Asheville Currency Project plans for paper currency by 2011

By summer of 2011, Asheville residents will use local paper currency to purchase a variety of good and services at businesses throughout the area.

That's the Asheville Currency Project's plan, anyway. The group unveiled its idea on Dec.4 at the BoBo gallery.

Local currency, according to its proponents, keeps more value in the community, remains more stable than official currency and allows its users to save their federal dollars for paying their rent and bills.

But, noted currency project representative Jim Barton, such a fiscal experiment has its own series of pitfalls.

"We investigated a lot of local currency from around the country," Barton said. "Local currency projects are usually disorganized, suffer from burnout and are dependent upon volunteers. That's why we're making detailed plans."

Those plans included signing up businesses by next summer and holding a contest to determine the design and name of Asheville's paper currency.

At the center of the currency project's plan is a reliance on local businesses. Those that sign on with the project, a nonprofit, would receive a "loan" of an amount of local currency based on their revenue. The business would use this currency to pay employees or make change for customers, who could then use it to pay for goods and services from anyone willing to accept it.

"There will be certain businesses issuing the money, but there will be a directory of hundreds of businesses you'll be able to spend the money at," Julie Schantz, one of the currency project's representatives, said.

The currency project may tie the value of Asheville's local currency to certain commodities in an effort to ensure its stability, but this proposal is still being debated.

After the presentation, audience members donned paper hats representing various businesses and customers, and mimed paying for everything from tacos to electrical work.

"One thing about this model is that the currency doesn't pool up: Every dollar that's put out there comes back," John Robinson, one of the currency project's directors, said.


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4 thoughts on “Asheville Currency Project plans for paper currency by 2011

  1. I’m all for local but come on, has it really come down to this? If there PERKS to “investing” into “local money” that’s great but if not, please just give me US money so i can spend it on or somewhere on Tunnel Road so I don’t have to deal with the hassle on who my money is good for or not {sigh}. But I’m eager to hear more details about this “program”.

  2. julie s.

    as one of the ACP’s coordinators, i would like to make a minor correction and attempt to answer travelah and erix.
    first of all, our goal is to launch the paper currency in sept 2010, not summer 2011.

    travelah, if you are moving away or decide you don’t want to participate in supporting local businesses or help boost the local economy anymore, you can either spend the last of your avl currency at any businesse that accepts it or exchange it for US dollars with someone you know.
    most of the existing currencies today have a system that allows you to purchase the local currency with US dollars, as well as exchange it back, but we feel that defeats the purpose and as of now, we do not expect to have that available. but of course you can do this with someone who agrees to to do it with you.

    erix, one of the main proponents for a system like this to be successful is the large number of and variety of businesses (and individuals) who agree to accept the local currency as partial or full payment for their goods and services. we are working hard at creating a huge directory of businesses who will agree to accept the local currency. we even have some landlords on board!

    the *perks* to this *mutual credit clearing* system we have chosen as our issuing mechanism for the local currency are:
    1) adds spending/earning capacity to the local economy
    2) guarantees that it will stay here (as opposed to going to china or to paying a CEO in some other state or country, and so on)
    3) that you can always *exchange* your local currency for goods or services, including food, which we all need.

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