local Really Cheaper? Redefining "Cost" with Item Banc's Valuation Engine

Is Buying Local Really Cheaper? Redefining “Cost” with Item Banc’s Valuation Engine

The “buy local” movement has gained significant traction in recent years. Its proponents cite advantages like supporting local economies, environmental sustainability, and potentially fresher produce. One often-assumed advantage is cost – the perception that locally sourced goods inherently equal lower prices. However, a deeper economic analysis reveals this isn’t always the case. Item Banc’s first-of-its-kind global parity valuation engine offers a framework to re-evaluate the true cost of “local” and the factors influencing this cost beyond just geographical proximity.

Traditional Price Formation: Limitations and Distortions

In conventional market models, the price of a good is determined by the intersection of supply and demand. Local markets often see constrained supply, potentially leading to inflated prices despite reduced transportation costs. Moreover, factors like:

  • Input Costs: Land values, labor wages, and local regulations strongly influence the cost of production, often varying substantially between regions.
  • Market Inefficiencies: Smaller local markets might lack robust competition, potentially keeping prices higher than they would be in more competitive environments.
  • Hidden Costs: Local products may contain less tangible costs externalities like reduced carbon emissions or ethical labor practices. These are rarely reflected in the price tag compared to cheaper mass-produced alternatives.

Item Banc’s BHN Baseline: Price Transparency Beyond Currency

Item Banc’s valuation engine introduces a new lens by establishing a baseline anchored in Basic Human Need (BHN) products. This curated set of essential goods (food staples, basic building materials, etc.) becomes a universal reference point for value. By tracking BHN product prices across various locations, Item Banc sheds light on:

  • True Purchasing Power: What quantity of BHN goods can a given currency purchase in different locations? This reveals the real cost of living, independent of fluctuating currency exchange rates.
  • Comparative Production Costs: If producing a BHN item is significantly more expensive in one area versus another, those costs are likely to be passed on to other locally produced goods, even if they are not directly within the BHN category.
  • Localized Distortions: Item Banc’s data can expose regional price anomalies in BHN products themselves. This could indicate market inefficiencies, logistical bottlenecks, or artificial price controls.

Case Studies: When “Local” Isn’t Synonymous with “Cheaper”

For illustrative purposes, let’s consider hypothetical scenarios inspired by real-world situations:

  • The Urban Farm Stand: A farmer’s market in a major city might offer seemingly “expensive” organic produce. However, an Item Banc analysis could reveal that considering that region’s higher land and labor costs, those prices are closer to the true cost of BHN goods compared to an imported, conventionally farmed alternative.
  • The Island Community: Limited production capabilities and high shipping costs often make essential goods more expensive in island locations. Item Banc makes this tangible – would “buying local” save residents money if their local production is priced significantly higher than the BHN baseline?
  • Manufactured Goods: A locally-made garment might be more expensive than a similar mass-produced import. Yet, Item Banc’s insights could factor in ethical labor standards not always accounted for in traditional pricing models. 

Empowering Consumer Choice: Beyond Simple Price Tags

Item Banc doesn’t aim to declare whether “local” is definitively cheaper or more expensive. Rather, it democratizes valuation information. Consumers equipped with this knowledge can make more informed choices factoring in:

  • Affordability relative to Real Income: Is a local product within reach given the true purchasing power in that location?
  • Value Alignment: Are a consumer’s values (sustainability, community support) reflected in a seemingly “higher” local price?
  • Opportunity Costs: Does buying a less expensive imported good create hidden costs, potentially reflected in future BHN price fluctuations?

Conclusion: Rethinking Value

The simple question, “Is buying local cheaper?” holds unexpected complexity. Item Banc’s valuation engine helps move beyond simplistic answers toward nuanced economic understanding. It empowers consumers, businesses, and policymakers to consider factors beyond immediate price tags, fostering a fairer and more transparent marketplace.