Bruce Colley says on the openmoney forum that he has developed a system (LocalMart) which establishes a local currency and gives it an internet Ecommerce capability.
Each vendor/provider gets a web site presence and shopping cart, with the local currency used for payment for online purchases (without transaction fees). It also has the capability to make local currency payments or funds transfers via PC or mobile phone, making the issuance of a paper local currency almost unnecessary. (Mobile phone capability is especially useful for in-person transactions.)
LocalMart encourages all members to become providers of some locally produced, sustainable product or service so as to increase local employment and self sufficiency, and “close the loop” locally.
The system allows conversion to and from the local currency to the national currency (e.g. dollars, pesos) or to any commodity which can be chosen to back the local currency. It also has other features including a microloan capability, and a social networking site so that members can interact, form or join groups, and otherwise communicate. LocalMart’s features and functionality go way beyond that of other local currency systems such as Berkshares or Ithaca Hours.
Bruce Colley says he would like to begin to implement this and would welcome a discussion if there is any interest.
An interesting point that is being made on the second linked site is an explanation of why local currencies have so far had a hard time breaking through and what can be done to overcome the limiting factor:
Despite much recent favorable publicity, local currencies have not been very successful, with the great majority of them failing, while the surviving ones have accounted for but a very small portion of their local economic activity. The primary reason for this is that they are up against a simple economic reality that we call The Law of Local Currencies:
IN A GIVEN COMMUNITY, THE LEVEL OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY USING LOCAL CURRENCY CANNOT EXCEED THE LEVEL OF ECONOMIC SELF SUFFICIENCY OF THAT COMMUNITY.
IT FOLLOWS THAT SINCE MOST COMMUNITIES DON’T EVEN APPROACH SELF SUFFICIENCY, A LOCAL CURRENCY THEREFORE CAN’T EVEN APPROACH SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC PENETRATION OR IMPACT.
There are two solutions:
-Support and assist the development, creation and production of new, locally based sustainable products and services in order to increase local self sufficiency.
-Expand the realm of the local currency to a sufficiently large area such that economic self sufficiency is approached within that area.