The following principles underly its design:
EDGE is a gift system, not a barter system.
Just as trees give fruit to humans, so animals fertilize trees with their droppings, which are broken down by other organisms whose feeding processeds them into a form in which useful to trees. Humans know very little of how microbes in the soil successfully signal one another and exchange micronutrients. The trees in a forest may appear to be separate, competing entities, but beneath the soil are interlinked by microbial webs which they use to give one another the nutrients they need. When they are dying, large trees use these webs to send out their nutrients to the next generation of trees nearby.
These signalling systems have allowed the natural world to manifest an astonishing abundance. Diverse organisms, like the cells in the human body, work together to maintain not only their own health, but that of the larger whole around them. They are constantly in touch with one another, managing to signal their needs and give their gifts without prices, markets, debts or money. All of life is a gift, and no species or individual can step out of the web of life and live apart from it. If cells in the human body become corrupted and start to self-maximise at the expense of others this is referred to as cancer.
EDGE needs no checks and balances to try to ensure reciprocity or fairness. To some this may seem like an omission, but such reminders of scarcity may act as barriers to the abundance of nature that the system is seeking to promote. Around 99% of people have a conscience anyway, so can understand the value of being fair in their dealings. On a deep level, they seek to be part of a functioning whole, a health society and a healthy planet.
To try to build in a system of checks and balances into the system risks complicating it unnecessarily or worse, promoting selfish thinking subtly cueing Market Mentality by replicating the very system to which EDGE seeks to offer an alternative. If some people decide that other levels are needed, they can be built on top of a simple basic system.
EDGE should be as simple as possible.
It must allow offers of gifts to flow freely between people in a decentralized fashion so that they can find the right person. If it is simple but extensible it can be act as a base for more advanced technologies, just as HTTP/HTML (the basic technologies behind WWW) which have proved simple enough for many technologies to be built on top of them.
From Person to Person
EDGE should have no single point of failure or control.
Like the internet itself, having no point though which all the information must flow shares the computational load and offers a defence against tampering or monitoring.