In communities around the world, people have come up with alternatives to the usual way of paying for goods and services. Instead of yen, pounds or dollars, they are using privately developed substitutes called complementary currencies.
A complementary currency is a medium of exchange that functions alongside a national currency to fulfill a need that the national currency seemingly does not. According to the International Journal of Community Currency Research, community and complementary currency systems have four main purposes:
- To promote local economic development
- To build social capital
- To nurture more sustainable lifestyles
- To meet needs that mainstream money does not