Complementary Currencies as a Social Supplement to the Monetary System
Our monetary system is a brilliant invention, making many things possible and simpler. And yet it is not able to cover all the monetary needs of a society and its members. Here complementary forms of money, which supplement the official currency of a country, perform useful services.
Complementary money is based on the agreement of a community to accept something that is not a national currency as a means of exchange. It can be local or regional money that is issued by an association and circulates alongside the state currency to strengthen the trade of a community or region. But it can also be an alternative form of money such as a voucher valid for a restricted period which can be acquired by a service and can be exchanged for it again. The principle "work in return for hours" is practised by various exchange organisations and above all aims at promoting the neighbourhood aid or the solidarity in a community.
But besides actual complementary currency projects there are also those that want to promote the creation of similar organisations and associations or support existing ones in their administrative work.
Here the MoneyLab presents projects from these areas. One of these is, for example, the Foundation's own project Zeta (an acronym of the German word "Zeittausch" meaning time exchange), which aims at promoting the installation of time exchange networks in Switzerland. But one of these is also the Dutch project Cyclos, which developed the open-source software for easier online administration of complementary currency systems, the introduction of which in Switzerland is supported by the Sunflower Foundation.