Locking in the Promise to Buy Local

Claire Greene

This new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston discusses the development of BerkShares, a locally rooted currency launched in Berkshire County, Massachusetts in 2006. With over 400 businesses in the region accepting the community-based private money, to date more than $6 million BerkShares have been printed. The authors point to partnerships with local community banks and chambers of commerce as a promising strategy to ensure that the currency can scale and is accessible to all. They also identify the development of clearinghouses that facilitate bartering and location-specific gift cards as an alternative local wealth circulation tool in communities where the creation of local currencies may not possible.

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