2. In a complementary currency ecosystem

2.4. Historical evolution and current situation

2.4.2. International historical evolution

The four typologies of complementary currencies have travelled from one country to another during approximately the last three decades, adapting and evolving along the way.

We can see below the current situation of the 38 nationally-based currency groups identified in the study conducted by Seyfang and Longhurst in 2013, indicating whether they are growing, stable, or have peaked in terms of the total number of member projects. The study reveals that, generally speaking, the majority (52.6%) of the groups identified are growing, 21.1% are stable, and 26.3% have experienced a downturn in growth. These figures are irrespective of the typology or location of the currency.

Figure 16. Timelines showing geographical diffusion of community currencies.

Analysis of the development trajectory of the 38 nationally-based groups organized by continent reveals some region-specific characteristics. The majority (66.7%) of the North American groups, for example, are experiencing growth. The proportion of European groups experiencing growth is slightly smaller (55.6%), in parallel with an impressive figure of groups which are stable (27.8%). Asia and Australia and New Zealand show a greater proportion of nationally-based currency groups in decline (75% and 66.7%, respectively), with South America revealing a similar number in each of the three growth categories.

The analysis of the development trajectory of the 38 nationally-based groups according to complementary currency typology offers another perspective, however. Of the four typologies, service credit systems are experiencing the greatest growth, with ten of the twelve national groupings in the growth phase (83.3%), and the remainder in the stable phase. The evolution of mutual exchange systems is more evenly distributed, with 43.8% of the 16 groups in the growth phase and the same proportion in decline; 12.5% are stable. The six local currency networks reveal a similar panorama, with 33.3% in each of the three growth categories. Of the four national barter market networks, one is growing (25%), two are stable (50%), and the fourth has already peaked (25%).