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Some towns have their own currency
Some towns have their own currency | Photo by thecameo

Some towns have their own currency

Some towns and cities are legally printing their own money as banking alternatives for their residents.

Known as local currencies, they were widely used during the Great Depression to spur local business growth. Ithaca, New York, has its "Hours" local currency. Pittsboro, North Carolina, has the "Plenty," and Massachusetts' Berkshire region has "BerkShares."

Their main draw is they offer more bang for your buck. Consumers go to their banks and exchange 95 cents for $1 worth of BerkShares, for example.

The objective is bringing power back to communities, says Nick Kacher, former outreach coordinator for the New Economics Institute in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which helped launch BerkShares. "It's a democratically controlled tool," he says. Currently, 13 Berkshire bank branches exchange dollars for BerkShares, which can be used at hundreds of Berkshire restaurants, stores and service firms.

Of course, local currencies are used by cash-only spenders.

 

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