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Hasn’t this already been done?

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No. Not to our knowledge.

There are some fundamental technology issues which has made this possible only in recent years. We're pretty certain that nobody has solved the same set of problems we're addressing.

There are certainly related solutions, and we're trying to learn from those and/or incorporate them into what what we're building.

The normal approach to technology is actually to build closed systems (even for open source projects). For example, Cyclos is an open source currency platform. But every installation of Cyclos is itself a closed system with a small group of people who control access, make rules, charge fees, etc. You can build your own independent installation, but you can't participate in their system as an open currency. There's no protocol for interacting across different currencies or installation. They can change rules without your knowledge. And you don't own your data, they do.

The core capacities for software to not need to be managed as a closed system is pretty new, but is necessary if we want to make an even playing field for all participants in an economy.