Alternative currency is a term that refers to any currency used as an alternative to the dominant national or multinational currency systems (usually referred to as national or fiat money). Alternative currencies can be created by an individual, corporation, or organization, they can be created by national, state, or local governments, or they can arise naturally as people begin to use a certain commodity as a currency. Mutual credit is a form of alternative currency, and thus any form of lending that does not go through the banking system can be considered a form of alternative currency.
When used in combination with or when designed to work in combination with national or multinational fiat currencies they can be referred to as complementary currency. If the use of an alternative currency is limited to a certain region, it is called a local currency.
Often there are issues related to paying tax. Some alternative currencies are considered tax-exempt, but most of them are fully taxed as if they were national currency, with the caveat that the tax must be paid in the national currency. The legality and tax-status of alternative currencies varies widely from country to country; some systems in use in some countries would be illegal in others.
Examples of alternative currencies
- In the Great Depression, people and corporations used gift certificates as a form of currency.
- WIR Bank - One of the oldest and most successful complementary currencies, founded in 1934, oriented towards small and mid-sized corporations, with 62,000 members.
- Valun System proposed by E.C. Riegel
- Calgary Dollars
- EarthE Money is used to reward environmental actions.
- Toronto Dollars is an example of a backed local currency. Also GobeGold a new approach with currency unit backed up by trees GobeGold
- LETS, an example of Mutual credit, is a type of local currency used in a number of small communities worldwide.
- The Time Dollar is a state-sponsored alternative currency in the U.S, designed to encourage the independence and productivity of welfare recipients.
- Liberty Dollar is a private currency backed by silver, and is designed to be the nationwide alternative currency in the United States. In 2007 federal agents raided its offices with a warrant<ref>http://www.libertydollar.org/legal/pdf/seizure_warrant_20071114.pdf</ref> charging money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, counterfeiting, and conspiracy.<ref>http://www.johnlocke.org/site-docs/meckdeck/pdfs/USAVLibdoll.pdf</ref>
- Millennium Dollars is a private currency backed by US Treasury bills and cash investments, designed to have a constant "real" value and hence act as a hedge against inflation or deflation.
- Barter clubs or corporate barter organizations are an example of alternative currency systems.
- Crom Alternative Money is a time backed currency, it represents 1 hour of our life.
- Fourth Corner Exchange
- Ripple monetary system
- Ithaca Hours, Ithaca, NY
- Cascadia Hour Exchange
- Category:Electronic currencies, such as digital gold currency.
- Private currency
- Sectoral currency
- Bearer instrument
- Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS)
- Time-based currency
- Flex dollar
- Local currency
- Credit Money
- Private bank
- Commodity money
- Digital cash
- Electronic money
- Thomas H. Greco, Jr., "Money: understanding and creating alternatives to legal tender". White River Junction, Vt: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2001.
- M. Raddon, "Community and money: men and women making change". Montreal: Black Rose Books, 2003.
- Bernard Lietaer, "The Future of Money". Random House: published January 2001.
- Altruistic Economics
- Beyond Money, Thomas H. Greco, Jr.’s alternative currency blog.
- Complementary Currencies
- Helger Lipmaa's links on electronic cash
- NeuMoNe (The Neutral Money Network)
- LETS Systems
- OpenMoney Project
- Revolutionary alternative currency backed up with trees The living money
- From legal tender to virtual vouchers A critical survey
- Complementary Currency Resource Center International Database of alternative, complementary and local currency systems, open library of 350+ documents, image and video center.
- Alternative, Complementary and Community Currency Systems in Asia, Africa and Latin America Complementary Currency Systems in the Third World context.
- This article is based on text from Wikipedia, available under the GFDL.