Assessing Local Mutual Credit as a Socioeconomic Tool for Farmers in New York State’s Hudson Valley

Andrew Bonanno

University of Georgia Department of Anthropology, Email: avb86893@uga.edu

Thousands of local mutual credit networks and other complementary currency systems have been developed worldwide in the last several decades. Many of these systems strive to support local economic activities such as small-scale agriculture. Although mutual credit systems and similar schemes have had significant social and economic impacts under certain conditions, they often fail to meet participants’ goals.  Nevertheless, new mutual credit systems continue to emerge. This paper analyzes the complete transactional history of one such system—the Hudson Valley Current (HVC)—from March 1, 2014, to February 28, 2015. Building on existing community currency metrics, a transaction performance ratio is introduced to understand credit flow within the HVC. Network linkage densities are also calculated to gauge potential for social capital creation. While the HVC has not been used as a significant means of exchange for farmers, metrics indicate that the HVC is a generally viable source of mutual credit and social linkage creation for some participants, at least in the short-run. Continued application of these metrics by mutual credit administrators, combined with purposeful partnerships with local farmers, might allow any potential benefits of system participation to be maintained and extended to include local farmers in a significant way.

Article Bonanno

To cite this article: Andrew Bonanno (2018) ‘Assessing Local Mutual Credit as a Socioeconomic Tool for Farmers’ in New York State’s Hudson Valley’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 2018 Volume 22 (Winter) 89-102 <www.ijccr.net>ISSN 1325-9547. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2018.008

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 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2018.017

Psychological factors influencing the use and development of Complementary Currencies

This paper presents a novel socio-psychological analysis of the motivations and experiences of mutual credit members in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Primary data comprised of interviews and participant observation, supplemented with secondary data analysis of organisation documents, and a review of the literature in psychology, sociology and economics. Group members were motivated to secure personal resilience against hardship, and the personal agency that results from this, along with the experiences of community and cultural identity positioning, motivates engagement. Consequently these groups are defined as cultural communities offering personal resilience to members through informal reciprocity. This approach, which prioritises the social aspects of exchange, has implications for the design of complementary currencies, particularly mutual credit initiatives, and demonstrates the value of engaging with the fields of psychology and sociology in developing interdisciplinary understandings of alternative economic practice.

Article Smith pdf

To cite this article: Smith, C.J.  and Lewis, A. (2016) ‘Psychological Factors influencing the Use and Development of Complementary Currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 20 (Summer) 2-23 <www.ijccr.net>  ISSN  1325-9547. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2016.001

Complementary Currencies for 
Sustainable Development in Kenya: 
The Case of the Bangla-Pesa

This paper is a report on the development of a complementary currency system that allows Kenyans in informal settlements to trade goods and services and meet sustainable development objectives. The system in this report, Bangla-Pesa, uses a ‘collaborative credit’ model through a network of local business, whose owners often struggle to meet their basic needs (also known as ‘mutual credit’). The paper documents the reasons for its creation, how it was launched, the immediate positive benefits upon launch, and some of the difficulties faced. Bangla-Pesa is shown to have facilitated, upon its launch, exchanges of roughly 50 Euros in value per day among 109 businesses, which is projected to raise living standards in the community primarily through the utilization of excess business capacity. After only a week of circulation – Bangla-Pesa represented an estimated 22% total trade among community members. This system’s implementation and governance model are detailed with the aim of improving upon and replicating the model for future sustainable development programs.

William O. Ruddick, Morgan A. Richards, and Jem Bendell

IJCCR 2015 Ruddick et al

To cite this article: Ruddick, W., Richards, M. and Bendell, J. (2015) ‘Complementary Currencies for Sustainable Development in Kenya: The Case of the Bangla-Pesa’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Summer) 18-30  <www.ijccr.net>  ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.003