A startup local currency has just launched the Ithaca dollar in Ithaca, NY, designed to not only promote investment in local businesses and bring the community together, but to also pick up where one of the most successful alternative currency experiments in the US, the Ithaca HOURs, has left off.
It appears Ithaca is a hotbed for local currency experiments, as a previous alternative currency (launched in 1991) was the largest in the United States, before recently falling into disuse.
The new Ithaca dollar is produced by a company called Ithacash, and for the moment is exclusively in digital form. The company founder, Scott Morris, is keen to keep local money within the local community. Local currencies “generate a lot of social and economic wealth,” said Morris to CNYcentral.
The new currency has a one to one parity with the US dollar, although when an individual buys into the scheme they receive 125 Ithaca dollars for their first $100 deposit. This equates to i$100 to spend in the community and i$25, which they can donate to a cause of their choosing “as a thank you for sacrificing the liquidity that you had with those US