Blue 5 CounterCoin piece. Rare first issue coin token.
In February 2007, Mike Riddell sat down with some friends including John Rogers (author of 'People Money, the promise of regional currencies') and started talking about alternative solutions to local problems. Ten years later, in 2017, CounterCoin came into being. Even today, it is still a scheme in the making, and CC is fleshing out plans as this is typed. The concept of CounterCoin is akin to a LETS rather than anything else, but there are significant differences.
For a start, currency can only be earned into existence. There are fixed issuing schemes and, at the moment, few places to redeem the coins (such as a local major cinema chain). Five CounterCoin represents an hour's work (a principle that is set in stone). However, when redeeming, there is no fixed sterling value – although CounterCoin recommends that a business attributes a minimum face value of one pound per coin. In some ways, the coins themselves have no value. The work earning them is voluntary, so has no monetary value (but of course enormous value to the project). When volunteers spend coins, they take up (say) an empty seat in a cinema, which would have no value to the cinema if it stayed empty (but is valuable to the volunteer). So, unlike most other forms of alternative currency, they do not represent actual pounds at any stage.
The organisers hope that soon many other places will consider accepting them, including local buses and sports clubs. If a football club has empty seats for a fixture, is it better to accept hard-earned tokens, rather than let a seat go to waste? After all, ancillary spending, such as burgers, soon make up the profit. Businesses will be able to demonstrate their engagement in the local community at little or no cost, awareness of their offering will increase, and footfall will rise. It will also permit businesses to increase turnover by selling off spare capacity and surplus goods in a manner which does not devalue their product.