Complementary Currency

The community/complementary currency sector continues to evolve and provides the most creative and interesting innovative initiatives in the industry. They typically issue a physical “scrip currency” that circulates through the system. Complementary currency organizations also have a clear identifiable social purpose, be it to improve the local economies, poverty alleviation, improve volunteer participation and/or youth and elderly services.

Historically complementary currency organizations have focused on providing alternative marketplaces in local and regional areas. Such operations generally did not have a revenue model and consequently were funded by donations and/or grants. Often times the initiatives would last as long as the funding lasted.

New hybrid-type complementary currency models are being developed and implemented that combine a revenue source via transactions fees with traditional non-profit funding sources. The positive result is a more financially sustainable complementary currency based program.

Example(s) of Complementary Currency Organizations:

Bay Bucks


  • Money Without Exploitation: An Interview with Bay Bucks Founder Chong Kee Tan

    This is the second story in a series, “From the Ground Up,” chronicling community-level efforts to overcome economic insecurity and establish sustainable and just communities. More

  • Are Community/Local Currencies Also Barter Exchanges?

    Reviews the distinctions between community based currencies and barter trade dollars as the relate to the IRS. More

  • Time Banking and the IRS

    Reviews historical rulings regarding the issue of whether community currency transactions are taxable events. More

  • The Sardex Factor – Financial Crisis in Sardinia – Sardex Currency Solution

    September 15, 2015 Financial Times article on Sardex’s local currency model. More

  • The Advent of Artisanal Cash

    New York Times Article on Local Currencies. More

  • Governor Brown Approves California Alternative Currencies Act

    On June 28th, 2014, California took a significant step toward further legitimizing the creation and circulation of community currencies and other innovative means of exchange… More