How Do You Define Currency?

by Jay Deragon on 05/03/2009

In economics, a local currency is a currency not backed by a national government, and intended to trade only in a small area. Advocates such as Jane Jacobs argue that this enables an economically depressed region to pull itself up, by giving the people living there a medium of exchange that they can use to exchange services and locally-produced goods (In a broader sense, this is the original purpose of all money.)

Local currencies can also come into being when there is economic turmoil involving the national currency. Social technology has the potential of creating local currency in the form of relational exchanges of information, knowledge and commerce between relationships.

Watch the exchange between David Bullock and I as we discuss the definition of a new currency. Is currency taking on a new definition?

What say you?

{ 11 comments }

Arthur Brock May 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

In everyday parlance, we use the word “currency” pretty interchangeably with “money.” It’s time to upgrade that Industrial Age frame of reference to keep up with the new kinds of currencies we’re all beginning to use.

“Currency” comes from the Latin “currere” meaning to run or flow. Currency is about currents. It’s about flows and the tools we use to shape, track and manage these flows. It’s so much more than exchange for goods or services — it includes flows of attention, trust, knowledge, information, participation, time, energy, etc.

– Currency: a shared symbol system for shaping, enabling and measuring currents.

Examples: Grades/Credits/Degrees, Ratings, Certifications, Frequent Flier Miles, Votes, Scores, Your eBay Rating, Coupons, Bus Passes, Buy-9-Get-10th-Cup-of-Coffee-Free cards, etc.

The social economy does not have to be justified in terms of “money.” It has introduced new “currencies” which make new relationships, flows and sharing of resources possible.

Consider CouchSurfing.com — over a million people providing lodging to fellow adventurers and travelers enabled not by monetary exchange, but social currencies which serve as indicators of trustworthiness and compatibility.

New economies are already emerging and flourishing and as long as we stay stuck in the money=currency frame of reference, we can’t even see them.

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Business 3.0 Tech. May 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm

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Brian C. Citizen May 3, 2009 at 10:04 am

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prblogs May 3, 2009 at 5:47 am

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JDeragon May 3, 2009 at 5:42 am

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StarGazon May 3, 2009 at 5:34 am

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JDeragon May 3, 2009 at 5:25 am

New blog post: How Do You Define Currency? http://tinyurl.com/cdenfa

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