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.
We understand that some people move away from the region. So how would they close their Current account?
The first step is to let us know that you’d like to close your account. Email us at email@example.com. In order to close it down, an account has to be at zero currents. If you have Currents in the account, you may spend or donate them to a nonprofit until your account is at zero. If your account is below zero, because you’ve utilized your line of credit, it’s time to start earning Currents until your account is back to zero.
If you’re feeling stuck and can’t earn or spend your Currents, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (845) 663-2286. We’ll be happy to work with you to get your account back to zero.
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?
There is no advantage or disadvantage when it comes to taxes when using Currents as compared to US Dollars. They are taxed, or not taxed, the same as US Dollars and you will report any required income and expenses in Currents as through they were USD. The only thing that may be new for you is that at the end of the year the HV Current will send you a 1099-B. This 1099-B document is for your records only, you will not send it to the IRS with your taxes, and it does not replace the other tax forms you usually use, such as W-2, 1099-MISC, or any other tax forms that you use personally or for your business.
How do I pay one of my employees or subcontractors with Currents?
Paying a subcontractor with Currents is quite easy. It’s the same as paying any other member for regular transactions. Your subcontractor typically submits an invoice to you for the total amount due. Then you can find that Current user either through the website or mobile app to make the payment. At the end of the year when providing a 1099, include the amount of Currents paid in addition to the amount of dollars. We will send each member a 1099-B that states only Current income, but that amount will already be included in their 1099.
Paying an employee with Currents is only slightly more complicated, however it’s the same as doing payroll with dollars. If an employee earns a portion of his or her salary with Currents, let’s say 10%, then create a line item on the payroll report called “Other” or “Current” that shows the amount being paid in Currents. The taxes owed on that amount need to be accounted for and paid for with dollars. But you should have plenty of dollars to pay that because you have more dollars available since one of your employees gets a portion of pay in Currents, which means you don’t need dollars to pay that amount. Most payroll companies can help set this up, and we can also help. When your employee gets a W-2 at the end of the year, the total amount of Currents and dollars paid throughout the year will be presented on that form.
How do I handle sales tax?
Same as you do with dollars. If you collect Currents for sales tax, you will need to use USD to pay your sales tax liability bill.
More questions? Email email@example.com
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