ISSS fellow Stephen Hinton recently led a complementary time-based currency workshop as part of a project to set up a student knowledge exchange at CEMUS, Uppsala University, Sweden.
The students, coordinated with the tireless energy of Jesse Shrage and his friends Christina Fagerlund and Adam Elinder , want to set up a collaborative exchange system where skills and knowledge could be swapped based on a time currency.
The currency chosen for the workshop was the ITK, which was a currency developed by ISSS originally as part of a trial of a payment system that could be rolled out in times of emergency. For example, when the electricity supply fails it means that digital currency, indeed all currencies needing clearing, become unworkable.
ITK stands for ”ideell tid kupong” in Swedish and means, roughly translated, civil engagement time coupon in English. The initial work done by ISSS and Stephen Hinton showed that the currency could help drive local community development as well.
The currency is based on the increasing popular German Minutos. An example of the voucher is shown above. The currency becomes valid when countersigned by two underwriters known to the issuer, as well as the issuer herself.
Note that when you issue an ITK it is a kind of IOU where you are offering your voluntary time to an initiative. In this case, the students were offering their time to the exchange, both to help each other and to assist the exchange initiative itself.
How it works
1. Freddie likes a Future fair project put together by four guys sitting in a coffee shop. They accept his offer of 4 hours of ITK’s.
2. The four guys invite people to a meeting to launch their idea and ask a group of volunteers to provide refreshments, and get ITK’s in return
3. The refreshment team gets a lettuce from Annica and give her ITKs for it.
4. Annica wants to go to a concert and uses the ITK to give to her baby sitter.
5. At the concert, Enrico the guitarist gets ITKs for his gig, which is part of the Future Fair, where Freddie is volunteering.
6. Enrico goes to the second hand market and gets some cool stage clothes, exchanging ITKs for them.
7. Freddie gets ITKs back as he volunteered to help out at the fair.
8. People selling at the second hand market get ITKs for their stuff, minus a commission.
9. Freddie exchanges ITKs for a second-hand bike.
After trying out the idea of advertising their offerings along with an ITK value, the students turned to consider how they would form work groups to set the exchange up.
Some things to learn from the workshop
Money is a complex subject which many seem to have a fear/fascination love/hate relationship with. Add to that that most people are very shy about saying what they are good at, what they can contribute with, and you have the makings of an initiative without any energy in it.
However, thanks to the good spirit and energy of the arrangers, and the willingness to experiment on the side of the students, we managed to create a good, supportive atmosphere that encouraged people to participate to see the potential in knowledge-sharing exchanges!
- About the ITK trials in Uppsala
- Local currency day in Uppsala 25 November
- About ISSS
- Questions and answers about volunteer currency. (coming soon)