Local currencies in the United States are legal, provided they follow regulations set by the national government. The notes have to have different dimensions than the federal dollar, coins cannot be produced, the word "dollar" cannot appear on the notes,   the currency has to have an exchange rate to the dollar, and municipalities cannot issue their own currency. Transactions made using local currencies must be taxable in the same way as any other cash transaction. Non-profit, place-based issuing is favored. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, while Ralph Borsodi was embarking on  the Exeter Experiment, a statement from Deputy Chief Counsel Westbrook Murphy at the Office of the United States Comptroller of the Currency revealed much about US monetary policy regarding local currencies: "They can circulate clamshells or pine cones if they want to, as long as people accept them... The law only provides that you have a right to demand payment in US currency as legal tender if you want to."

 


Michigan

Bay Bucks

Region: Traverse City, Michigan

Currency Type: locally-issued convertible paper currency

First Issued: November 2005

Description and Background: BayBucks are exchanged 1:1 to the American dollar and can be used at participating businesses in the region.

Circulation and Participation: unknown

Founders: unknown

Contact: http://www.baybucks.org/content/contact-more-information

Website: http://www.baybucks.org/node

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/Bay-Bucks-131774763556480/


Massachusetts

BerkShares

Region: Berkshire County

Currency Type: locally-issued convertible paper currency

First Issued: September 2006

Description and Background: BerkShares are a paper currency printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 and are traded in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. They are issued by local banks in exchange for USD. The federal dollars are kept on deposit in BerkShares, Inc. checking accounts at the banks and held to back conversion of BerkShares back to federal dollars on request. BerkShares are exchanged at $0.95 per BerkShare and spent at a value of $1 per BerkShare with participating 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 businesses which have received BerkShares in a transaction to spend them again rather than return them for federal currency.

Circulation and Participation: Approximately 400 regional businesses are formally participating and an additional 200 accept BerkShares on occasion. A total of 7.3 million BerkShares have been issued through local banks. 15 branches of 4 local banks currently participate in BerkShare exchange.  Approximately 140,000 BerkShares are in circulation at any one time (as of January 2018).

Founders: Susan Witt, Eric Harris-Braun, Chris Lindstrom

Contact: info@berkshares.org

Website: http://berkshares.org/


Vermont

Bristol Bucks

Region: Bristol, Vermont

Currency Type: locally-issued convertible paper currency

First Issued: 2006

Description and Background: Bristol Bucks were developed 8 years ago by the previous executive director and founder of Bristol Downtown Community Partnership.  Vouchers are available at the National Bank of Middlebury in $5 and $20 denominations.  The vouchers can then be used at participating businesses.

Circulation and Participation: Use of Bristol Bucks fluctuates, with $2,500 worth being used during December of 2013 and $15 worth in March of the following year.  As of January 2018, 28 businesses participated.

Founder: Kate Shelby

Contact: kate@bdcpvt.com

Website: http://discoverbristolvt.com/bdcp/bristol-bucks/