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  and Barter Industry Since 1979
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IRTA, is committed to promoting just and equitable standards of practice and operation within the Modern Trade and Barter and other Alternative Capital Systems Industry, by raising the awareness and value of these processes to the entire Global Community.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015
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Message From UC:

New Software, New Logo, New URL! A Whole New Era!

UC has entered a new era with the August 2015 release of its own customized software designed by UC and Tess/BPS Technology.  UC also upgraded to a much fresher, more modern logo, and changed UC's URL to www.ucci.trade!  

UC & IRTA are very excited about this launch - it is the first time in UC's seventeen year history that UC will operate on custom designed software specially tailored to meet the unique inter-exchange clearinghouse requirements of UC.

Based on strong member feedback and detailed research by the UC Software Committee, the system has been designed with an eye towards simplicity, ease of use, (including mobile devices), and an emphasis has been placed on multiple search parameters to maximize the search options. All these features are designed to improve UC members' user experience and help UC to maintain its position as the industry's leading inter-exchange clearinghouse platform.

The UC software version released this month is just the beginning of the system's development. Further enhancements to the software are being worked-on daily and the next version is scheduled to be released on or before September 8th, 2015.  Tess/BPS is committed to providing regular ongoing enhancements to assure the software will include the latest state-of-the-art technological advancements, (including an API system that will provide a set of common rails to allow participation by all exchanges, regardless of what software system they are on).   

UC, IRTA and Tess/BPS are already moving forward with the development of a separate and distinct white-label software product that will be offered to third party users by the end of 2015.  

The deployment of the new UC Software, coupled with the release of a scaled white-label software version for exchanges, will represent the fulfillment of the long stated goal of IRTA/UC to create a common set of payment rails for the industry in collaboration with a well-funded, and committed company like BPS. We believe this software initiative is a step-change opportunity for the industry, and has the potential to move the industry towards functioning at a robust and secure transactional level equal to that of transactions in the cash economy.


Ron Whitney
UC Administrator & IRTA Executive Director

Patty Weston
UC International Broker & IRTA Project Manager

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Bob Bagga Selected As 2015 Barter Hall of Fame Inductee

August 1, 2015

The Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce that Bob Bagga, Co-Founder, President and CEO of BizX with offices in Seattle, Oakland, and Dubai, has been selected to receive the 2015 Hall of Fame Award. This is the highest honor conferred by IRTA.

The award will be presented at IRTA's 36th Annual International Convention being held September 17th through 19th at the Solmar Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Bob's accomplishments in the private currency and barter industry have garnered him international recognition. Over the last 20 years, he has built a number of successful trade exchanges. His first company, Barter Business Exchange, which he co-founded at the age of 22, went on to go public as Ubarter.com. He co-founded BizX in 2002 which has grown to be the leading trade exchange on the West Coast. BizX has been recognized by INC magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the US for 6 yrs and winner of many regional and national awards.

In 1992, he co-founded Barter Business Exchange (BBE), which expanded across Canada with offices in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, and Vancouver. Rogers Communication, Revlon and Kodak, along with 4,000 other companies were all members of BBE, trading in excess of $60 million a year. BBE went on to become one of Canada's fastest growing companies, and was rated at #46 in 1998 and #51 in 1999 by Profit Magazine. It even went on to be featured by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Venture program. In 1999, BBE merged with International Barter Corp to create Ubarter.com, and later that year was acquired by Seattle-based shopnow.comand listed on NASDAQ.

Bob has been extensively involved with IRTA serving on the Board and holding numerous positions, including Chair of the Certified Broker Training (CTB) committee, Convention Committee, Vice President, Treasurer, and a member of the UC Committee. He was also a part of the IRTA Board that worked to create the Universal Currency (UC) system, a clearinghouse for trade exchanges that allows exchange members to buy and sell between one another, vastly broadening their reach. In 2005 IRTA recognized Bob's many contributions and accomplishments by giving him the Outstanding Achievement Award and the Legends of Barter Award.

Bob is actively involved in the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a recipient of the Puget Sound Business Journal 40 under 40 award. He lives in Seattle with his wife Anita and 3 children Nikhil, Dylan & Mia.

IRTA congratulates Bob on his well deserved 2015 Hall of Fame Award!  

Complementary Economics Foundation Formed

April 29, 2015 

Complementary Economics Foundation Formed To Provide Education, Training and Support Services for Innovation in the Modern Trade and Alternative Capital Systems Sectors 

IRTA is pleased to announce that it played a facilitating role in the creation of the Complementary Economics Foundation (CEF) a U.S. based non-profit, IRS
approved tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization. As a result, the CEF is able to accept tax deductible donations in both cash and trade.

The CEF will provide international education for legal and sustainable commercial and non-commercial, community based mutual credit clearing systems that provides an important alternative marketplace for NGO's, non-profits, businesses and consumers. Included under the complementary economics umbrella are barter companies that deal in larger corporate trades and countertrade organizations that utilize various forms of barter as a mechanism for transacting multi-country import and export activities. 

The CEF's mission is to provide meaningful education, public awareness and support services for all of these sectors in an effort to improve their effectiveness in benefiting and strengthening economies and encouraging next generation participation to innovate in these fields.

For more information about the CEF contact: Annette Riggs at 303-945-2443 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

President's Message - 2014 & Beyond

January 23, 2015


2014 was a great year for IRTA and UC, as both organizations surpassed their goals for the year. While we have enjoyed a number of achievements and successes, 2014 presented a few challenges as well.


We have seen exceptional growth, continually improved financials and reached important milestones as an advocate for the barter industry.


Resolving an increasingly problematic issue for UC and the industry in the U.S., IRTA obtained a favorable IRS Private Letter Ruling, which stated that as a pass-through entity UC does not have to provide 1099B's to UC member exchanges, based on the fact that to do so would represent duplicate 1099ing of the same barter transaction. The guidance IRTA has derived from UC's PLR confirms IRTA's long held position that barter exchanges do not have to submit 1099B's in direct reciprocal situations since both barter exchange participants in a direct reciprocal arrangement are in fact acting "as the clearinghouse between two barter exchanges to effect sales on behalf of their respective clients."


IRTA responded to concerns regarding new state financial regulations concerning Money Transmitters as a result of the rise of cryptocurrencies and the potential impact on other complementary currencies including barter/trade currencies. We have hired a D.C. based law firm to help us stay apprised of new legislation so that IRTA can respond as it has already in California and New York. We have several IRTA members watching similar activity in other international jurisdictions so that we are ready to take action when necessary.


IRTA wrote an opinion for the State of California to exclude "barter exchanges" as money transmitters and after educating the state regarding the history of our industry, we received a favorable opinion back confirming the same.  We issued another opinion to the State of New York's Financial Services Division on October 16th, 2014 requesting that NY State exclude barter exchanges from any definition of virtual currencies. 


UC trading set an all-time annual record of 11,346,750 million for 2014, (a 32% increase over 2013). UC's 2014 cash revenue was up 21% over 2013's revenue, and IRTA's cash revenue in 2014 was 6% greater than 2013's revenue.


On behalf of the IRTA Board of Directors, I want to give special thanks to Ron Whitney for his accomplishments and unwavering dedication in 2014 despite a prolonged and unprecedented campaign to undermine his hard work and the stability of the association as a whole. Since 2007 when Ron accepted the position as Executive Director of IRTA, he has more than tripled the membership in both IRTA and UC and more than doubled the trade volume in UC. His results speak for themselves, but as most of you know, he is most importantly a trusted advisor, colleague and friend. From dispute resolutions to very large tax abatements that he secured in 2014 on behalf of IRTA members, he continually demonstrates that IRTA is not a cost, but an investment for every trade exchange that pays dividends financially and professionally.


Our goals in 2015 are to continue to grow the memberships of IRTA and UC and roll out more initiatives to better serve the Trade, Barter and Alternative Capital Systems Industry. BPS Technologies will provide a state-of-the-art barter software technology to UC in March of 2015 with a live roll out expected in April of 2015. IRTA has been working closely with the IT team to contribute to the development of the software and BPS is making a significant investment in the technology to provide a state of the art system.  


The Board of Directors will meet in late February for its annual two day planning meeting to evaluate and set the next steps and goals for IRTA and UC, so stay tuned! 


Our industry faces many challenges on an ongoing basis so it is by your participation and working together in constructive ways that we will all improve and thrive.


Best wishes for success in the New Year!




Annette Riggs

President, IRTA & UC

Universal Currency Receives IRS Ruling

January 19, 2015

Universal Currency (UC) Receives IRS Ruling Exempting It From 1099B Reporting Requirements Due to Clearinghouse Role of UC 

Influences 1099B Reporting Requirements For Exchanges' Internal Direct Recip Accounts 

IRTA's global inter-exchange trading platform, Universal Clearinghouse Inc. (UC) received a Private Letter Ruling (PLR) from the IRS on January 8th, 2015 stating that:

"UC does not have a reporting requirement under Section 6045 of the Internal Revenue Code with regard to transactions in which it acts in its capacity as the clearinghouse between two barter exchanges to effect sales on behalf of their respective clients."


The IRS's UC PLR confirms that UC is not required to issue 1099B's because UC acts as a clearinghouse for transactions in which the UC
exchange members' selling clients have already received a 1099B from their respective UC member exchange. If UC were to 1099B a UC transaction between UC member exchanges, it would result in unnecessary double IRS 1099B reporting of the same transaction. 

While IRS PLR decisions apply only to the party that requested the PLR, private letter rulings are customarily used by taxpayers and the government for guidance.

IRTA requires that all IRTA exchange members comply with IRS 1099B Reporting Requirements.  In this instance, the guidance IRTA has derived from UC's PLR confirms IRTA's long held position that barter exchanges do not have to submit 1099B's in direct recip situations since both barter exchange participants in a direct recip arrangement are in fact acting "as the clearinghouse between two barter exchanges to effect sales on behalf of their respective clients."  

Read the entire IRS PLR for UC

Read UC's PLR submission letter to the IRS

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact IRTA's Executive Director, Ron Whitney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 757-393-2292.

UC Sets Trading and Cash Revenue Records in 2014

January 12, 2015

UC set an all-time annual trading record of 11,346,750 in 2014, (a 32% increase over 2013), and UC set an all-time monthly trading record of 1,372,659 in January of 2014.

UC's 2014 cash revenue was also up 21% over 2013's revenue.

These impressive results are a testament to the strength of UC.

Thank you to all our UC members for helping make 2014 the best year in the 17 year history of UC!!

Kindest regards, Ron & Patty

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IRTA Member News and Information


VirtualBarter launches FixXchange.

FixXchange, a new member service, empowers 30,000 FixxBook contractors to trade their services and excess inventories with select US barter exchange members.

Read More

iTradeEarth launches new website.

iTradeEarth, in its quest to provide its members with an exicting, intuitive, online user experience, launched its new website and trading platform to rave member reviews.

Read More

PCI Compliance

Recent Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards require organizations that accept credit and debit cards to follow new strict guidelines for the handling of credit and debit card information so as to prevent credit and debit card fraud. The new PCI standards clearly apply to barter exchanges and/or community currency organizations.

Specifically, the common practice of emailing or faxing member credit card information on travel requests is not compliant. The solution is to have the member call the hotel or property directly with their cc info after confirmation. It will go directly into their computer system without a document being passed from person to person in an unsecure manner.

Non-compliant companies who maintain a relationship with one or more of the card brands, either directly or through an acquirer, risk losing their ability to process credit card payments and being audited and/or fined..

Continue Reading

Connecticut Bar Association Renders Favorable Opinion

August 26, 2015

IRTA is pleased to report that the Connecticut Bar Association rendered an opinion on July 15th, 2015 that concludes that attorneys are permitted to participate in barter exchanges in the State of Connecticut.

The well reasoned "Informal Opinion 15-04 - Lawyer's Participation In A Barter-Exchange Program" states that payment of legal fees via trade dollars is permissible. Additionally, the opinion says that the payment of membership fees and/or transaction fees does not constitute fee sharing and therefore are not a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The CT Bar Association opinion also set forth reasonable expectations on barter exchanges' conduct regarding attorneys such as:

  • No limitation on the number of attorneys that may participate in a barter exchange.
  • The attorney retains sole discretion over the decision to accept representation.
  • The exchange will not interfere with the customary attorney-client privilege.
  • All barter exchange advertising about attorneys must be truthful and not misleading.

View the Full Opinion

IRTA sincerely thanks the following individuals for their expertise in helping obtain this most important decision: 

Martin Sklapsky, Esq., In-House Legal Counsel for IMS

John Strabley, CEO, IMS

Warren F. Sasso, Jr., Esq., Practicing Attorney, Seymour, CT.

BPS Technology Releases First Year Results

August 15, 2015

View the Full Report


June 1, 2015

UC posted 1,729,772 of trading in May, 2015 - smashing the prior monthly trading record from January 2014 by 357,112!

A special UC thanks Worldtradex, IMS, Greenapple and Northwest Barter Brokers for processing their large media deals through UC!

IRTA's Executive Director, Ron Whitney Interviewed on BarterTown Radio

November 1, 2014

IRTA Global Board/UC Committee

October 4, 2014: Report on Universal Currency (UC)

Read the Full Report

IRTA Receives Favorable Opinion From CA Commissioner of Business Oversight

June 30, 2014

Barter Exchanges Do Not Need To Be Licensed Under CA Money Transmitter Act  

The global proliferation of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies has caused many governmental agencies to review their financial code sections that relate to money transmission reporting requirements.

Since the FinCEN advisory was released last year, there has been great concern and confusion in the barter industry. Some state governments are reviewing their own codes. There is concern that such reviews might result in new code revisions that could be written in a manner so as to restrict, or even eliminate the organized barter business model in multiple jurisdictions.

In the Spring of 2014, IRTA became aware of the State of California's intent to revise their Money Transmission Act, (MTA), Financial Code Section 2000. IRTA initiated contact with the California Department of Business Oversight, (CDBO), and then submitted its position and explanation on why barter exchanges are not Bitcoin-like crypto-currencies, and as such should not be covered by the California MTA.

Click HERE to read IRTA's April 25, 2014 letter to the CNBO.  

On June 26, 2014, CDBO Commissioner, Jan Lynn Owen, and Senior Legal Counsel, Jennifer Rumberger, Esq. wrote IRTA to confirm that "barter exchanges do not need to be licensed under the CA Money Transmitter Act. Commissioner Owen and Senior Counsel Rumberger based their opinion on the following important points; 1) Since barter exchanges act as third party record keepers, they do not "receive money for transmission", 2) barter exchanges are not an "issuer of stored value", and 3) barter exchange trade credits are not redeemable for cash. 

Click HERE to read the CDBO's June 26, 2014 opinion letter to IRTA.

IRTA President, Annette Riggs reiterated the importance of the CBDO's opinion regarding barter exchanges not falling under the CA Money Transmitter Act by saying: 

"IRTA was assured from FinCEN last year that their advisory on Money Transmitter reporting requirements was not intended to include the barter industry. The recent reviews by various states has required us to pay close attention to how the state codes are being written. The response that IRTA received from the CBDO sets an important precedent and makes a clear distinction between the barter industry and the growing crypto-currency sector that is required to meet reporting requirements as Money Transmitters. All member agreements and methodologies that trade/barter exchanges use need to be in accordance with our status as 3rd party record keepers. The upcoming 35th Annual Convention in Cancun, September 25 - 27 will be a great opportunity to discuss this in detail and review the model contract that IRTA is revising to assure that exchanges don't compromise the legal status obtained in 1982 in the TEFRA Act." 

Latest Industry Advocacy By IRTA

April 25, 2014

IRTA Weighs-In With The State Of California To Protect The Barter Industry

The California Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) is proposing changes to the California Money Transmitter Act (CMTA) that could negatively impact the U.S. and international barter industry.

Therefore, IRTA has written a letter to the Legal Division of the California Department of Business Oversight in an effort to explain the history of our industry and to request that any changes to the CMTA will not characterize barter exchanges as "money transmitters," thereby excluding barter exchanges from any potentially restrictive language.

Click the button below to read the complete letter from IRTA Executive, Ron Whitney's April 25, 2014 communication to the State of California.  

View the Letter to the
State of California


Charges Against Bangla-Pesa Dropped


The Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions announced on August 23, 2013 that all charges against the Bangla-Pesa poverty reduction complementary currency program.

IRTA played an important role in the appeal process with the submission of Annette Rigg's June 4, 2013 letter to Kenyan government officials in support of the Bangla-Pessa program as "perfectly acceptable and legal form of commerce" that would "facilitate more exchange within the Bangladesh community and help the local economy.

Read the Announcement About the Charges Being Dropped

View Letter from IRTA's President Annette Riggs


IRTA Assists Non-Profit Kenyan Complementary Currency Group Facing Forgery Charges  


Six members of the non-profit communitybased organization known as Koru-Kenya, were recently arrested and are facing seven years in jail on forgery charges resulting from the creation of a complementary currency called Bangla-Pesa. 

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Sign the the CCSConf Petition

Contribute to the Kenyan Bangla-Pesa Program

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Bartering Helps Small Businesses Conserve Cash

April 27, 2015

Bret Hughes, owner of Seaside Grill, bartered restaurant certificates for a bathroom repair for his restaurant.

View the Sun Sentinel Article

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