Community Currency

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Community currencies try to answer specific societal needs. Community currencies are complementary currencies limited to a specific community. This could be geographical (local currencies), but also business-based or even online. They are specifically designed to meet the needs of a specific group and aim explicitly at contributing to more equal and sustainable societies. The idea behind this type of currency is thus to redesign money in order for it to better serve the society and the environment. Their design varies in function of their purpose; different purposes are identified by Community Currencies in Action :

1. Democratizing services and organizations

Community currencies can be a cost-effective tool to bring people actively into the process of solving the needs of their community. Example: time credits for volunteering encourage people to actively engage in their community while making services, such as elderly care more democratic. (Zeitvorsoge, Makkie)

2. Supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) economy

Community currencies can serve as a means to promote independent shops over large corporations since they keep on circulating locally. They can also help SMEs support each other financially by lending and receiving credit, goods and services within the currency network. Finally, introducing a community currency allows raising people’s awareness of their consumer behavior and can improve community cohesion. Local currencies are an example of this.
(Bristol Pound, SoNantes, TradeQoin, Chiemgauer, Berkshares, Brixton Pound)

3. Countering inequality and social exclusion

Specially designed currencies can address inequality issues by giving everyone the chance to get involved in their community; for instance by rewarding participation in voluntary programs. (Spice Time Credits, Makkie)

4. Addressing environmental impacts

Community currencies can play a role in better valuation of environmental resources and incentivizing more sustainable behavior. The Belgian e-Portemonnee for instance rewards residents for environmentally positive actions such as composting. Reward currencies can also encourage businesses to adopt more environmentally sound practices.


Wall Street Journal – Barcelona Party Pledges to Print Money

Forbes – Why Local Currencies Could be on the Rise in the USA and Why it Matters

City of God’s Money: The Rebirth of Rio’s First Favela Community Currency

Local Money in the United States During the Great Depression

You Need Never Use a Bank Again, Here’s Why

New Economics Foundation – Community Currencies Research

Bristol Pound – Our City, Our Money

Brixton Pound – The Money that Sticks to Brixton

Community Currencies in Action

The Guardian – The Innovators: The Bristol Pound is Giving Sterling a Run for its Money

The Guardian – English Mayor to Take Salary in Community Currency

The Guardian – Local Currencies the German Way: The Chiemgauer

The Guardian – Could community currencies produce a more sustainable financial system?

The Guardian – A maverick currency scheme from the 1930s could save the Greek economy

The Guardian – Brixton banks on community currency to boost local economy

The Guardian – How community currencies could help rebalance our economy

Voice of America – Nairobi Residents Turn to Community Currency

Ithaca keeping local currency home for the holidays

International Journal of Community Currency Research – Stamp Scrip in the Great Depression: Lessons for Community Currency for Today?

International Journal of Community Currency Research – Tax Anticipation Scrip as a form of Local Currency in the USA During the 1930’s

The Wörgl Experiment: Austria (1932-1933) – Local Currency

Wall Street Journal – Cash-Strapped California’s IOUs: Just the Latest Sub for Dollars

Scrip Money and Slump Cures: Iowa’s Experiments With Alternative Currency During the Great Depression

LA Times – Local currencies cash in on recession

Reason – The Privacy Currency and Swap Shop of Yellow Springs, Ohio

Bloomberg – The Rise of the Barter Economy

University of Oklahoma – Local Scrip in the USA During the 1930s: Lessons for Today?

University of Central Oklahoma – Local money in the US during the Great Depression

USA Today – Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

Chilton Capital Management – A License to Print Money

Iowa Stamp Scrip: Economic Experimentation in Iowa Communities during the Great Depression

Quest University Canada – Micro finance without the finance: the possibility of scrip-based development funding

Tax Anticipation Scrip During the Great Depression

CNN – UK town launches its own currency

The Lewes Pound [United Kingdom]

BBC – Lewes launches its own currency

Sheffield Telegraph – Innovative bid to give Sheffield its own currency

Huffington Post – Bringing People Together Through Money? Community Currency and Local Exchanges

Slate – It’s Like Money, but With No Dead Presidents

Resilience – Announcing the Community Currency Knowledge Gateway

Bank of England: Banknotes, local currencies and central bank objectives

International Monetary Fund – Municipalities and neighborhood organizations establish local currencies to invigorate their communities (Page 26)

BBC – The Italian town that legally gives fake money to migrants

From bes to Bitcoin: alternative currencies in the ancient Roman world

Mumbuca, Brazil’s State-Aid Currency Booming on Local Level

NPR – Venezuelan City Launches Its Own Currency Amid Cash Crunch


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