There has been a resurgence of interest in complementary currencies. With the Eurozone's austerity shutting down national economies in Greece, Italy, and Spain, local currencies are emerging as a tool fot communities to keep going and sustain themselves during periods of extreme economic deprivation. There has been coverage, for example, of an alternative currency scheme in Volos, Greece. The corporate media represents the currency as a "barter" system which it is not. It is a community credit system of a form popular in many places around the world. Setting up an alternate currency can be a very time-consuming and complicated process. The book-keeping is tedious and the volunteers with the passion to set up such a system rarely have either the expertise or the discipline to do it "right." The Dutch non-profit STRO has built an Open Source Software package called CYCLOS to change all that.
From the project's web-site:
The objective of the project is to develop open source complementary currency software that is easy to use and maintain, flexible, secure, and highly customizable. The Cyclos structure is entirely dynamic. This means that it is possible to 'build' a monetary system from scratch. Organizations that want a standard system can use the default database that comes with basic configurations and can be easily enhanced. Cyclos is used for mutual credit systems like LETS, Barter systems, administration of Micro credits or remittances, Time banks and backed currency systems such as a C3 (consumer and commerce circuit). Cyclos just started to be used as a back-end for mobile banking services in Africa, and various Universities are studying the possibility to use Cyclos as a campus payment system.
Take a look at their Web-site. They give many examples. They also discuss a huge number of features that are already in the package to support on-line banking, mobile banking, and just about any alternative currency scheme you might be thinking of. It looks relatively easy to install and configure. It will take someone with computer skills and some experience with databases and online systems but it doesn't look that difficult.
CYCLOS eliminates a lot of the hard part of setting up a local currency or mutual credit system. Now all we have to do is find volunteers who want to make their communities work better!