Frequently Asked Questions
Got Questions? We’ve got you covered.
What is a local currency?
A local currency is a currency used in a specific region by participating members. It’s not meant to replace national currency entirely, but rather supplement it.
Community currencies have been around for centuries and historically have been used when there is a downturn in the economy and regular cash becomes scarcer (from America’s Great Depression in the 1930s to Greece’s post-2008 economic uncertainty).
Even when the economy is strong, you can use local currencies to build wealth locally, access more resources, and expand your profit.
Often, local currencies have reciprocal relationships with each other so that you can use them to travel and support other communities too!
How does accepting the Current benefit my business?
Accepting the Current will give you the opportunity to invest in your business—without compromising your cash flow.
On top of converting your overstock and unused capacity into new customers and income, you also gain access to our support to help you get the most out of your Currents!
Among other things, we offer interest-free lines of credit to help you get started, one-on-one training, collaboration on challenges you run across, and we can even facilitate pooling to make large purchases possible.
Why is local currency good for the community?
Using a local currency encourages community members to exchange goods and services with each other, keeping business local. This acts as an economic stimulus because when businesses have more income, they spend more, create more jobs, and pay more people, who in turn support more local businesses!
Currents are created when businesses donate to nonprofits and invest in local programs, which means we directly help develop local services and community support programs.
Is it legal?
Yes! Hudson Valley Current members have been using Currents since 2013. In the US government’s eyes, local currencies like the Current are called trade credits and valued like US dollars.
Are Currents a form of Cryptocurrency?
Short answer: no! We’re a digital currency (as in, our transactions take place on a digital system rather than with physical bills) but not a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies fluctuate in value, like stocks. Local currencies are centered in a specific area, and have a consistent value typically equal to $1 USD.
Does HVC make money off of Currents?
As a nonprofit, we only make money through optional membership fees, advertising in our magazine, and with grants, donor gifts, and sponsorship sales. These funds go to the running of the currency system, public education, and member events.
How do I buy and sell using Currents?
Making your first sale is easy. Using our platform is similar to selling through an online store except you use Currents instead of USD.
You can place free ads in the marketplace offering your product or service to members, or respond to the requests of other members. Paid memberships include additional public-facing marketing opportunities within the printed and online versions of Livelihood Magazine.
To buy, you can search what products and services are already being offered. If you cannot find what you’re looking for, list your requests as an ad (or just reach out to us).
If you are not sure what to buy or sell we are happy to help you identify how you can save money by using Currents and even direct you to local businesses that can help.
How do you download the app to pay members?
- Download the app for iPhone or Android by searching ‘Cyclos 4’ in the app store
- In the app, enter the URL communities.cyclos.org/hvcurrent
- Please note, some Android users have reported bugs. If you have any trouble, just contact us!
- Then enter your HV Current login information
- Search for users and their offerings by using the map or the search function
- To pay a user, go to their user profile, and scroll down to ‘Pay User’
- Enter the amount of Currents and a description
- Click ‘Make Payment’
- Review the confirmation page and click ‘Confirm’
If you’re feeling nervous about it, there is an instructional video below you can watch or you can just drop us a line and we’re happy to help.
How does bookkeeping work with Currents?
Managing your books with Currents is as easy as with USD. We suggest creating a new “bank account” or “pass through” account in your bookkeeping system to track your income and expenses in Currents. You can even download your Current transactions as a CSV directly from your Current account online and import them into your bookkeeping program.
One thing that is different, and actually makes bookkeeping easier than with USD, is that you don’t have to track payments made in Currents for filing a 1099-MISC as all Current members will receive a 1099-B for their earnings in Currents directly from the Hudson Valley Current.
Sound confusing? Don’t worry! We’ll always keep track of transactions on both sides, so a bookkeeper can find income and expenses at the end of the year. You can also contact us for free one-on-one training on how to set up your system and track spending.
Does the word “bookkeeping” make your skin crawl? Why not find a bookkeeper who accepts Currents?
How do taxes work with Currents
As a third-party record keeper, we provide all of our active members with all necessary forms for tax reporting at the end of each year (1099-B).
There is no advantage or disadvantage when it comes to taxes when using Currents. Current income is taxable and like purchases using USD, ordinary business expenses and certain capital purchases can be tax deductible.
More questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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