Alternative currency is a term that refers to any currency used as an alternative to the dominant national or multinational currency systems (usually referred to as national or fiat money). Alternative currencies can be created by an individual, corporation, or organization, they can be created by national, state, or local governments, or they can arise naturally as people begin to use a certain commodity as a currency.
Mutual credit is a form of alternative currency, and thus any form of lending that does not go through the banking system can be considered a form of alternative currency. When used in combination with or when designed to work in combination with national or multinational fiat currencies they can be referred to as complementary currency. Most complementary currencies are also local currencies and are limited to a certain region.
Barters are another type of alternative currency. These are actually exchange systems, which only trade items; thus without the use of any currency whatsoever. Finally, LETS is a special form of barter which trades points for items. One point stands for one man-hour of work.
Often there are issues related to paying tax. Some alternative currencies are considered tax-exempt, but most of them are fully taxed as if they were national currency, with the caveat that the tax must be paid in the national currency. The legality and tax-status of alternative currencies varies widely from country to country; some systems in use in some countries would be illegal in others.
|Bitcoin||Flattr||Ithaca Hours||LETS||Metacurrency||Open Bank Project||Payswarm||Ripple||Sol||Time/bank||Ven (Hub Culture)||WingCash||WIR Bank||Bernal Bucks (Clearbon)||OS Currency|
|Description||Bitcoin is a digital currency and also refers to the open source
software that uses it, and the peer-to-peer network that it
Unlike most currencies, Bitcoin does not rely on trusting any central issuer. Bitcoin uses a distributed database spread across nodes of a peer-to-peer network to journal transactions, and uses cryptography in order to provide basic security functions, such as ensuring that bitcoins can only be spent by the person who owns them, and never more than once.
Irreversible transactions of any value can be sent internationally in moments for next to no significant cost.
|Flattr was founded to help people share money, not just content. When you're registered to flattr, you pay a small monthly fee. You set the amount yourself. At the end of the month, that fee is divided between all the things you flattered.||Ithaca Hours is a local currency system that promotes local economic strength and community self-reliance in ways which will support economic and social justice, ecology, community participation and human aspirations in and around Ithaca, New York. Ithaca Hours help to keep money local, building the Ithaca economy. It also builds community pride and connections. One Ithaca HOUR is valued at US$10 and is generally recommended to be used as payment for one hour's work, although the rate is negotiable.||Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises that provide a community information service and record transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits. LETS networks use interest-free local credit so direct swaps do not need to be made. In LETS, unlike other local currencies, no scrip is issued, but rather transactions are recorded in a central location open to all members. As credit is issued by the network members, for the benefit of the members themselves, LETS are considered mutual credit systems.||The MetaCurrency Project is building the tools and technology platforms to open source the next economy. We will not have an equitable nor a healthy economy in an information age, until we have information technology which empowers us equitably -- that is decentralized, peer-to-peer and operates by mutual agreement. We are building those technology tools, protocols and platforms. To fully meet our criteria, people need to be able to transact directly with each other with no segment of that interaction relying on a centrally controlled system.||The Open Bank Project is a European initiative to open up financial transactions to much larger groups of individuals and raise the bar of financial transparency. It will achieve this by allowing a diverse range of third-party software applications (including fraud analysis tools, web apps, mobile apps, social widgets and payment gateways) to access any bank account that supports the Open Bank Protocol and API.||PaySwarm enables people that create digital content such as blog posts, music, film, episodic content, photos, virtual goods, and documents to distribute their creations through their website and receive payment directly from their fans and customers. PaySwarm itself is an open, patent and royalty free standard.||Ripple is a monetary system that makes simple obligations between friends as useful for making payments as regular money.||Sol is still an experimental currency from the Sol project, in partnership with a bank, insurance companies, lunch voucher group, French regions and with support from the European Social Fund "Equal" Program. Sol is an abbreviation of solidarity. This is a complementary currency which aims to put the money as a means and not as an end. It is also a melting currency which when it is not used, it is reassigned collectively on projects of social and ecological benefits. It relies on the Sol network, all firms and partners who share this currency. This currency is completely paperless: no coins or banknotes. Trade pass through one of electronic media: smart card, internet, telephone.||time/bank is a platform where groups and individuals can pool and trade time and skills, bypassing money as a measyre of value. Time/Bank is based on the premise that everyone in the field of culture has something to contribute and that it is possible to develop and sustain an alternative economy by connecting existing needs with unacknowledged resources.||Ven is a virtual currency used by members of Hub Culture to buy, share and trade knowledge, goods and services on a global basis. The currency is currently linked to a highly diversified basket of currencies, commodities and carbon futures and trades against other major currencies at floating exchange rates.||Send and receive cash electronically without fees. WingCash is a simple way for individuals and businesses to send and receive cash on the Internet. WingCash does not charge any fees for sending or receiving Notes on the WingCash site. However, there is a charge of $0.25 per transaction when redeeming WingCash Notes and transferring the funds via ACH to a financial institution such as a bank. Please note that participating retailers or your Financial Institution may charge you for converting paper cash to WingCash Notes or vice versa.||The WIR Bank, formerly the Swiss Economic Circle (GER: Wirtschaftsring-Genossenschaft), or WIR, is an independent complementary currency system in Switzerland that serves small and medium-sized businesses. It exists only as a bookkeeping system, with no scrip, to facilitate transactions.||Bernal Bucks is a card-based shared rewards program for the Bernal Heights neighborhood in San Francisco, CA. Cardholder earns Bernal Bucks rewards when making purchases with the Bernal Bucks VISA debit card at participating businesses, and can then redeem these rewards at participating businesses. Rewards are issued as vouchers by each business individually, but mutually accepted as part of an acceptance agreement. Bernal Bucks is a virtual currency powered by the Clearbon voucher clearing solution.||oscurrency is open source community currency web software. Suitable for timebanks or B2B barter networks, it supports OpenTransact/OAuth and supports heroku deployment.|
|Status of the project||Project in beta development stage, being used by between 50-100K
people around the world. Running continuously for >3
Multiple currency exchanges for major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, CAD etc) in multiple countries. Multiple merchant solutions for shopping cart integration.
|Over 900 participants publicly accepted Ithaca HOURS for goods and services at its peak, but today the system is largely dormant.||Local exchange trading systems now exist in many countries.||Under Active development. There are past and current iterations of approach available on github at https://github.com/zippy||We are building a consortium of banks, software companies, institutions, universities and open source and web 2.0 experts who will apply for EU funding and realise the project. Partners already include organisations from Germany, France, UK, Finland, Israel and Egypt.||There are no vibrant, active, and popular Ripple trading communities yet. There are several single-server implementations of the Ripple concept, in various states of repair and completion. The protocol for a distributed Ripple network has many designs, but no implementations yet.||It has been launched in 9 regions in France (over a total of 26 regions).||Hub Culture is a network of over 20,000 professionals, executives and entrepreneurs who are motivated for positive social and economic change. Hub Culture is a network with primary bases in the world's big urban hubs, including London, New York and San Francisco, Geneva, Bermuda, Singapore and Hong Kong. Hub has over 60 representatives in major cities around the world.||Although WIR started with only 16 members, today it has grown to include 62,000, among whom is traded approximately CHF 1.65 billion annually (as of 2004). The available money supply (currency code CHW) was 839 million equivalent Swiss francs (as of 2005).||The card program was started in late Q1 2011.||active development on github with several active deployments.|
|Single central authority||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Uses cryptography||Yes||No||No||No||Yes For identity management and addressing||No||No||Yes SMART authentication||No||Yes||Yes ssl, oauth|
|Languages||>15 (spread over different Bitcoin clients) including English, German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, French, Czech, Japanese, Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Slovak, Chinese (simplified)||English||English||English, French, Spanish||English, French, German, Italian||English||English||French||English||English||English||German, French, Italian||English||english, spanish, greek, french|
|License||MIT License (free to use for everyone with no restrictions)||Private: 10% of the incoming revenue as a fee.||no license||Private social currency||Private||Private||SaaS||affero|
|Founder(s)||Satoshi Nakamoto, Gavin Andresen||Paul Glover||Michael Linton||Arthur Brock, Eric Harris-Braun||Simon Redfern||Ryan Fugger||Collectif "Reconsidérer la richesse"||Stan Stalnaker||Werner Zimmermann, Paul Enz||Guillaume Lebleu, Arno Hesse|
|Origin||USA||Sweden||New-York, USA||USA, France, Mexico||USA||France||New-York, USA||Hong Kong, China||Swiss||San Francisco, CA||USA|
|History||See https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/History||The system has historical roots in scrip and alternative and local currencies that proliferated in America during the great depression. It is the oldest and largest local currency system in the United States that is still operating.||One central issue we are trying to solve: Let me digitally transact with you without requiring any centralized 3rd party authority. Examples of centrally controlled hurdles to clear: national currencies, IP Addresses, Domain Names, ISPs, etc. This means not only building alt.currencies, but eventually alternative network / computing infrastructure as well.||Ven first appeared as an application in Facebook on 4 July, 2007. In late 2008, the currency became tradeable to anyone with an email address, making it the first global digital currency to move from an online social network into the real world. In 2010 the currency moved to its present diversified structure, making it the first environmentally backed currency. Ven was the first virtual currency to develop linked derivatives, funds, commodity trades, and micro-finance projects through the development of Hub Culture managed virtual currency products - http://hub.vg/funds||WIR was founded in 1934 as a result of currency shortages after the stock market crash of 1929. Both Zimmermann and Enz had been influenced by German libertarian economist Silvio Gesell; however, the WIR Bank renounced Gesell's "free money" theory in 1952, opening the door to monetary interest.||oscurrency is a fork of insoshi, a ruby on rails social network project.|
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