Local currencies were popular during the Great Depression but in the past few decades, several U.S. cities have started their own local currencies as a way to help small businesses and keep currency circulating in the local economy.
The recent trend is thought to have started in Ithaca, NY. In 1991, then-resident Paul Glover and a group of fellow residents created Ithaca Hours.One Ithaca Hour is worth $10 and there are also smaller and larger denominations. It’s called an hour to remind people that currency represents someone’s labor. Today, there are over $100,000 worth of Ithaca Hours in circulation.
Madison, Wis., Corvallis, Ore. and Traverse City, Mich., are among the other cities that have implemented local currencies.