Complementary Currencies

matslats – August 8, 2008 – 16:20

Complementary currency systems such as LETS and Timebanks provide an alternative to using official money controlled by governments and banks. Such currencies

* are resilient against recesssion and collapse
* tend to support localisation and sharing rather than unsustainable growth
* prefer local goods and services over the globalised production
* can be used used for economic and social development

The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs – Thomas Jefferson

Marketplace is an all-embracing and flexible package which goes the extra mile for you. The main module is transactions, which provides a payment form and a transaction contentType and exposure to views. There are many views, blocks, actions, etc ready to use.


  • offers/wants directory (a simple classified ads module)
  • mass payments
  • transaction api
  • multiple currencies
  • balance limits
  • balance history chart
  • email notification

Hosted service

We have formed a non-profit organisation, Community Forge specialising in bringing this software to the commnunities who need it. It offers a full Drupal installation, hosting, customisation and development.

Warning about Governance
Complementary currencies historically have a very high failure rate. Web tools are no substitute for proper governance and community buy-in. You should be seeking advice from experienced professionals if you don’t want to let down people in your community, and the wider movement. Please check out Value for People’s Community Currency starter pack.

There is some overlap between this project and userpoints but marketplace is much more specific in its intent. This is not a shop, cart, or ecommerce system. It is aimed primarily at classical LETS schemes, but by tweaking a very few parameters, I believe it can be used for similar currency mechanisms such as timebanks. This module is under active development.

This is the only open source social networking tool of it’s kind. Cyclos is much more powerful as an accounting package but requires java, and is not so modular. GETS is a business to business network with a high barrier for entry for local communities. CES is a membership based scheme which means communities sacrifice a certain level of autonomy for use of the software.


We know there is demand for the following, but we do not have resources at present.
Version 1.1

  • Progress depends on funding and voluntary involvement
  • Improved APi for integration with outside world
  • SMS integration
  • trading between different Drupal instances
  • non-member accounts
  • More metadata for offers and wants


  • Compatibility with CES
  • Better tax & demurrage mechanisms
  • stats module with more blocks and a full stats page
  • Installation profile for LETS groups
  • Drupal 7 upgrade
  • Ajaxy goodness
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