In the shadow of the Euro Crisis, the people of the Greek city of Volos are taking their monetary future into their own hands.
Theodoros Mavridis and other Euro-strapped Greeks have founded a local currency system called TEM, an acronym for ‘Local Alternative Unit’ in Greek.
Even though Greece is hemorrhaging Euros, Greeks still have goods and services valuable to each other. But without the actual Euros to pay for things in the local market, everyone is stuck trying to pay with goods in-kind: a week’s piano lessons for 3/4′s of a goat.
That’s where TEM comes in.
After creating an account, members do business with each other using TEM credits. New members are allowed to deficit-spend up to 300 TEMs, which is effectively an interest-free loan from the community. Only by offering demanded goods and services in return can the new members replenish their balances to keep making purchases.
Credits are created according to these guidelines as new members join — no central banking or monetary authority required.