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Les squires

Help build this interest group...

Nighthawk Traders

There's perhaps no question I'm asked more often than "What about Local Currencies?" So I'm starting a study group on alternative forms of community trading. Register your interest! Soon we will begin building a prototype.

Group Type: Local Currencies & Trading
Members: 114
Latest Activity: Dec 29, 2013

Quick Start Overview of Local Currencies

See GLOBAL SIGHTINGS OF COMPLEMENTARY CURRENCIES below. The listing includes the 20 newest mentions of "complementary currencies" or "complementary currency" found anywhere on the web. The list is updated daily.


  1. Discussions: Contribute to a discussion on any of the following topics or start a new discussion on related topics.
  2. Doers vs. Talkers: If you are inclined to dump tons of endless paragraphs about these issues, particularly other websites where people talk, talk, talk, and talk about local currencies, think again! This space is for DOERS. Ask you neighbor if you can trade something of value without using cash currencies: Report the details and results here. Try out the babysitting example: Ask for something you want "in trade" before "volunteering" the next time. Report your experiences below.

A Few Talking Points

  • Baby sitting pool model case -- You take mine for the weekend; in turn, I take yours for another weekend -- win-win
  • Lawn mowers and lawn mowing -- My neighbor "borrows" my lawn mower and agrees to mow my lawn in exchange for his not having to purchase a mower.
  • Precondition: I have NEEDS. I have OFFERS. Ready to TRADE some of mine for some of yours.
  • Barter Exchanges -- Ancient model for trading needs and offers. Limited to two people or businesses.
  • Currency -- Exchange among MORE THAN TWO entities -- imagine the baby sitting pool with 60 couples -- Keeping track of kids and balances -- Oi!!!
  • Local Flow -- what goes around comes around -- Cf. Walmart, Home Depot, Starbucks -- Cash register payments go immediately out-of-state. Cf. Trade Local.
  • Local business incentives -- Local carpenter paid 40% alternative and 60% cash for painting local business establishment. Local business gets beautiful paint job. Painter redeems credits for meals for the family. Parties for Transitioners.
  • Local Tax Authorities -- how would you like to receive credit toward your real estate taxes with value you accumulate by working for Transition...
  • Electronic "banking" -- debits, credits, balances, negative balances, invoices, statements, accounting, IRS -- without "outsourcing" our record keeping to cash banks
  • Paper money -- Ithica dollars -- "In Ithica we trust"
  • IRS -- Accounting requirements for professional services vs. "volunteer" services

Sign up. We're establishing a mailing list at this point. Determining the scope of local interest. We have also set up an online trading account which will be used as a prototype -- sponsored by my community, Nighthawk Circle in Louisville. Sometime around mid-November we'll actually begin real local trading. When we're up to speed and your locality is ready, this group will assist to set up your own community exchange. Patience! There's groundwork to be laid.

Discussion Forum

Mile High Hours - Denver's Local Currency -

Started by Scarlet Begonia Jul 13, 2013. 0 Replies


Started by Mark Stewart. Last reply by Mark Stewart Sep 7, 2011. 2 Replies

Global Sightings of Complementary Currencies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 5, 2012 at 8:30pm

Mexico town takes a monetary path less traveled

Organizers in Espinal, Mexico, a Mexican hill town, have created an alternative local currency. It's called the "tumin," which means "money" in the local Totonac language. | Heriberto Rodriguez/MCT

By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers

ESPINAL, Mexico — Organizers in this verdant hill town in Veracruz state have coaxed a tiny economic experiment on the citizenry: They created an alternative local currency.

It's called the "tumin," which means "money" in the local Totonac language. Each tumin is the equivalent of one peso, but it can only be spent in the region.

The aim: Urge merchants to accept payment in a combination of pesos and tumin, which would spur more spending. After more than a year, about 100 storeowners, tradesmen, doctors, dentists, salon owners, pharmacists, butchers and food vendors are on board. It's also stimulated local handicraft makers.

But there's been a snag: Even though alternative currencies are used legally all over the world, including in towns in the United States, Canada and around Europe and Asia, the Bank of Mexico said that Espinal may have committed "monetary rebellion" in violation of the constitution, usurping a right of the state.

Residents are flummoxed at the scrutiny of federal investigators into their town's little experiment.

"It's not a substitute for the peso. It's a lie what the Bank of Mexico says," said Jose Perez Cruz, a 42-year-old electrician who reckons that the alternative money has increased economic activity.

Espinal hardly seems an incubator for conspiracy. Set in hills near the Gulf of Mexico, the region got sidestepped in the state oil development that took place elsewhere in Veracruz. The closest it's come to mutiny was back in the 17th century, when a Dutch mulatto pirate known as Laurens de Graff hid out among its glens.

Otherwise, Espinal's history has been as unpretentious as the vanilla beans endemic to this region rather than piquant habanero peppers.

The brain behind Espinal's experiment is Juan Castro Soto, a graying community organizer who wanted to give community currency a stab.

Castro and fellow organizers decided to hand out 500 tumin to a group of citizens and set a rule that the local currency would be used for only 10 percent of the value of transactions. If a vendor had a kilogram of fruit to sell at 50 pesos, he or she would collect 45 pesos and five tumin.


Slowly the system cranked into service, and since its inception in November 2010 some citizens are clear on its benefits.

"I feel that it is a way for us to support each other," said Ana Bertha Escalante, a local dentist who takes partial payments in the currency.

Escalante said she once shopped mainly at chain stores in Poza Rica, a city 25 miles away that she visits on weekends to see her parents.

"I now buy meat from the butcher on the corner, and it's fresh," she said, noting that she uses tumin to do so. The price difference isn't much but her local butcher and hairdresser are happy with the new business.


Experts on alternative local currencies say they emerge with vigor during hardship, matching unused resources with people short on cash.

"These systems are countercyclical. When a global or national economy is in decline, then people naturally find these survival systems to help keep their businesses going," said Stephen DeMeulenaere, an expert in new currencies and executive director of the Complementary Currency Resource Center, a digital resource center for alternative currencies.

During the widespread bank closures of the Great Depression, scrip emerged in some parts of the United States to substitute for government-issued currency and keep local trade going. Since then, dozens of communities in Europe and elsewhere have turned to local currencies as utopian or green experiments, or to allow local communities to boost business and build social ties.

The oldest ongoing system in the United States is in Ithaca, N.Y., where for two decades "Ithaca Hours" have circulated — each one worth $10, or roughly one hour of labor.



"There are a lot of people who don't have enough dollars because the formal economy doesn't employ them at all or employ them fully," said Paul K. Glover, the founder of Ithaca Hours, who now resides in Philadelphia.

Thus, for example, independent music teachers can tutor students, or carpenters can do odd jobs, taking their Ithaca Hours in turn to be spent at a variety of local businesses.

"We have increased sales tax collections in the city due to millions of dollars in increased trade," he said.

Glover said an intangible side effect of local currencies is connecting residents to one another, invigorating local spirit alongside the economy.

"A sense of community has an economic value in and of itself. People feel they are surrounded by people who they can trust," Glover said.

Other U.S. local currencies include the Plenty in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and BerkShares in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts. Canada's Salt Spring Island near Vancouver also uses Salt Spring Dollars, and it even has an ATM that issues them in exchange for regular currency.

In many countries, governments recognize the worth of community currencies, even taking tax payments in them or allowing them to operate formally.

In the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, some businesses and consumers use an exchange system known as C3 CompRaS, a variation on the Portuguese word "comprar," meaning to buy. Under the system, members make transactions without having to transfer real money, leaving deals on a computerized ledger and freeing cash for dealings outside the state.

Many community currencies are far humbler, operating among a few hundred people, struggling with accounting concerns and mismatches in supply.


When Castro designed the tumin, he used famous paintings by Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo that he downloaded from the Internet as the background image for denominations of one, five, 10 and 20 tumin.

Investigators from the Mexican attorney general's office have asked questions in Espinal, and Castro has been told he is formally under investigation.

"They are looking to see if they can find something to hang on us," he said.

Article 28 of the constitution says the Bank of Mexico, which operates as the central bank, has a monopoly on printing money. The bank press office did not respond to repeated requests by McClatchy for comment.

Castro and others in the town say the tumin is not currency but a mechanism to facilitate barter and trade. They note that another article in the constitution gives indigenous people special rights to self-determination, and half of Espinal's surrounding population of 24,000 are ethnic Totonicapan.

In the end, it may not be federal prosecutors who sink the tumin but human nature, reticence to adopt new habits, the need for active management of supply and demand and the idiosyncrasies of residents.

Jorge Ricano, a butcher, recently had to move his stall from the center of town to an outlying street. Sales went down. Since Ricano needs pesos for meat and other fixed expenses, he says he can't afford to accept tumin often anymore. If sales rebound, he said he would take them again.

"It would be really convenient if the people who sell me beef and pork also would take the tumin," he said, but outside suppliers don't want the currency.

"We haven't gotten everybody fully involved yet," acknowledged Oscar Espino, a local lawyer who has spent many hours explaining to users that they must spend tumin as quickly as they get them to lubricate the local economy.

"Some people don't spend them, or they don't know how, or they don't know with whom," he said. "They say, 'I already spent my tumin.' Or they do what they do with cash — they stick it under the mattress. This gums up the system."

Juan Jose Escalante Vazquez, owner of the Del Carmen Pharmacy, said the tumin his family accumulates on sales easily get spent on "meat, the beauty salon, the dentist, (and) the chicken and fish sellers."

But not enough people have adopted the system, he said.

"Some detractors say that this is like a child's game and that it won't work," he said. Others come into his pharmacy and "they are ashamed. They don't want to ask if you accept tumin."

Irene Castellanos, a retired teacher who now runs a cybercafe, said she believes the experimental currency will gain adherents.

"I've always wanted my beloved Espinal to be known for something, and now it is. The tumin will not die," she said.


Homepage of the Complementary Currency Resouce Center

Founder's page of Ithaca Hours


Nissan to build $2 billion Mexico plant, sidestepping security conc...

Mexico leader's challenge: staying safe once out of office

Is Mexico City's newest monument a tribute to spirit or graft?

Check out this McClatchy blog: Mexico Unmasked

Follow Tim Johnson on Twitter

McClatchy Newspapers 2012
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 5, 2012 at 8:18pm

Leander Bindewald & Criterical

Does everything have a price? Is everything quantifiable by money? For Leander, after pondering these questions, this is where complementary currencies enter the scene.

After completing a Master degree in Neurobiology and another in Philosophy, for which he focused on economics and the writings of A.F. von Hayek, Leander launched himself into a career as an independent consultant in the up-coming field of complementary currencies. After finding like-minded people at Hub Brussels with whom he studied and learned, he started to develop an exchange platform for Hub members, who provided the perfect environment to test this art. And so the xchange Hub was born. What is a complementary currency? Well, it’s an additional currency completing what the main currency (money) can’t measure. It is also put in place when money is not the best way account for our exchanges. The Hubee, one of Leander´s two currencies, allows members to exchange their services without using money. It is a quantitative currency where one Hubee equals one hour of someone’s time no matter what the activity being exchanged – similar to a time bank. The exchanges need not be direct so a member can “bank” his Hubees and choose to spent them on a service from another member at a later date. The second Hub currency, the Huney, is a qualitative currency measuring the community spirit and the engagement of Hub members on a human scale; you can give Huney to somebody because you had a nice time with them or because they brought value and quality to your day and/or your project.

Leander would like to export these kinds of currencies to other similar organisations in order to add value to human sharing. In addition to his Hub project he is also developing research and training tools; giving courses and workshops in help other in applying these new social technologies in their own communities.

According to him, the Hub manages to establish a connection between business, community & friendship and with his currencies Leander helps the Hub in doing this successfully. The Hub tries to bring “something else” to this world in order to make it better: this “something else” is captured his currencies, they provide a way to visualize, measure and manage the social capital created by the Hub and its members.

For him, the Hub is nearly synonymous for Brussels because most of the people he knows here he met through the Hub. Thus it is no surprise that he collaborated with the Hub to create the xchange Hub platform. Another bigger leverage for the Hub´s claim; Another World is Happening as with Hubees and Huneys it is possible to balance the system with something money just can’t measure.

Written by Juan Martinez


Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 3, 2012 at 9:33am
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 31, 2012 at 2:02pm

Is Facebook a Central Bank, Too

"Edward Castronova, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University, is fascinated by the rise of what he calls “wildcat currencies,” such as Facebook Credits." 

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 30, 2012 at 5:11pm
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 30, 2012 at 5:10pm
CNN reports on Philadelphia's local currency « Beyond Money
from "Local Currency" by Thomas H. Greco
CNN reports on Philadelphia's local currency. I helped RHD set up their Equal Dollars currency back in the late 90′s. Here is a recent report about it from CNN.–t.h.g.. How I buy groceries without cash – Video – Personal Finance.
Beyond Money
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 28, 2012 at 6:03pm
From Publishers Weekly

Money is a hot topic--Wired magazine contributing editor [David] Wolman observes that it is paradoxically something we think about "always and never." Tangible cash, on the other hand, is something "we think we know." However, Wolman believes that physical cash will soon cease to be.
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 22, 2012 at 8:27pm

Theory of LETS and Timebanks -- 

How a LETS works

Units System Fred Sue Joe
+15   xxx    
+10   xxx    
+05   xxx   xxx
-05 xxx   xxx  
-10 xxx   xxx  
Units System Fred Sue Joe

A LETS operates by Mutual Credit. A group of people come together and agree a name for the currency (or they may decide to use Hours). They create a directory of Offers and Wants to let each other know what they are willing to trade and can contact each other at any time. Organisers may also hold social events to encourage members to meet up.

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 22, 2012 at 9:47am

Adam Wascholl is moving to Colorado from New Haven Connecticut and inquires "Are there any upcoming events?  I'm hoping to meet up with others interested in local currency so that I'll have a group of people who may be willing to help me start one when I move to CO.  I'm involved with a group back in CT that's working on one, and I'd love to continue my work here.

Maybe we could try getting a meeting together in the next couple of weeks; I could lead the discussion.
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on January 6, 2012 at 3:16am

Be sure to view and share the Trailer for forthcoming film 'In Transition 2.0' Directed by Caspar Walsh, produced by Green Lane Films, online editing by James Engwell.  Uploaded by Transition Towns on Jan 5, 2012. Called to our attention by [Margaret Jeffries, New Zealand].


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