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Your Take: Would You Use Local Currency?

Local currency isn’t a particularly new idea but it’s one that seems to be gathering a bit of steam lately as “Main Street” revolts against the enormous financial machine of Wall Street. BerkShares [3] is the most famous of the local currencies [4], an alternate currency used in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, but they exist in a lot of different areas. The main motivation behind local currency isn’t that it’s an alternative to the mainstream, it’s that it supports the local economy. I stumbled onto the idea of local currency because I saw a funded Kickstarter program called BNotes [5], for a local Baltimore currency. With BNotes, you can buy $11 in BNotes for $10 with the hope that local merchants are signed on to use it.

The only concern I’d have is with the legality of local currencies, which I haven’t researched. It would be for businesses to evade taxes, as if it’s not already easy for cash transactions, and if the evasion got to be too extreme, the local government might shut it down (leaving me with some worthless, extra-secure paper).

I’d still use it for the novelty of it all and because it’s fun to support a local venture that is trying to make Baltimore a better and more vibrant place. I won’t be buying hundreds of dollars in BNotes but twenty or thirty wouldn’t be too much… especially if they get wide acceptance.

Would you use a local currency?