2.3.1 Modern Multilateral Barter Networks

The liquidity-extending properties of mutual credit applications have not eluded the for-profit commercial sector. To date, there are several local and a few global mutual credit networks operating worldwide, alongside a long list of cooperatives and nonprofits.

Institutions such as IMS and Itex allow their members to barter their products and services without relying on cash deposits. In contrast to WIR, these networks are normally not categorized as financial institutions, and do not offer credit products, but are typically introduced as means to “save cash” and utilize excess resources.

In the nonprofit sector, local exchange trading systems (LETS) have been extensively employed to facilitate social cohesion and to mitigate the hardship of underserved communities, especially in times of economic downturns. Notable examples are the South African CES (Community Exchange System), which at its peak served members in over 99 countries, and the multiple LETS networks in the UK and continental Europe.

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