Identifying barriers and solutions to adoption of social, complementary and/or virtual currencies

Clara Inés Peña de Carrillo*, Josep Lluís de la Rosa i Esteva**, Paulo Nicolás Carrillo Peña**, Peter Pharow***

* Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, Bucaramanga, Colombia. Email:

** Universitat de Girona, Arlab research group, Girona, Spain

*** Fraunhofer IDMT, Ilmenau, Germany

With the advent of social and mobile networks, new online communities are being created around sustainable topics (e.g. environmental, social, community development). The phenomena, known as digital social innovation, generates a positive ecosystem where business and social development enabled with new behaviors boosted by social, complementary or community currencies deployed as virtual currencies have a great potential for competitiveness, and entrepreneurship, but also for fostering social responsibility in Europe. This document summarizes actions carried out through the Vircoin2SME European community project (social, complementary or community virtual currencies transfer of knowledge to SME: a new era for competitiveness and entrepreneurship) for identification of barriers and their possible solutions to reduce them in the context of the adoption of social, complementary and virtual currencies by SMEs and consumers. The Case Study method allowed identifying these barriers almost at all on the basis of RES (digital currency of Belgium) and Eurakos (virtual currency of Girona, Spain) complementary currencies operation by which the Vircoin2SME researchers had close contact. Data analyzed were taken through observation, being the project researchers’ direct users of these currencies and, the information records stored in databases concerning the users’ interactions (transactions in trades associated with the RES and Eurakos networks). This research was supported by the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 654767.

Article Peña de Carrillo et al

To cite this article: Peña de Carrillo, Clara; de la Rosa i Esteva, Josep Lluís; Carrillo Peña, Paulo Nicolás and Pharow, Peter (2018) ‘Identification of barriers and solutions for adoption of social, complementary and/or virtual currencies” International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 125-140 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI:

Sustainability of local complementary currencies: conclusions from an empirical study in Poland

Grzegorz Sobiecki

SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Poland;

This paper draws out key conclusions from a research project – a pilot empirical study on local complementary currencies (exchange systems). The study comprised 15 interviews with coordinators representing 13 existing alternative currency systems in Poland out of 20 identified. The research was conducted between February and April 2017. The main goal of the study was empirical determination of the factors involved in the rise and fall of alternative currencies systems in Poland and conditions for their survival – that is, sustainability factors. The author demonstrated that, among examined system, two are performing better than the others, and they meet the efficiency conditions: they have a relatively high and stable or growing number of active members and exchanges, and they are constantly developed without reporting any substantial problems. Despite many differences, they have much in common. The analysis of the two examples in comparison with other systems enabled forming a list of sustainability factors and suggestions for the coordinators or initiators concerning how and what to do and what to avoid to make the system more sustainable.

Article Sobiecki

To cite this article: Sobiecki, Grzegorz (2018) ‘Sustainability of local complementary currencies – Conclusions from an empirical study in Poland’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 105-124 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

Swiss currency systems: atlas, compendium and chronicle of legal aspects

Christophe Place*, Antonin Calderon, James Stodder and Isidor Wallimann

* Haute École de Gestion de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland. Email :

Switzerland has not only the oldest and biggest modern complementary currency in the world, the WIR created in 1934, among 40’000 organizations with a velocity of 1.3 in 2017, representing 0.17% of the Gross Domestic Product at current prices and 0.08% of the global money supply, but also the second cross-border complementary currency in the world and the first local currency using blockchain technology in Switzerland, the Léman, created in September 2015 in a Swiss-French conurbation, with 160’000 units in circulation among a network of 550 organizations and 4’000 users in May 2018. Moreover, with about 49 community currencies and 15 complementary currencies in January 2018 and a cryptocurrency cluster called Crypto Valley funded in January 2017, Switzerland counts among reference case studies in the virtual, community and complementary currency systems domain. Nevertheless, some questions remain: (1) How is the partition of these currencies in term of geographical region, system type and digital software? (2) What the recent Léman case study taught us in term of strategic implementation? (3) Could a Swiss Currency Confederation facilitate their legal conformity? To contribute to these research questions, a literature review, a data analysis, and a research survey will allow us not only to overview the Swiss and the Greater Geneva currency systems, but also evaluate their legal framework evolution.

Article Place et al

To cite this article: Place, Christophe; Calderon, Antonin; Stodder, James and Wallimann, Isidor (2018) ‘Swiss currency systems: atlas, compendium and chronicle of legal aspects’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 85-104 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

Extending blockchain technology to host customizable and interoperable community currencies

Gustav R.B. Friis and Florian Glaser

* Brainbot Technologies AG, Mainz

** Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe

The goal of this paper is to propose an open platform for secure and interoperable virtual community currencies. We follow the established information systems design-science approach to develop a prototype that aims to combine best practices for building mutual-credit community currencies with the unique features of blockchain technology. The result is a specification of an open Internet platform that enables users to join and to host customized community currencies. The hosted currencies can be classified as credit-based future type of money with decentralized issuance. Furthermore, we describe how the transparency, security and interoperability properties of blockchain technology offer a solution to the inherent problems of existing, centrally operated community currency software. The characteristics of the prototype and its ability to fulfil the design-objectives are examined by a relative evaluation against existing payment and currency systems like Bitcoin, LETS and M-Pesa.

Article Friis Glaser

To cite this article: Friis, G. and Glaser, F. (2018) ‘Extending Blockchain Technology to host Customizable and Interoperable Community Currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 71-84 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI:

A digital community bank: mapping negotiation mechanisms in its consolidation as an alternative to commercial banks

Eurídice Gomes da Silva Hernandes*, Erica Souza Siqueira**, Eduardo Henrique Diniz**, Marlei Pozzebon***

* EAESP/ Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brasil. Email:

** EAESP/ Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil. 

*** HEC Montréal; Canada & EAESP/ Fundação Getúlio Vargas; Brazil


This paper aims to map the negotiation mechanisms used by Banco Palmas in order to make Palmas Digital possible as a community digital bank in the Conjunto Palmeiras’ neighbourhood, state of Ceará, Brazil. Palmas Digital represents an alternative way to offer financial services in a network of community banks that was enabled by a digital payment platform called e-Dinheiro. Using a multilevel framework model proposed in Pozzebon & Diniz (2012), we seek to understand the interplay between different actors and technological artefacts in order to understand the “technology-in-practice”, concept defined by Orlikowski (2000). The multilevel framework model was built to understand social consequences of information and communication technologies (ICT) interactions at a community level.

Article Gomes da Silva et al

To cite this article: Gomes da Silva Hernandes, E., E. Souza Siqueira, E. Henrique Diniz, M. Pozzebon (2018) ‘A digital community bank: mapping negotiation mechanisms in its consolidation as an alternative to commercial banks’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 56-70 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

Forms of money power and measure of economic value. The alternative currencies coping with care of commons

Maurizio Ruzzene

Associazione Decrescita; RetiCS (; Email:


Among the main causes of the current crisis, there is certainly a lack of adequate criteria to measure economic value, and this is linked to the way official currency value is designed, imbued with intrinsic and anonymous economic value. Official currencies perform their function of economic accounting only because they offer a general equivalent of all value (Marx), i.e. because they have an abstract and internal value, but this prevents them from being effective instruments of economic measure, making them unstable and relatively inexpressive of any concrete value.

Despite its importance in the current systemic crisis, the lack of instruments for measuring economic value has not warranted special attention in prevailing alternative currency schemes. This is partly related to a prevalence of approaches that limit attention to the social integration functions of alternative currencies and/or the exchange functions for reviving economic growth and full employment of resources. However, in order to restore the wider emancipative potential of alternative currencies and better address the current systemic crisis, we have to reconsider the economic measure problems mainly from the viewpoint of the links between human activities and the common conditions of existence, or life contexts, in which the flow of time has a fundamental influence.

Article Ruzzene

To cite this article: Ruzzene, M. (2018) ‘Forms of money power and measure of economic value. Time based credit for care and commons economies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 39-55 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI:

The District Currency: a new currency design for managing the commons

Jens Martignoni

University of Cologne, Germany. Email:


Most schemes of complementary currencies developed in the last 50 years are based on the “money as a means of exchange”- concept, which means exchange of individual agents based on their individual needs and offers. The individual person or the individual company is an actor in a network and by establishing a market it is possible to exchange goods and services. Mutual Credit systems LETS or Timebanks e.g. do support mostly this market case and many of them limit common activities to the sole operation of the system itself. Therefore, community currencies today are often currencies operating within a community but not necessary for the community. Interestingly the case of a commons is mostly not recognized as a completely different kind of exchange where needs of a whole group have to be satisfied through offers of individuals and offers of the whole (commons) have to be shared justly among the individual members. Such an exchange asks for different features from a community currency. This was the starting point of a project in Zurich, Switzerland to develop a more suitable and effective currency. The resulting new currency model, called district currency is proposed and analysed in this paper. The district currency is therefore an advanced currency type, which is designed upon the commons idea. It is the needs and tasks of the community, the public (community) goods and common tasks based on the commons, which are the core and drivers of the currency. As a secondary element the traditional individual market-based system complements this commons layer and strengthen its impact. Therefore, it could be seen as a two tiers model.

The paper describes basics, premises and functions of the idea including some historical background and more specifically the case of Wörgel in Austria which has some interesting aspects have that still not widely taken into consideration.  The main features of the district currency model are including the intended and controllable circulation, the democratic decision of the spending and budgeting and the commons-based value system. The currency was developed along a case study in a housing co-operative in Zurich. Experiences with the planning district-currency-game give some important hints for the feasibility and the functioning of such an improved currency model and the open questions remaining to be answered. The development of this model has been a long-term process driven through empirical research and action and the goal of the paper is to engage more researchers and practitioners to contribute towards the needed theoretical foundation and feasibility studies.

Article Martignoni

To cite this article: Martignoni, Jens (2018) ‘The district currency: a new currency design for managing the commons” International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 16-38 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

IJCCR Publications – a literature review 2009-2016

Filipe Moreira Alves and Rui Ferreira Santos

Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, NOVA School of Sciences and Technology – NOVA University Lisbon (CENSE – FCT-UNL), Email:


This paper aims at a literature review of all scientific articles published in the International Journal of Community Currencies since 2009 in order to identify research patterns and research gaps in the literature. It complements the work done by Schroeder (2011) and Seyfang (2013), among many others, who have focused on characterizing the literature and practice in this field of research. A universe of 78 articles retrieved from IJCCR website in November 2016 are statistically analysed, taking into consideration their structure, methodology and key conclusions as well as research gaps and future research needed in the field of complementary currencies.

Although a strong heterogeneity can be found in the number of publications per year as well in the sample characterization, both in format and content, our analysis enables clear patterns of the IJCCR in the past eight years to emerge and research gaps to be identified, specifically the need for longer, more in-depth, comparable and methodologically coherent socio-economic impact assessment of CC experiments; more and better knowledge regarding optimal scale and design optimization; deeper recognition and understanding of socio-psychological factors influencing CC implementation and success; sustainable governance options and impacts; and finally, more research done into multiple currency interfaces and exchange mechanisms between complementary currencies. These gaps and research needs are presented and may serve as potential guidelines for future publications within the Journal as well as the establishment of more refined research agenda for IJCCR that serve the evolution of scientific knowledge in this growing field.

Article Alves Santos

To cite this article: Alves, Filipe M. and Santos, Rui F. (2018) ‘IJCCR Publications – a literature review 2010-2016′ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 4-15 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI:

Editorial: Building community, promoting the commons, and surfing the digital wave

Filipe Moreira Alves

Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research, NOVA School of Sciences and Technology – NOVA University Lisbon (CENSE – FCT-UNL), Email:

Editorial Alves

To cite this article: Alves, Filipe M. (2018) ‘Editorial: Building community, promoting the commons, and surfing the digital wave’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Summer) 1-3 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI: