Culture Coin: Creative Currency Competes In Business Unusual National Challenge

Howlround-logoAlternative currencies can take many forms from Bitcoin to the credits given within gamified social networks to local exchange systems. One such system for exchanging arts-related labor and skills for similar skills or resources is the Culture Coin, a project of HowlRound currently competing in the Business Unusual National Challenge.

Culture Coin is described (via @shadesofsolveig) as "an alternative currency, a bit like frequent flyer miles":

"Say a playwright wants to organize a reading of a new script, but has no money to pay actors. She would 'pay' actors in Culture Coins, which they could then use to 'buy,' say, spare rehearsal space. The theater offering the space could then contract a photographer to do some promo work, using the same culture coins. And so on. Everyone participating in the market, which is hosted online, has an account, where transactions are recorded."

Culture Coin seems most akin to a local exchange trading system which is designed to make services affordable while keeping value within the community.

Vijay Mathew, associate director of HowlRound, is quoted in Ben Schiller's piece:

"We are trying to figure out a way of recognizing volunteerism or sweat equity that doesn’t burn out artists who spend five to 10 years working on something, and aren’t able to make a living"

As Schiller notes, "Mathew sees it as a way of crediting activity that would normally go uncredited, creating a sort of alternative economy."

Culture Coin recently inspired an exchange of ideas as HowlRound completed Phase 3 of the Business Unusual National Challenge. HowlRound is in the running to "win a package of grants and resources worth $35,000 to prototype an innovative new approach."

However the Challenge turns out for Culture Coin, it's a useful idea to consider given the fluctuations of the economy and the long-term mutual support available within local communities.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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