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Local Money Goes Mobile in Beta Version

The local currency program of the Schumacher Center is focused on the research and development of place-based, non-profit, democratically controlled currencies that can serve as resources for the support of strong regional economies. BerkShares paper currency first issued in 2006 is an on-the-ground initiative in the Berkshires to create such a model.

To respond to the growing interest in electronic payment systems, for the past year the Schumacher Center and BerkShares, Inc. have partnered with Humanity Cash on the development of a digital BerkShares. Structured as a mobile payment app powered by blockchain technology digital BerkShares will function alongside the paper currency.

Please join us for a virtual celebration of the 15th anniversary of the first issue of “classic” BerkShares and learn about the beta version of digital BerkShares. The event will be broadcast from the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Monday, March 21st, at 5:30 PM.

Representative Smitty Pignatelli will host a discussion with BerkShares business owners and with artists whose paintings appear on the printed notes about what makes the Berkshires such a special place to live and work. Our local currency team members will describe the beta launch of the new app. Plus a fun local trivia contest will give online participants a chance to win BerkShares-themed prizes!

Register here!

How digital BerkShares works
The BerkShares mobile app will provide a convenient, community-minded way to buy and sell local just by scanning your mobile phone or tablet. Digital BerkShares will make scan-to-pay easy and cost-effective for our region’s businesses while keeping more of our region’s wealth local.

Digital BerkShares will be backed one-to-one with US Dollars. Read more about the addition of a digital format on BerkShares.org. If you run a business, or know of one that would be interested in participating in a local digital payment system, merchants can sign up here. Following the beta sign-up period for merchants, individuals will be encouraged to download the app and begin exchange. And don’t worry—paper BerkShares will remain in circulation, accepted at 400+ area businesses.

Why digital BerkShares?
For many small businesses, fees from credit card processing can add up to tens of thousands in lost revenue every year. Digital BerkShares can save small businesses from high credit card fees of up to 4% on every transaction.

As a local alternative to big banks and big tech, the BerkShares app will bring our businesses the convenience and cost savings of digital while continuing our emphasis on community values. And because its the community-minded way to shop and pay local, businesses that accept BerkShares distinguish themselves in the eyes of consumers.

Now hiring! Two roles in Central and North County
Last, but not least: to further the development of BerkShares county-wide, positions for two BerkShares Outreach Coordinators are open for Central and North County. Please share the job description linked here with those who may be ready and able to represent our local currency with passion and intelligence to a wide variety of audiences!

Let’s continue to grow a thriving Berkshires together with BerkShares!

Staff of the Schumacher Center

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