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Active Local Currencies
Local Trade Partners
Rich Creyer, Co-Founder
P.O. Box 1641
1985 N. College Ave. Ste. C
Fayetteville, AR 72702
Currency: The trade dollars are a local currency in Arkansas that is equivalent in value to a dollar but only accepted by local businesses.
Participation: About $800,000 in trade dollars is circulating among more than 500 businesses.
Background: The trade dollar was invented in Arkansas in 2009 to prevent money from flowing out of the local economy and never returning. Trade dollars can only be used locally and require membership, ensuring a sealed system. Trade dollars are a hybrid between local currency and old-fashioned bartering.
P.O. Box 858
Eureka, CA 95502
First issue: January 2003
Currency: "Humboldt Community Currency" is a paper local currency in Eureka. Individual participants agree to accept half payment for their goods and services in a local currency made just for Humboldt. Many local businesses also accept Community Currency.
Participation: 67 businesses.
Information updated March 26, 2009
Richard McCarthy, Co-founder
200 Broadway Street, Suite 107
New Orleans, LA 70118
First issue: 2004
Currency: Crescents are a local currency in the form of wooden coins.
Participation: Over one million dollars in transactions has been generated in crescents so far.
Background: Crescents are used in farmers markets in New Orleans. They were invented when large numbers of shoppers wanted to make purchases in the form of debit cards. Since these weren't normally accepted at the markets farmers started selling crescents and accepting payment for them in card form. The crescents could then be used to purchase goods from the local farmers markets.
Tim Geller, President of Board
Susan Witt, Administrator
P.O. Box 125
Great Barrington, MA 01230
First issue: September 29, 2006
Currency: BerkShares are a paper currency printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 and are traded in the southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. They are distributed by local banks and are backed by federal dollars. They are purchased at $0.95 per BerkShare from the bank, spent at a value of $1 per BerkShare with participating individuals or businesses, and traded back for federal currency at $0.95 per BerkShare, providing a financial incentive for both individuals to get and spend them in the first place and for someone who has recieved BerkShares in a transaction to spend them again rather than return them for federal currency.
Participation: Approximately 400 regional businesses are formally participating and an additional 200 accept BerkShares on occassion. A total of 4.3 million BerkShares have been issued through 13 branches of five local banks since the program's launch. Approximately 150,000 BerkShares are currently in circulation.
Information updated July 2013
Stephanie Mills, President
Bill Palladino, Vice President
P.O. Box 1951
Traverse City, MI 49685-1951(231)995-9680
1st issue: November 7, 2005. $300 “limited edition” issue at the Great
Lakes Bioneers Conference in Traverse City on October 14-16th 2005.
Currency: Bay Bucks are paper scrip tied to the dollar, in denominations of BB1, BB5, BB10 and BB20. Approximately $13,000 disbursed as of January 1, 2007. Six Membership levels (individual, nonprofit, government, biz I, II & III) are available, with Membership fees range from $20 to $150. All members but individuals receive 2:1 Bay Bucks.
Participation: Bay Bucks has 125 members, including 95 businesses.
Outreach: Bay Bucks has a quarterly newsletter, and is hoping to fund a part-time outreach director.
Background: Bay Bucks are a project of the Traverse Area Community Currency Corporation, a non profit created for the purpose of providing trustworthy tools for local exchange. A team of volunteers worked for four years before seeing the first bill come off the press.
Information last updated March 9, 2007
First Issue: April 2009
Currency: There are two levels to the variety of retail participants. One, are those who simply accept Cheers as currency on a one to one with the US Dollar. The 3 Cheers note is worth 3 dollars; and change will be issued in us currency for purchases made with Cheers when the cost of the item is less. The second are those who issue the currency and are identified on the tail side of the bill. The commitment of those who issue is that they will always keep in cash reserve the amount of their issue. Confidence in the notes are equal to the trust you have in the people behind them. The notes are expensive to produce and are as real as money, please do not treat them as paper, do not take them if you are not going to spend them. A list of participating retailers is available online and at participating locations.
Information last updated July 2009
Background: The Brooklyn Torch project is a local currency project aimed at providing Brooklynites with a tangible medium of exchange that will circulate and support the resident community. The Brooklyn Torch project will be starting in North Brooklyn and is currently in the design and organizational phase.
Information last updated August 20, 2009
P.O. Box 6731
Ithaca, NY 14851
1st Issue: October 1991
Currency: The “original” Hour-based scrip, one Hour is the equivalent to $10. To date, approximately $100,000 in Ithaca Hours have been put into circulation, facilitating several million dollars worth in transactions.
Participation: Ithaca Hours has approximately 600 members (among a county population of 50,000), mostly individuals, but also large local businesses(such as food co-op, credit union, public library, hospital, bookstores, CD shop, farmer's market, beer retailer, wine shop, bowling alley, computer store, clothing stores, health club, internet service providers, graphicdesigners, landscapers, office supplies, printers, photographers, and many restaurants and coffeehouses). Membership costs $10 annually. Benefits include a listing in the annual Directory (10,000 copies circulated county-wide throughout the year) and an annual disbursement of two Ithaca Hours.
Outreach: 5000 copies of annual directory, with 1500+ listings, web site, festivals, personal visits, media coverage. Outreach programs include a grants program to community organizations and interest-free loans to businesses.
Background: Ithaca Hours is one of oldest and largest local currency systems in the world. It is recognized and utilized as an information resource byacademics, journalists, and currency organizations worldwide.
Information last updated March 9, 2007.
P.O. Box 1113
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Background: The Piedmont Local EcoNomy Tender (PLENTY) is a local currency that began circulating around the heart of the North Carolina Piedmont region in October 2002. In 2009, the currency was revamped and reissued.
Issuance: In cooperation with Pittsboro’s Capital Bank, anyone can exchange Federal Reserve Notes for PLENTY at a 1:1 exchange rate.
Information last updated July, 2009.
Portland Cascadia Hour Exchange
P.O. Box 8608
Portland, OR 97207
1st Issue: 1994
Participation: 100+ members (professional/business/hobbyists). Each new participant is issued 5 CHE hours.
Outreach: Monthly directory for members only, 100+ listings; monthly events such as auctions; and a web site, updated almost daily, which provides a copy of the CHE Directory and calendar of events.
Background: Cascadia Hours originated as barter-club in Eugene in 1993, branches developed and have operated independently in 3 different areas, including Portland. Portland acts as a cooperative, and has developed and expanded with no Federal Reserve cash budget. Corvallis HOUR Exchange
Christina Calkins, Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 1534
Corvallis, OR 97339
Press about Corvallis HOUR Exchange
1st issue: May 2002
2nd issue: May 2004
Currency: HOURS come in four denominations: 1 HOUR = $10, 1/2 HOUR = $5,
1/4 HOUR = $2.5, 1/8 HOUR = $1.25. Over 1,122 HOURS are in circulation as
of Spring 2007. Each member is issued two HOURS for listing (in a quarterly
newspaper directory), plus one HOURS for an annual renewal.
Participation: HOUR Exchange has 110 members, including 10 storefront businesses, 19 home businesses, and 6 farms.
Outreach: HOUR Exchange holds quarterly potluck gatherings and events and
uses word of mouth and media coverage to spread the word.
Background: The HOUR Exchange is an Oregon Non-profit organization
operated by a member elected Board of Trustees.
Information last updated March 12, 2007
Gorge Local Currency Cooperative (GLCC)
Theresa North, Steering Committee
993 Tucker Road, Suite A
Hood River, OR 97031
1st Issue: September 2004
Currency: RiverHOURS are primarily based on the Ithaca Hours system, and have three denominations: 1 HOUR = $10, 1/2 HOUR = $5, 1/10 HOUR = $1. The GLCC chose the Hours system for its local currency to emphasize the value of a person’s time. The GLCC focuses on the Columbia River Gorge region within a 35-mile radius from the center of the Hood River (Oregon) bridge. It contains portions of five counties in two states.
Outreach: The GLCC provides informational presentations for interested community groups and booths at numerous community festivals. Hispanic outreach is a top priority. There have already been articles in several local media outlets, both print and broadcast. In 2005 GLCC published its first trade directory with listings of all paid members.
Background: RiverHOURS began in fits and starts in 2001, and finally became a group dedicated enough to meet week after week and hammer out all the details beginning in August, 2003. By the spring of 2004, the GLCC had written and adopted its bylaws and began soliciting members of the community to participate. RiverHOURS will be officially launched as soon as the GLCC reaches at least 100 members. The GLCC's mission statement is, "The Gorge Local Currency Cooperative (GLCC) seeks to create and sustain a local currency system in order to build community, promote regional economic independence, support local business and trade, encourage entrepreneurship, honor diversity and enhance the local minimum wage in the Mid-Columbia region."
The Ardmore Initiative
Christine Vilardo, Executive Director
56 E. Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, Pennsylvania 19003
1st issue: 2010 Currency: Downton Dollars are worth double the value of federal dollars. Since March 2010 more than 200 consumers have purchased $35,000 dollars worth of downtown dollars.
Participation: more than 100 local businesses
Background: Downtown Dollars were created in response to already struggling retailers who were really put to the test when a snowstorm hit on Valentine's Day 2010, ruining shopping on a holiday weekend. John Durso refused to sit back and do nothing. He saved the retailers by creating Downtown Dollars, which basically doubled the value of shoppers money and got them to go out and spend.
Resources for Human Development, Inc.
4700 Wissahickon Avenue, Suite 126
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Equal Dollars on NPR
1st Issue: October 1996
Currency: Equal Dollars are issued on par with federal dollars. To date 96,400 Equal Dollars have been issued by the program.
Participation: 864 members, 298 businesses.
Outreach: Equal Dollars' outreach includes a quarterly newsletter with 2,400 listings, membership cards, participating in Flea Markets, and operating a Tool Rental Center and Micro-Loan Fund.
Background: Equal Dollars was started by $78 million non-profit Resources for Human Development, Inc., which maintains 150 diverse human service programs. To date, more than $100,000 has been put toward this currency (mostly discretionary funds of Resources, with some foundation, corporate, and anonymous donor funding). Funds have supported a full-time project director, technical and financial counselors, business development training, marketing materials, etc. Equal Dollars is currently applying for state money and hoping to expand to 5000 members. It utilizes both scrip and checking systems.
Information last updated 02/09.
P.O. Box 28815,
Bellingham, WA 98228, USA
1st issue: January 2004
Currency: The life Dollar is valued at between 10 and 12 U.S. Dollars, fluctuating based on the local hourly living wage in the community. Over one million life dollars have been exchanged.
Participation:There are currently over 700 members.
Background: A project of the Fourth Corner Exchange, life dollars aim not just to increase local trade and stimulate local economies, but to replace the greenback altogether. According to the Fourth Corner Exchange our traditional money system is failing us by removing money from local communities and giving it to corporations who then take this money somewhere else.
Larry Chang, Director of Potomac Currency
P.O. Box 66154,
Washington D.C. 20035-6154
1st issue: 2009
Currency: Each Potomac is worth 95 US cents but in participating stores in the local market Potomacs can be used one-for-one. Potomacs come in 1, 5, 10 and 20 denominations.
Participation: About a dozen businesses
Background: The Potomac was started by a grassroots organization called Ecolocity. The aim of the Potomac is to localize the economy and help it become more self sustained.
1202 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703
1st Issue: May 6,1996
Currency: One Hour is equivalent to $10 federal dollars. Currency is issued in denominations of 1/4, 1/2, and 1 Hours. To date the program has issued 3600 Hours.
Participation: Current membership of Madison Hours Cooperative is roughly
120, including 35 business members.
Outreach: The Hour Community Newspaper, is distributed quarterly throughout community, each featuring around 500 listings. Members can make listings in the newsletter and on the website. Madison Hours also sponsors a monthly potluck and a monthly pancake breakfast fund raiser.
Background: The Madison Hour planning committee received excellent media
coverage and was initially overwhelmed with press response. Originally fiscally funded by Housing Co-op, it is currently supported mainly by grants, ongoing fund raising, membership fees and directory advertisement. They have started offering web hosting to their members as another source of income. Madison Hours is incorporated as co-operative, broad-based group administration.
Information last updated March 9, 2007
Local Currency Groups in Canada
c/o The Arusha Centre
106, 233 12th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0G9 Canada
1st Issue: January 2002
Currency: Calgary Dollars are issued in denominations of 1, 5, and 10. Calgary Dollars are scrip pegged to the federal currency.
Participation: Calgary Dollars has over 400 members, 150 businesses, and 1100 listings. A partnership with the City of Calgary allows for the use of 100% Calgary Dollars to purchase city transit tickets and passes to use city pools and recreation facilities. Participating businesses include video rental, restaurant, grocery store, theater company, mechanic, dry cleaner, etc. Other participants include a car-sharing program, accepting 100% local currency for car use, and a 60 unit housing co-op which accepts local currency for a percentage of rent.
Outreach: Calgary Dollars is a grassroots currency system that brings together local talents and resources to strengthen our local economy and build community. It believes a community’s true wealth lies in the skills, talents and capabilities of its members, and every single person has something of value to offer to his/her neighbours. By encouraging local production and consumption, it is committed to creating a healthy economy that is rooted in a healthy society and a healthy ecosystem. Outreach includes a monthly potluck, numerous community events, bi-monthly newspaper insert, print listings, web page and email list.
Background: The Calgary Dollars program was formerly the "Bow Chinook Barter Community," using the "Bow Chinook Hours" as currency. In 2002, the project was reformulated as "Calgary Dollars." Calgary Dollars has five part-time staff, and two community animators. Operations are funded by the local United Way, the municipal government's charitable funding agency (FCSS), the Alberta Lottery Fund, and membership and advertising generated revenue.
Information last updated 12/05
Salt Spring Island Dollars
Bob McGinn, President
Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation
147 Robinson Road
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia V8K 1R6 Canada
1st Issue: September 2001
Currency: $$ (Salt Spring Island Issued dollars) are backed by Canadian dollars. The currency is printed in nine denominations: 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1. $$ are issued in limited editions of 20,000 (1, 2, 5) and 10,000 (10,20), 5,000 (50,100) In late 2006, the SSIMF minted 1000, limited edition, $$50, 1/2 ounce, .999 fine silver coins.
Participation: All major businesses and 95%+ of all local small businesses are now
Background: $$ are issued by a non-profit foundation, the Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation, better known as the Salt Spring IMF. The bills and coin feature
the work of local artists and include local historical figures on the front. The program has garnered support from the three financial institutions on the island Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). All three banks take the $$ at par with the Canadian dollar, with no exchange rate or transaction fees. Also of note, the larger bills incorporate the most
sophisticated levels of security/anti-counterfeiting of any banknote in the world. These security features include Level 2 Halo, Sentinel, and Wicker 2000.
Information last updated March 9, 2007
Background: Tamworth Hours are a usuryfree time currency initiated by Tom J. Kennedy and issued into circulation 13.11.2004. They were issued on behalf of the participating time-traders who live in the village of Tamworth, in rural eastern Ontario, CANADA in the Township of Stone Mills and/or beyond its borders. Approximately 80 'time-traders' are currently participating with this Tamworth Hours project. Many participating time-traders are willingly accepting other local currencies at par with Tamworth Hours as this action helps to build a larger, loyal database of community-minded consumers.
Toronto Dollar Community Project Inc.
P.O. Box 6523
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1
1st Issue: December 1998
Currency: The Toronto Dollar trades at par with the Canadian dollar and is backed by Canadian dollars. Initially, consumers can exchange their Canadian dollars for an equal amount of Toronto Dollars. Each time a Toronto Dollar is purchased from Toronto Dollar Inc., 90 cents is deposited in a reserve fund and 10 cents goes to the Toronto Dollar Community Projects Fund. Participating businesses have agreed to accept Toronto Dollars on-par with Canadian dollars. A business can continue to spend at par the Toronto Dollars it receives or it can redeem its Toronto Dollars for Canadian dollars at 90 cents on the dollar. Money for these redemption is drawn from the Toronto Dollar reserve fund. The bills have a 3 year expiry term, with the expectation that 12% of the Toronto Dollars sold will never be redeemed so that the total new money created is about 22%. The main challenges experienced with this program were 1) getting supporters to purchase Toronto Dollars because of the potential inconvenience and 2) dealing with inherent risks involved with a system tied to cash—i.e. having tight controls as one expands.
Participation: Approximately 150 businesses in the St. Lawrence Market and Riverdale areas have agreed to accept Toronto Dollars. There is a $25 registration fee for new members.
Outreach: Toronto Dollars supports a merchant directory through its website. It also has an informational booth in the St. Lawrence Market where dollars are bought and information is distributed. The Toronto Dollar Supper Club sponsers a lecture series which brings speakers of interest to th earea. Toronto Dollar Community Projects has made over $86,000 in grants to local organizations.
Background: Organized by a volunteer group, the Toronto Dollar Community Project Inc., the Toronto Dollar was launched December 5, 1998. Originally located in the St. Lawrence Market area, circulation has recently expanded to include businesses in the Riverdale area of Toronto. Overhead for the program is covered by interest on the Reserve Fund and donations. The Toronto Dollar Community Projects Fund is used to give Toronto Dollars to people as “thank-you honorariums” for volunteer work with a focus on supporting those who need more income. One of the main benefits reported by Toronto Dollars organizers is the synergy created between the participating community groups through this “Spirit At Work” project and the way it fosters support for caring services—see this section on the Toronto Dollar web site.
Information last updated 11/05
Participation: There are participating traders in various towns and villages in the
Madawaska Valley such as: Killaloe, Eganville, Golden Lake, Combermere, Bancroft and Barry's Bay. This network of Unity traders are unique as they solicited supporting businesses to advertise on the back of the paper notes thereby raising the federal cash to print the Unity dollars.
There are approximately 70 Unity traders who are active within this Unity Dollar network. Other communities in Ontario and Quebec
are currently organizing businesses so that they can copy this Unity
model. Many Unity traders are willingly accepting other usuryfree
community currencies at par.
Background: The usuryfree dollar currency commonly referred to as the Unity was launched in the spring of 2006 in the Madawaska Valley area of Eastern Ontario, CANADA.
Local Currency Groups in Mexico
Sistema TLALOC, Red Nacional Vida Digna y Sostenible
Asociación Civil Promocion del Desarrollo Popular
Arq. Luis Lopezllera Mendez
Tlaloc 40-3, Col.
Tlaxpana, 11370 México, D.F.
Outreach: This system has been reproduced, one in Magdalena Contreras, a municipality southwest of Mexico City, with support of local authorities. The bill is called "Dinamo". Another one, linked also with this group, in Dolores Hidalgo, is Guanajuato, supported by a network of grassroots peasant producers. Their bill is called "Mezquite" after the region's desert tree.
Information last updated 11/05
Local Currency Groups in Europe
BonNetzBon (BNB) - the alternative currency of the Social Economy Network Cooperative
Currency: The alternative currency BNB is issued by the Social Economy Network Cooperative Basel. It alone bears the responsibility for the currency. The BNB is a hard currency, since it can be purchased by Swiss Francs and sold again against Swiss Francs. The BNB is a transnational, regional currency. It can be exchanged against other alternative local currencies in France (Alsace) and Germany (Baden) – regions directly across the border from Basel. In this sense, it is (the first) democratically controlled international alternative currency. The BNB is protected against forgery by the use of certain printing techniques and by issuing it in series whose validity is time limited. “Old series” BNBs can be exchanged without charge for “new series” BNBs. The first BNB series was issued in 2005, the second in 2007. Both series were printed by the networks own printing coop. All BNBs issued are backed 100% by Swiss Francs to assure confidence in the alternative currency and its liquidity. The BNB may be used by organizations, businesses and individuals in and outside the Social Economy Network Cooperative.
The Brixton Pound (B£) is a local currency launching in September 2009. This is a practical way for local people to vote with our wallets for a strong and diverse Brixton economy. It will be a complementary currency, working alongside (not replacing) pounds sterling, for use by independent local businesses and individuals trading within Brixton.
Phone: Tim Nichols (Project Manager) at 07788 990 359.
Launch: September 2009
Currency Type: Regional, 1:1 with the Deutsche Mark.
Date of Issue: January 30, 2003.
Detail Denominations: 1,2,5,10,20,50.
Participation: 376.063 CHM (eq. to 376,000 Deutsche Marks) in circulation with 613 businesses, 194 organisations, 42 exchange places.
Outreach: The chiemgauer currency is a publicly organised collective with the goal of education and research. The attempt is to benefit the regional economy further with the focus on social, climate friendly and ecological farming.
History: most dominant and successful regional currency in southern bayern
(southern most region of Germany)
Lewes, East Sussex, England
First Issue: 2008
Currency: While it is a complementary currency for Lewes, it is easiest to think of it as a gift voucher or a book token: A Lewes Pound is a voucher worth 1 pound that can only be redeemed at locally owned participating stores.
Outreach: This pilot is to raise awareness about the way we spend money and the fact that a pound spent locally keeps building wealth as it circulates, instead of leaking out to the global economy. Longer term, the Lewes Pound will build economic resilience by supporting local businesses and producers, reducing our carbon footprint and helping unemployed and underemployed people.
Totnes, Devon, England
First Issue: 2007
Currency: Totnes Pounds enter circulation when people choose to exchnage their sterling currenyc into Totnes pounds at one of four places around Totnes. At present the exchange rate is 1TP for £1.Totnes Pounds can then be spent at participating businesses, of which there are currently around 70. Some of these are now offering discounts for certain purchases that are made in Totnes Pound to encourage usage.
Outreach: People can exchange their Sterling into Totnes Pounds at a number of issuing points around Totnes. People can also accept Totnes Pounds in change from participating shops. This does not create new pounds, but does help them to circulate and enables shoppers to show their loyalty to the local economy.Every Totnes Pound in circualtion is therefore 'backed' by one pound of Sterling. This money is put into a bank account.Totnes Pounds then circulate between consumers and businesses. Some businesses spend the Totnes Pounds that they receive with other local businesses. This strengthens the local economic multiplier, which means basically that money stays within the community rather than leaking out. If a business has a excess of Totnes Pounds they are able to exchange the surplus back for Sterling.