First there was MP3 swapping. Then people started to trade CDs and DVDs. What's next? How about exchanging some of that spare money from your last vacation?

That's exactly what Moneytwins.com is trying to facilitate. The site wants to pair people up to trade currencies without hefty bank surcharges. You can make an offer, look for open trades and close deals with people all around the world. Well, theoretically at least. Most people are a little wary of money transfers initiated by African dictators by now, which is why Moneytwins is suggesting to trade with folks in your community. They also have some sort of trust score built into the system, which supposedly prevents you from running down to the harbor at night with 10.000 dollars in your pocket. Or so.

This sounds like a great concept. Not just for those funny bills left over from your last vacation, but also for the increasing amount of transnational families and their informal money transfers - a phenomenon that is also known as remittances. It is estimated that immigrants transfer up to 300 billion dollars back to their home countries every year.

Only a small amount of that is transfered by the traditional banking system. Specialized wire services, family businesses (sometimes even restaurants) and telecom companies are all involved in getting money over borders. A big concern for the people using these services are the oftentimes artifically set currency exchange rates. Now a lot of this money may seem to flow only in one direction. But I'm pretty confident that some sort of P2P money exchange - maybe in the country of fiscal origin - could help to reduce these costs significantly.

Will Moneytwins.com help to solve this problem? Probably not. The site tries to play in the big league, but it's clearly not equipped for that - yet, at least. It promises hundreds of available offers, but really only seems to have a hand full of active users. You run into server errors all the time, and the design doesn't really give you much confidence either.

Another point of concern is the business model. Moneytwins doesn't charge its users for their transactions and doesn't seem to have any ads either. I tried to get in touch with the company about this, but didn't get any feedback. Finally, their lack of postal contact or privacy policy doesn't really help to convince potential users to give up their private data in order to register.

Still, it's a great idea - and maybe one day someone will transform it into a profitable business.

Update: Moneytwins.com director Sieva Yourievitch clarified some details about his venture after this review was published. You can read the complete email interview here.