2. In a complementary currency ecosystem

2.3. Characteristics

2.3.3. Hybrid designs

The four typologies of complementary currencies (mutual exchange, service credits, local currencies and barter markets) and their characteristics in terms of scope of activity (social, economic and environmental) and issue process (shared credit, backed by legal-tender currency, trust-based currencies, backed by goods, issued as debt) are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, combinations are perfectly possible.

If we are aiming for a genuinely sustainable model, we will need to set our sights on a hybrid complementary monetary system. Among other features, this would need to combine two or more typologies at the same time; be socially, economically and environmentally effective; and use the issue process best suited to its objectives. There is no standard model for complementary currencies, therefore no two projects are exactly alike. Projects can be remarkably similar, but the precise socioeconomic climate of the environment into which they are introduced will determine the nature of each project and make it unique. Hybrid models are the result of the combination of different categories and characteristics, and are tailor-made to fit the project’s objectives, the agents involved and the available resources, among many other factors.