The French city of Nantes has plans to introduce its own virtual currency as a complement to the euro. By 2013, participating local businesses will be able to pay, or be paid in virtual currency units called “Nanto.” Addressing the increasing importance of non-monetary exchanges between firms, the goal is to accelerate trade between local companies by limiting the use of cash, thereby reducing cash flow problems and facilitating easier exchanges. Though participating business won’t be able to accrue Nantos or cash them in, the concept promotes a balanced budget by penalizing companies for going over fixed limits of expenditure. Nantos that aren’t spent can be used to finance non-profit organizations.
As reported by WorldCrunch:
Though Nantes is following the example of the WIR cooperative bank in Basel, Switzerland, where 60,000 small and medium-sized enterprises are already using a cashless payment system, this will be the first time a large-scale European city is willing to try the experiment with both businesses and individuals.
Image via Jean Michel.