It’s Not Counterfeit, It’s “Artisanal” Currency

This paper sports David Bowie's lightning-shocked face, and it's spendable! Well, in its local area it is. According to the NYTimes:

As Bitcoin, PayPal and other electronic forms of payment grow in popularity in the global economy, cash in a growing number of places — not only Bristol and Brixton, but also Amsterdam; Ithaca, N.Y.; and elsewhere — is becoming quite literally an artisanal object.

These are small-batch currencies designed by locals and lovingly handled by millennials, who came of age during the rise of the Internet, the meltdown of the stock market and Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency revelations, and would be forgiven for becoming more wary of credit and debit cards. Many are already opting for standard paper money over plastic (when not resorting to freeganism or bartering, that is).

If you want more information about how it works, here's more from Ithacash (I$): 

As in other models such as the Bristol Pounds, Brixton Pounds, and [Massachusetts's] Berkshares, Ithacash will be connected to the national currency on a 1 to 1 basis.  People may purchase them at a variable discount and/or otherwise earn them through special bonuses, collecting bounties, by applying for grant funding to support a cause they care about, or by helping someone with something they need!

Local merchants who are willing to accept Ithaca Dollars will be featured in a directory, on a map, and via other promotional materials the system will create to promote those businesses and the deals they offer folks using Ithacash.  There is never an obligation to accept Ithaca Dollars, as they are not legal tender.  Rather they are local tender, good for many things, all on a volunteer basis. They are still subject to sales and other taxes, and can be treated like regular cash when reporting these duties to the authorities.

It works where local shoppers are buying from local purveyors and can agree among themselves on the value and method of exchange. But if other people use gift cards practically as currency, why not have alternate currencies? Maybe we could give some of those talented counterfeiters legitimate design work!

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