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  and Barter Industry Since 1979
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Raising awareness and value of industry Standards to enhance the entire Global Community.
Enhancing and building Trade Velocity through Reciprocal trading with a Universal Trade Currency.
Annual International Conventions foster Relationships and cooperation between exchanges worldwide.


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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015
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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

Dutch Court Rules in Favor of TradeQoin in Defamation Case Against TradeXchange Netherlands

December 2, 2014 

A Dutch Court has ruled in favor of TradeQoin regarding recent Linkedin statements made by Jacob Musschenga of TradeXchange Netherlands, which referenced Dennis Smith blogs as the authority for Mr. Musschenga's opinions about TradeQoin. The Court disqualified Mr. Musschenga's Linkedin posts by concluding that reliance on Dennis Smith untrustworthy blogs was improper. Mr. Musschenga was ordered by the Dutch Court to post a rectification on Linkedin.

Mr. Musschenga's rectification on Linkedin stated:

"Recently, I have posted several messages on this forum in which I have questioned the creditability of TradeQoin and Rob van Hilten. By judgment of 19 November 2014 the judge of the Dutch court in Leeuwarden hearing an application for interim measures ruled that by posting these messages I have acted unlawfully toward TradeQoin and Rob van Hilten. The judge did not consider it likely that there is any substance to the accusations I made against TradeQoin and Rob van Hilten in these messages. Therefore, the judge has ordered me to rectify these messages, which I wish to do herewith. I request you to regard these messages as not written." Jacob Musschenga

Additional findings of Dutch Court were: From Section 4.7 of the verdict

Tradexchange uses dennis.co.nz as the source for their accusations against Rob van Hilten and TradeQoin. Smith has a section of “conspiracy theories” on his site, including claims that Michelle Obama is a transsexual and the world is ruled by satanic / Jewish bankers. These theories are in the opinion of the judge nonsense, and the fact that Smith claims these theories are factual and based on solid research, immediately disqualifies his research. In all reasonability, TradeXchange should never have trusted the research/opinions of this source.

From section 4.17 of the verdict

In the opinion of the judge, TradeXchange has not met the high standards that are required to actually claim the accusations that they made. Because the posts were made on the Think barter group, which is read by interested people, these accusations can have significant consequences.




October 3, 2014: IRTA's Cancun Convention a Big Success

Membership Applauds IRTA & UC's Accomplishments & Global Board Re-Elects Annette Riggs as President


IRTA's 35th Annual International Convention in Cancun, Mexico was a resounding success as representatives from trade organizations around the globe rallied in support of IRTA and UC's thirty-five years of meaningful accomplishments for the barter industry.

The convention was opened by world renowned actress Dette Glashouwer, who dazzled the audience with her creative presentation on the history of money, central banks and barter. Seminars on complementary currencies, FINCEN rulings, proper deficit management, sales & broker training, real estate trading and UC were all well attended.

The IRTA annual meeting reviewed IRTA and UC's 2014 financials. The Treasurer distributed the Financial Reports and provided an overview of challenges and successes before opening the discussion to the members for a Q&A session. So far in 2014 twenty new members joined IRTA and there has been record setting UC trading and UC cash revenues for the year. Despite a software conversion and other challenges in September, UC set a trading record for the month of September with 637,204.02 of trading, thereby exceeding 2013's total annual trade volume of 8,598,461.70, after only three quarters in 2014, with one full quarter of trading still to go in 2014.

"It really was a great convention, with a lot of camaraderie and warm feelings of good will and support from everyone who attended," said IRTA Executive Director Ron Whitney.

The IRTA membership re-elected John Strabley, (IMS, Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Mary Ellen Rosinski, (Tradesource, Phoenix, Arizona), and Scot Mathewson, (iTradeearth, Cayey, Puerto Rico), to the Global Board of directors and also elected new board members Chong Kee Tan, (Bay-Bucks, San Francisco, CA), and Steve Zadrick, (WorldtradeX, Ocala, Florida).

The IRTA Global Board re-elected Annette Riggs to another two-year term as President of IRTA and also re-elected Mary Ellen Rosinski as Treasurer of IRTA. New board member Chong Kee Tan was elected to serve as IRTA's Secretary. Scott Whitmer, IRTA's Vice-President, retained his VP seat as his VP term runs through September of 2015. 

The Cancun Convention was capped-off by the Annual Awards Dinner that honored Michael Mercier of Metro Trade in Detroit, Michigan with the Barter Hall of Fame Award. Other key awards were received by Bruce Kamm, (Paul St. Martin Award), Vern Ulery and Richard Harris, (Legends of Barter Award), and Diane Gasper for 2014 UC Broker of the Year.

IRTA and UC congratulate all the 2014 award winners and looks forward to another year of tremendous growth in both IRTA and UC as well as reaching important industry advocacy goals.



Michael Mercier Selected As 2014 Barter Hall of Fame Inductee  

The Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce that Michael Mercier, founder and President of Metro Trading Association, has been selected to receive the 2014 Hall of Fame Award. This is the highest honor conferred by IRTA. He is a barter industry founder and past President of IRTA. The Hall of Fame Committee is comprised of all the former recipients of the Hall of Fame Award.

The award will be presented at IRTA's 35th Annual International Convention being held September 25th through 27th in Cancun at the Grand Oasis Resort.

Michael started Metro Trading Association in 1978. It services the business community in Michigan and Ohio. In addition to being a past IRTA President, Michael has served as IRTA's Vice-President and Secretary.  Mercier has chaired numerous IRTA committees and been recognized with the "Paul St. Martin Award", "Legend of Barter Award" and numerous "Outstanding Achievement Awards."  Since 1984 he has been a tireless worker to unite the industry domestically.                           

Michael also played a leading role as the long-term chair person of IRTA's Government Relations Committee. He authored, (with IRTA staff), legislation to regulate the industry that was twice introduced in the United States Congress. Additionally, he was deeply involved with lobbying Congress in response to the "John Doe" summons activity of the IRS. This led to the government's recognition of the barter industry as a third-party record keeper via the Tax Equity and Fiscal and Responsibility Act (TEFRA). This record keeper designation was the first point cited by the Commissioner in the the recent exemption obtained by IRTA from the CA Money Transmitter Act.  

IRTA congratulates Michael on his well deserved 2014 Hall of Fame Award!

IRTA invites all retail barter exchanges, corporate trade companies, complementary currency organizations and counter-trade companies to attend this year's most important industry convention!     



Active International Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary. Named Platinum Sponsor For IRTA's 2014 Cancun Convention.

IRTA is proud to announce that Active International, www.activeinternational.com, the barter industry's largest corporate trading company, will be the Platinum Sponsor for this year's 35th Annual International Convention at the Grand Oasis Cancun Resort from September 25th through 27th, 2014.   

Active's CEO and co-founder Alan Elkin commented, "Active goes back with IRTA over 25 years. We always believed in IRTA's mission. We also believed that the barter industry needed an objective and strong voice in the marketplace. We have seen IRTA's evolution over the years into an organization that truly represents the entire industry."


Active's Founders, Alan Elkin & Art Wagner

Active is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The company operates in 14 countries with a staff of 500+ experienced professionals. IRTA congratulates Active for its 30 years of unsurpassed excellence in the corporate trade industry and is thankful for Active's ongoing support of IRTA!

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International Reciprocal Trade Association News

The new IRTA website features custom architecture and a new enhanced user experience.

It's rich interactive interface is designed to enhance member's and visitor's online experience.

Member Directory: Find a Local Exchange.

View the Member Directory to find select barter exchanges committed to the highest ethics and industry standards.

Assure a positive experience with IRTA Members.

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UC Members: Enhanced trade opportunities.

UC Member exchanges offer enhanced value with a brilliant array of worldwide reciprocal trade opportunites.

Enhance your success with UC Member exchanges.

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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..

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IRTA & UC Terminates BXI Trade Exchange Inc.'s Memberships

March 6, 2015

BXI Trade Exchange Inc's (BTE) memberships in IRTA and UC were terminated by the IRTA Global Board of Directors and UC Committee on March 5, 2015. 

The IRTA Board and UC Committee concluded that BTE was in violation of the pre-condition of their IRTA and UC memberships, whereby they were precluded from representing BTE as the "old BXI."

Read IRTA and UC's Complete Decision on this Matter

BPS Technology to Enter China with BarterCard

January 29, 2015

View the Media Release

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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Contribute to the Kenyan Bangla-Pesa Program

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