Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The pound of Brixton (Reprise)

Since Jesse Stay is talking about bitcoin (as are others), it seemed to be a good time to look at another alternative currency - the Brixton Pound. I first wrote about the Brixton Pound over a year ago. If you were not reading my blog then, let me explain that the Brixton Pound is a hyperlocal currency that can be purchased and used in Brixton.

Obviously, a currency can only be used if both parties in a transaction agree to use it. And while people are discussing the Brixton Pound at the local TedX, that in itself does not guarantee that it can actually be used anywhere.

But in the case of the Brixton pound, it appears that it is gaining traction. The Brixton Pound website's directory page lists dozens upon dozens of businesses that accept the alternative currency.

But that's not enough. Harry Cathead wanted to find other businesses - ones that aren't listed on town websites - who would accept the currency.

I bought B£20 from Morleys department store and went out in search of a dealer who appreciated a sense of community pride. The first guys I ran into just off Atlantic Road said I could get some "food" if I hung around for five minutes, but changed their minds as soon as I grabbed the Brixton Pounds out of my wallet. "No, man, I ain't ever seen that shit round here before. Better go to the shop and change it back." I tried to explain that it was Brixton money – something that does a great deal to support the local economy – but to no avail.

Cathead tried two other dealers, with no better success, and ended up spending his Brixton pounds at a local pub.

Should have used bitcoin. Those bitcoin users have the guvmint.
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