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The Other Side of the Coin in Spain

Inés Benítez, Inter Press Service
Wholemeal rye bread, lettuce and chard are some of the products on offer from the El Caminito urban vegetable garden at the small organic produce market in this southern Spanish city, with prices set in “comunes”, one of more than 30 social currencies circulating in the country.

“The aim is to find an alternative to the curse of unbridled capitalism and to sow the foundations of a more just and compassionate society,” activist David Chapman of the Málaga Común platform, the network responsible for the market, told IPS…

In Spain, over 30 local currencies coexist with the euro, and they are “tools empowering communities by means of the exchange of products and services and the creation of parallel markets,” economist and writer Julio Gisbert told IPS…
(8 April 2013)

Avoiding Economic Collapse: Complementary Currencies

James Corbett, GlobalResearch TV

As the Cyprus fiasco focuses attention once again on the faltering Euro, the public is finally questioning the value of the money in their wallets and bank accounts. But as the issue of monetary reform gains currency amongst the public, a vast array of complementary currencies are already helping people facilitate transactions without the central bank administered fiat money. Find out more in this week’s GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.
(6 April 2013)

Social currencies gain strength in Brazil

Thiago Borges, infosurhoy
In 2012, 1.1 million Brazilians exchanged the country’s official money for unfamiliar currencies.

Arco-íris (rainbow), maracanã (mini-macaw), sabiá (thrush), vista linda (beautiful view) and liberdade (freedom) are among the country’s 103 forms of so-called social currency.

With relative parity to the Brazilian real, these currencies are managed by community banks created by the residents in poor suburban neighborhoods, settlements of former slaves – known as quilombos – indigenous villages and agrarian reform settlements. The communities’ goal is to stimulate their local economies by providing loans to business owners and consumer credit…
(4 April 2013)

Digital Gold Rush: The Bitcoin Boom and Its Many Risks

Marcel Rosenbach and Hilmar Schmundt, Der Spiegel
A somewhat different brand of speculators celebrated an unexpected bonanza last Thursday evening at Room 77, a Berlin bar. Nerds and activists in T-shirts and sneakers got together at the bar in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, which offers live music, "warm beer, cold women," according to the sign outside, and a burger called the "Fidel Castro." They paid their tabs with the source of their newfound prosperity: bitcoins, an alternative currency from the Internet.

"Almost every day, someone comes up to the bar here and pays with bitcoins," says bar owner Jörg Platzer. His bar is where supporters of the cyber currency held their monthly meeting, one day after the value of a bitcoin reached an all-time high of about $150 (€115). "Many can’t stop grinning as they pay their tabs, because they remember how little their bitcoins were worth just a year ago," says Platzer…
(9 April 2013)

Bitcoin interest spikes in Spain as Cyprus financial crisis grows

Ian Steadman, Wired
If you think your savings are under threat — from a banking collapse, government seizure or anything else — the traditional thing to do is withdraw your cash and stick it under a mattress. But could Europeans scared of losing their cash be turning to Bitcoins instead?

One of the side effects of the Eurozone crisis could be that some people turn to the deregulated, decentralised currency when they otherwise may not have even considered it. The events in Cyprus this past week — where it looked like the government, in desperate need of money, had planned to impose a levy on savings — seemed to have coincided with a slight spike in downloads of Bitcoin mobile apps in Spain, a country with its own wobbly economic situation. The Cypriot government has since rejected the plan to dip into the savings accounts of ordinary people, but it’s spooked a lot of people across the Eurozone that their money may not be safe.

This was spotted by BGR writer Tero Kuittinen, who noted that three iOS apps — Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Ticker and Bitcoin App — each jumped up the App Store charts in Spain, all on the same day, as the news broke from Cyprus. Compare their download histories to those from a country like the UK and it’s clear that the upward trend is more pronounced in the more at-risk nation…
(20 March 2013)

Image RemovedWhy one English town created its own currency

Sami Grover, Mother Nature Network
“Well over 90 percent of all financial transactions are electronic these days. It would have been madness to start a new money based only on paper notes.” This, says Katie Finnegan-Clarke, was one of the key insights gleaned in the runup to the launch of the Bristol Pound — a local currency scheme in Bristol, England, that has been drawing headlines and attention from media and financial experts alike since its launch in fall 2012.

Convinced that the secret to reviving vibrant, human-scale economies lies in rethinking how our monetary systems work, a group of Bristolians including activist and entrepreneur Ciaran Mundy and community organizer Chris Sunderland undertook a feasibility study into launching a complementary currency dedicated to independent businesses in the Bristol area…
(20 March 2013)