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From the Summer 2014 issue "Change Matters"
Alternative currency is a privately developed form of money that is used as a substitute to national currency in designated areas. It is not regulated by national governments or banks. A familiar example is the e-currency, Bitcoin. However, Bitcoin is neither the only nor the oldest example of alternative money. The chiemgauer, Brixton pound, sardex, and the dam are examples of alternative money currently in use in Germany, England, Italy, and the Netherlands, respectively. The goal with these currencies is to promote the idea of spending locally. By keeping the currency within the designated area, the local economy is able to prosper regardless of the state of the national economy. This enables communities to establish local markets that are less affected by national trends.
[Compiled by Sarah Lipkis and Amanda Roth]