Virtual Currency with myCRED and BadgeOS

Tollar Virtual Currency image

Today, I created my own Virtual Currency. I show you how to start yours by installing myCRED and BadgeOS. These are two WordPress plugins that support creation of virtual currencies.

I need to integrate social networking in my online business model. I believe a virtual currency can support social networking by rewarding activities that benefit the group. Those activities also help learning and support by inspiring hands-on interaction. Finally, the virtual currency is a flexible alternative to real money so that profitability can be maintained whilst offering discounts for active members.

This is my first step towards offering learning and help through social networks, as an alternative to paying directly for courses and support contracts. Thus, I engage the widest audience, where members can chose to :

  • Contribute time as they learn
  • Contribute cash for direct help
  • Any mix of the two

Here is a quick guide to installing 2 plugins that are at the heart of administering my virtual currency. I will focus mainly on myCRED here. Later, I will cover the details of BadgeOS beyond simple plugin installation.

Since myCRED uses BadgeOS, I install BadgeOS first, though it can be added anytime.

BadgeOS Installation

BadgeOS installation is standard, except for one small detail.

Install as you would for any WordPress plugin by:

  1. Enter BadgeOS in the search box at Admin-Plugins-Add New. To make it easier, you can just paste the following onto the end of the browser URL when you are browsing your home page:/wp-admin/plugin-install.php?tab=search&s=BadgeOS&plugin-search-input=Search+Plugins
  2. Install from the list or by clicking ‘Details’ link, then Install Now, or click ‘Install Now’ link
  3. Click Activate link after plugin has installed

The small detail that makes this plugin install slightly different, is that you will now see a message:
Note: Credly Integration is turned on, but you must first enter your Credly credentials to allow earned badges to be shared by recipients (or Disable Credly Integration to hide this notice).

I will cover Credly Integration in my next post, so please ignore it for now, and let’s get on with myCRED installation.

myCRED Installation

Repeat the standard WordPress plugin installation routine for myCRED. You can find it quickly by pasting this link to the end of your home page URL:
/wp-admin/plugin-install.php?tab=search&s=myCRED&plugin-search-input=Search+Plugins

Now, when you Activate, you will see:
myCRED needs your attention. Run Setup

You cannot use myCRED until you complete the setup, but first consider some of the features you might need. I am only going to cover common basics here. If you have complex requirements, you have at least 3 sources of help:

  1. Ask in Shrewdies Website Support Network
  2. Ask in the Author’s myCRED support forum
  3. Ask in WordPress plugin repository myCRED support

It pays to think carefully about how you will operate myCRED as your internal currency system before you run the Setup process. Most parameters can be changed later, but the number of decimals cannot be changed. I believe that you have most flexibility by using the default setting of 2 decimal points, which is what most of us are familiar with. However, if you want to keep it simple with just whole numbers, you must decide now.

Tollar Virtual Currency imageYou will also have to think of a currency name, if you do not want to use the default ‘Points.’ You might want to choose a name that fits the subject of your website. I’ve opted for Tollars, a simple contraction of Keith Taylor Dollars ( T ). This makes it generic enough so that I can use myCRED across several websites, which is a useful feature built into myCRED’s Remote API.

myCRED initial Setup

The myCRED ‘Run Setup’ link invokes a simple wizard that prompts you for the following information:

myCRED Setup Step 1 / 3 – Points
Numeric punctuation, e.g. comma for thousands, period for decimals, and number of decimals if required. Number of decimals cannot be changed after setup. Points name and symbol, if you require your own virtual currency.
myCRED Setup Step 2 / 3 – Security
Security option defaults are usually acceptable, unless you have non-standard WordPress roles.
myCRED Setup Step 3 / 3 – Confirmation
Confirm your settings, or ignore this to run startup later.

At this stage, your myCRED installation is ready, but will not do anything until you:

  • Setup Hooks to determine which actions add and deduct points, or…
  • Setup Add-ons to determine how points can be bought and used, or…
  • Your mixture of both of the above

Your personal requirements will determine which Hooks and Add-ons you need, and how to configure them. I will describe my settings in later posts, with explanations of the circumstances they apply to.

For simple commercial systems, you can probably omit badges completely, and just focus on payment and spending configuration for myCRED points. For non-commercial social network systems, you can focus on badges, quests, and achievements. I will use myCRED as a hub for social learning networks and for commercial support services. I will explain how you can configure these plugins, and other Add-ons, in forthcoming posts.

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Do you need virtual currency with myCRED? Will you use basic myCRED Badge Add-on, or extend features with BadgeOS. If you need advice now, please tell me what you want from virtual currency.

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