Economic thinkers have coined the theory ‘complementary currency,’ a term used to describe a money flow that involves is created solely for and exchanged only in certain communities.
Denver-based Targeted Currency Networks, a startup of economic thinkers and community members wanting to make a difference, is developing the operating system to make the complementary currency system work.
The experienced IT team built a monetary technology solution, much like PayPal, that makes complementary currency transactions an electronic process, making it much easier to manage.
Also in the works, or at least casually discussed, is an electronic system similar to eBay that will allow participants in the complementary network to post services that they can offer and allow others to request those services.
“Money is just an abstraction of an agreement between two people to trade goods or services,” said Berry. “We don’t think that agreement needs to be limited to one medium. Any two people can agree to use anything as a medium of exchange, and communities can provide a high level of trust that’s necessary.”
There are an about 5,000-6,000 complementary currencies circulating around the globe. Boulder-based Access Foundation is one non-profit (which coincidentally is co-founded by Bernard Lietaer, the architect of EU’s Euro currency) that is working to create the community infrastructure to make these exchanges benefit the members involved. Access Foundation director Jacqui Dunne points out that with technology, implementation as easy a software download. And the whole system can become transparent, where community members know who has what, decreasing the amount of fraud.