Community Currency Standards

The following categories form the basis for standards under which a community currency is developed and maintained. For each category below a clear implementation and maintenance plan should be established. The topics and questions below are based on community currency implementations by GE since 2010 in Kenya and not meant to be a full or general treatment on the topic.

Risk Management - Identifying and mitigating potential risks .
  • Disaster mitigation, What are different types of disasters and worst case scenarios related to the currency system. Loss of trust, corrupt leadership, buy-outs by collectors, hoarding, outside interferance, etc.
  • Currency Security Features - What happens if our currency is counterfeited, or digitally hacked?
  • Transaction and Information Security - How secure is private information about community members?

Community Involvement - Without adequate community involvement, few programs are sustainable.

  • Implementation - At what stage is the greater community involved
  • Diversity - Are all parts of the community represented?
  • Co-creation and cooperation - Are community members an integral part of the creation and maintenance of the program?
  • Net Positive Community Impacts - Can the impacts of the program be felt by the greater community?
  • Behavior Change Communication - How are the community members mobilized and educated?

Legal Framework

  • Taxation - If registered and taxable business transactions are part of the program, how are they being accounted for using the Community Currency?
  • Country specific laws - Are vouchers or promissory notes transferable in your country? What regulations must you follow to uphold existing laws?

Governance

  • Administration - Is there adequate local administrative skills, and do these administrators have the backing of the community?
  • Collaborative decision making - How involved is the community in the decision making process?

Sustainability

  • Locally Appropriate Solutions - Is an alternative means of exchange going to solve local problems? Is the program being implemented to solve problems or
  • Are Flexibility, Adaptability, Practicality and Innovation thriving in your system?
  • Maximum or minimum - Debt levels - How do you determine how much of the currency should be created and issued?
  • Backed by national currency or resources - Is it a voucher with a value backed by the national currency? How does it derive it's value? Does it's value change over time? Does it expire? How is it renewed?
  • Exchange Rates - Is the community currency exchangeable with other currencies? On what basis?
  • Fungibility - Does the currency allow any grouping of goods and services to be traded easily?
Economic Viability
  • Independence - How much local vs non-local goods and services are part of the network? How dependent is the community on inports and exports. How dependent is the community currency on official money?
  • Market Diversity - Is there a critical mass in number and type of goods and services being offered for fluid transactions to take place?
  • Resilience - How resilient is the currency to changes in the market and other risks?
  • Cost Recovery - What are all the setup and maintenance costs and how will they be paid for? How much of these costs can be paid int he community currency vs the National Currency?
  • Net Positive Economic Impacts - Can you quantify and verify both the positive and negative impacts of the program?
  • Marketing - How well to people identify and trust the community currency? What modes of marketing are you using?
  • Interoperability between systems - If a neighboring community starts a program in your region will the two currencies be exchangeable? Will they have the same value?

Professionalism - As much as these are community initiatives, they are can become key parts of the communities ability to function and need serious professional standards to keep them going.

  • Accounting and Financial standards - Are accounting and financial standards being kept? Will an auditor be able to verify these records?
  • Transparency / Information sharing - How much information does the community and local government have about how the program works and its daily usage?
  • Effectiveness - How effective do people find trading in a community currency?
  • Efficiency - Does this program offer an advantage over existing means of exchange, credit/debt?
  • Exchangability - Is the currency being traded for all sorts of goods and services, rent, schools fees, taxation?
  • External auditing - Who is auditing your books and verifying that all of the currency issued is properly backed? What third party can assess your currency usage and activities and report to local government, registrars and the greater community?
  • Training - Are your administrative team and members adequately trained?
  • Baseline projections - How aware are you of the situation before you start a currency program?
  • Values and Goals - Are the values and goals clear for the community?
  • Management Capacity - Do you have the local capacity to manage such a system?

Technology and Monitoring

  • Software, mobile phone systems - What are the short and long term costs for technological solutions and how are they going to be paid for?
  • Record keeping and statistics - Will you be able to say after several years of the currency being traded, if it has really benefited the community?
  • Impact assessments - Are you getting enough information to assess impacts on a regular basis?