Alternative Forms of Money

Avatar Koindanomics Magazine | July 4, 2019 26 Views 4 Likes 5 On 2 Ratings

26 Views 5 On 2 Ratings Rate it

During the Koindanomics Live Broadcast Q&A Session with the June issue sponsor, our sponsor and featured Koinda member Robert “Big Rob” White III dropped the mic on us when he told us that we don’t have to spend our money to get the products and services we need. Due to systemic racism, resources are often suppressed and restricted. Our access to these resources is denied because we simply don’t have the capital.

Robert White III graciously shared with us economies that don’t transact business with fiat currency. Yes, you read that correctly. Members in these economies transact business with other forms of currency like time or reputation. This isn’t something that Big Rob heard or read about. It’s a lifestyle that Robert White III lives every single day. He is a part of multiple time-banking communities and shared with us how his participation in those communities allowed him access to resources although he was only making $15 per hour.

In this article, we’re going to explore alternatives forms of currency being used all around the world. Before we get into detail, it’s important to clearly understand the definition of money. To break free from the bondage of government-issued money, you first must understand what money is and is not.

Money is:

Any agreed upon object that a community of people use to exchange for their goods and services. For example, people have used cowry shells, known as shell money, to receive and give goods and services. Other people currently pay for their goods and services with mobile minutes like the MPesa, which is known as digital airtime money. Yes, in those communities, you can buy oranges and clothes with mobile minutes. If you and four million other people decided that peanuts were the new form of money, then it would be.

Money is NOT:

Cash, but it is a form of money. It’s like that lesson you learned in school about a rectangle being a square, but a square is not a rectangle.

Cash is a form of money. It is paper money that represents a promise to pay by the Central Bank. It is the Central Bank’s promise to pay a specific person a specific amount on demand. That’s it. Cash is nothing more than a debtor’s promise to pay on a piece of paper.

Other Types of Money:

1. Commodity Money – money made from the commodity itself or backed by the commodity. So, the value of the money is determined by the fair market value of the commodity. A commodity is a raw material or an agricultural product that can be bought or sold. This would include raw materials like crude oil, gold, silver, or copper and agricultural products like cereal grains (wheat, corn, oats, barley, rice), oilseeds (canola, cotton, palm oil, soybeans), meat (cattle, hogs), dairy, cocoa, coffee, frozen concentrated orange juice, sugar, lumber, rubber, and wool. Commodity money is money made from the commodity itself and the value of that money is based off of the value of the commodity. The nonprofit organization American Open Currency Standard (AOCS) works with communities to circulate commodity money that is backed by precious metals.

2. Fiat Money – money because someone said it was money. The definition of fiat is “a formal authorization or proposition; a decree” or “an arbitrary order.” In other words, “because I said so.” Fiat money translates into “it’s money because I said it’s money.” So, if money is money for no other reason than the government saying that it is, then why can’t money be money simply because people said it is? This logic is the rationale behind the use of complementary currencies and digital currencies like cryptocurrencies.

Legal Tender:

The reason why most people don’t see other forms of money as “real” money is because fiat currency is the only form of money that governments consider as legal tender. Legal tender means the form of money that is acceptable to repay a debt. When you borrow money to purchase a house or a car, the government will tell you and the merchants allowing you to borrow an amount in which form of money they want the debt to be repaid, especially so the government can collect taxes from all parties involved. The government prefers fiat currency for debt repayments and taxation.

Regardless of the form of money being used, there is only one aspect of it that determines its power. Its network, which is how vast is the number of people who have decided to adopt it and agree to use it in their everyday lives. Once a specific form of money becomes widely accepted, adopted, and used, it is considered a currency. Currency comes from the word currens, which literally translates into “flow.” When a form of money is freely flowing throughout a network, then it can create an independent ecosystem from irresponsible governments. Depending on the nature of the ecosystem, it can compete with government issued fiat currency or complement it.

Understanding the Hierarchy of Currency:

Currencies fall into two broad categories and then multiple respective subcategories. They are:

1. Issued Currency

a.Fiat currencies
b. Commodity currencies.
c.Local currencies
d. Digital currencies (private organization currencies and decentralized cryptocurrencies)
e. Sectoral currencies

2. Metric Currency – Trading Systems

a. Time banks
b. Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS)
c. Global Exchange Trading Systems (GETS)
d. Commercial Credit Clearing Exchange (also known as commercial credit circles or credit clearing exchanges)
e. Community Exchange Services
f. Mutual credits

Issued Currencies:

Issued currencies are any currencies that an entity or individuals must create and subsequently distribute to a larger group of people. Since there is a finite number to how many units of that currency will be released to the public and put into circulation for use, the value of the currency goes up and down according to supply and demand.

Issued currencies include fiat currencies, commodity currencies, cryptocurrencies, and some digital currencies. Psychologically, the issued currency system creates a very competitive attitude toward people to get inanimate objects. It also encourages hoarding through accumulation.

The currency itself is an inanimate object that people trade their time to acquire. The accumulated amount of inanimate currency you can acquire will determine the number of inanimate objects you can accumulate as well. Your ability to acquire the currency and their respective inanimate objects will rest upon a number of outside influences, most of which are outside of your control.

Metric Currencies:

The metric currencies system is different. It’s the equal and opposite force to the system of issued currencies. So, it’s best to operate in both systems for maximum flexibility and harmony. In the metric currencies system, you are measuring the intangibles such as the value you create and the time you spend creating that value. To see that all time is valued the same way, a universal unit is applied to it. In the metric currencies system, one hour isn’t worth $9 simply because one person cooks burgers and another hour is worth $375 because one person practices law. Each person is given the same hour. Period. The notion that there should be a disparity in the worth of time is a characteristic of the issued currencies system. It was engineered that way to respect the finite number of currency and to justify how to distribute it within those limitations.

Intangibles like time and value weren’t created or engineered by man, just measured by him. Space is another illustration of the metrics system. For example, let’s use the analogy of measuring distance. A mile is simply a measurement of an unquantifiable concept; which is distance. Distance is infinite. Distance simply doesn’t increase or decrease because you choose to measure the concept of distance in miles. You could easily measure distance in kilometers or footsteps or yards. You may be quantifying how you measured distance, but that’s a quantification of measurement, not distance itself. You can’t quantify the totality of distance, you can only quantify your measurement against the totality of distance.

In a metrics currency system, you get credits for the measurement against the unquantifiable concepts of time or value. The measurement is established and given a universal, equal value to which everyone adheres. You can use these credits to exchange for goods and services. Metric currency models include time banks, local exchange trading systems, global exchange trading systems, community exchange services, commercial credit clearing exchanges, and mutual credit systems.

Don’t Rely on Just One Form of Money:

It’s important for you to understand these categories so you can adopt both of them into your life. Think of money as a separate language. Not all civilizations speak one universal language. Given how many people have problems with the issued currencies systems, especially fiat-based money issued by their governments, they have adopted alternative currencies in the form of metric currencies. At the time of this writing, there are at least 104 countries around the world that have adopted metric currency systems. The best part of metric currency systems is that there are no tax consequences because fiat money or legal tender was not generated or used to facilitate the transaction.

The most ideal situation is for you to speak all money languages. You should be time banking, a part of a commercial credit circle, a mutual credit system, a local exchange trading system, a global trading exchange system, a community exchange system, possess fiat currency, digital currency issued by private organizations, commodity backed currency, and cryptocurrencies. I know that’s a lot. So, here’s the easier route to go. Join a time bank first. Every time you acquire more issued currency, then hedge it by acquiring more metric currency. Every time you diversify the type of your issued currency, then diversify the type of your metric currency. Always aim for currency balance. You will naturally become diversified in both broad currency categories and all ten currency subcategories.

In future issues of the magazine, we will discuss these currency types in more detail.

In the meantime, here are some directories of communities that use alternative forms of money all around the world.

Alternative Currency Directories:

1. Community Exchange System- one of the oldest and most comprehensive alternative money directories

2. TimeBanks

3. HourWorld

4. *TimeRepublik – this is not a directory, but it is an online global community

Since the CES Database is so vast, here’s the link for all of the communities in the world and what type of alternative currency system they use. For convenience, we also published the list.

CES (Alternative Currency) Global Directory:

If you want to go straight to your country of interest, here are individual links:


  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)


  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)


  • CES – Argentina (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Austrailia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Austria (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Basque Country

  • Eusko (local currency)


  • Chiemgauer (local currency)


  • CES – Belgium (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Bolivia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Botswana (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Brazil (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Fomentos (local currency)
  • Capivari (local currency)
  • Cocais (local currency)
  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Bulgaria (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Cameroon (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Canada (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Toronto Dollars (local currency)
  • Calgary Dollar (local currency)


  • CES – Chile (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – China (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Colombia (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Costa Rica

  • CES – Costa Rica (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Croatia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Curacao (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Cyprus (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Czech Republic

  • CES – Czech Republic (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Denmark (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-free banking)
  • Ven (digital currency)

Dominican Republic

  • CES – Dominican Republic (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Ecuador (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Egypt (LETS/Mutual Credits)

El Salvador

  • Puntos (Commercial credit clearing exchange)


  • CES – Estonia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Ethiopia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Fiji (LETS/Mutual Credits) Finland
  • CES – Finland (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-freebanking)


  • CES – France (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Germany (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-free banking)


  • CES – Ghana (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Gibraltar (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Greece (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Guatemala (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Hong Kong

  • CES – Hong Kong (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Hungary (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – India (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)

Indonesia International

  • CES – International (LETS/ Mutual Credits)
  • TimeRepublik (Time bank)
  • Ts (Thank Yous) by Friendly
  • Favors (digital currency)
  • Wacoinda (digital currency)
  • Ven ( (digital currency)
  • Frequent Flyer Miles (sectoral currency)


  • CES – Ireland (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Israel (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Italy (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Sardex (island of Sardinia) (local currency)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-free banking)
  • Ven (digital currency)
  • Tibex – (Commercial credit clearing exchange)


  • Fureai Kippu (sectoral currency)


  • CES – Jordan (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Kenya (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • MPesa


  • CES – Latvia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Lesotho (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Liberia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Luxembourg (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Macedonia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Madagascar (LETS/ Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Malaysia (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Kelantenese dinar (local currency)


  • CES – Mauritius (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Mexico (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Tumin (local currency)
  • Ven – Cancun (digital currency)


  • CES – Moldova (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Namibia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Nepal (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Netherlands (LETS/Mutual Credits)

New Zealand

  • CES – New Zealand (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Nicaragua (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Nigeria (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Norway (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Pakistan (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Paraguay (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Peru (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Philippines (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Poland (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Portugal (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Puerto Rico

  • CES – Puerto Rico (LETS/ Mutual Credits)

Reunion (Island)

  • CES – Reunion (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Romania (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)


  • CES – Russia (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Saudi Arabia

  • CES – Saudi Arabia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Serbia (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Saint Maarten

  • CES – Saint Maarten (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Slovenia (LETS/ Mutual Credits)

South Africa

  • CES – South Africa (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)


  • CES – Spain (LETS/Mutual Credits)(trading systems)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-free banking)
  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Swaziland (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Sweden (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • JAK (Jord Arbete Kapital) Savings Points (interest-free banking)


  • CES – Switzerland (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • WIR Bank
  • Ven (digital currency)


  • MPesa (digital airtime currency)


  • CES – Thailand (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Trinidad & Tobago

  • CES – Trinidad & Tobago (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Tunisia (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Turkey (LETS/Mutual Credits)

Turks and Caicos Islands

  • CES – Turks and Caicos Islands (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Uganda (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Ukraine (LETS/Mutual Credits)

United Arab Emirates

  • CES – United Arab Emirates (LETS/Mutual Credits)

United Kingdom

  • CES – United Kingdom (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Ven (digital currency)
  • Lewes Pound (local currency)
  • Salt Spring Dollars (local currency)
  • Brixton Pound (local currency)
  • Bristol Pound (local currency)
  • Stroud Pound (local currency)

United States

Note: Unfortunately, the United States of America is very resistant to widely adopting the use of complementary currencies. Given the resistance to adoption of complementary currencies, local/state currencies arrive and disappear rather quickly. It is imperative to do your own research to see whether or not your locale has a local currency. Consequently, the following list of complementary currencies based in the United States only include those with the most longevity. This list is by no means exhaustive.

  • CES – United States (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • TimeBanksUSA (Time bank)
  • Berkshares (local currency)
  • Dane County time bank (regional time bank)
  • Fourth Corner Exchange (regional time bank)
  • VBSR (Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Marketplace (Mutual Credits)
  • Ithaca Hours (regional time bank)

Furthermore, excessive regulations by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and draconian taxation laws pertaining to cryptocurrencies increase the barriers to entry for many American citizens. To remain compliant with these laws and regulations, you should employ the services of a tax lawyer or the services of a Certified Public Accountant or Enrolled Agent who was specifically trained by a tax lawyer. It is crucial that you accurately report your cryptocurrency-related transactions because incorrect reporting can get you into a lot of trouble, including being subjected to criminal prosecution.


  • CES – Uruguay (LETS/Mutual Credits)
  • Puntos – (Commercial credit clearing exchange)

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • CES – US Virgin Islands (LETS/ Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Vanuatu (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • CES – Venezuela (LETS/Mutual Credits)


  • Ven (digital currency)


  • CES – Zambia (LETS/MutualCredits)


  • CES – Zimbabwe (LETS/Mutual Credits)

26 Views 5 On 2 Ratings Rate it