Totnes pound

Last updated

Totnes pound
User(s) Totnes

The Totnes pound (t£) was a complementary local currency, [1] intended to support the local economy of Totnes, a town in Devon, England. It was in circulation from March 2007 to June 2019, when it was discontinued due partly to an increasingly cashless economy.



The group argued that "Economic localisation is considered to be a key aspect of the transition process, and local currency systems provide the opportunity to strengthen the local economy whilst preventing money from leaking out". [2] Developed by Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande the scheme was partly modelled on BerkShares. [3]

The initiative was part of the Transition Towns concept, of which Totnes was a pioneer. According to the Transition Town Totnes website, this meant that Totnes was "a community in a process of imagining and creating a future that addresses the twin challenges of diminishing oil and gas supplies and climate change, and creates the kind of community that we would all want to be part of". [4]

The anticipated benefits of the Totnes Pound were:

On 30 June 2019 the Totnes Pound was closed, due its declining usage caused partly by the rise of the cashless society. [5]

Value and usage

A Totnes Pound was equal to one pound sterling and was backed by sterling held in a bank account.

The Totnes Pound was re-launched in June 2014 in denominations of t£1, t£5, t£10 and t£21. The final designs featured author Mary Wesley, 'father of the computer' Charles Babbage, musician Ben Howard and social activist and philanthropist Dorothy Elmhirst. [6]

As of July 2014, more than 120 businesses in Totnes were accepting the Totnes Pound, [7] and more than £12,000 worth of the currency had been issued. [8]

Description of notes

The paper Totnes Pounds were printed on plasticised paper and had a number of security features including: watermarks, a hologram, engraved silver foil and iridescent ink. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Totnes</span> Town in Devon, England

Totnes is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon, England, within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Paignton, about 7 miles (11 km) west-southwest of Torquay and about 20 miles (32 km) east-northeast of Plymouth. It is the administrative centre of the South Hams District Council.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cash</span> Physical money

In economics, cash is money in the physical form of currency, such as banknotes and coins.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Local currency</span> Currency that can be spent in a particular geographical locality at participating organisations.

In economics, a local currency is a currency that can be spent in a particular geographical locality at participating organisations. A regional currency is a form of local currency encompassing a larger geographical area, while a community currency might be local or be used for exchange within an online community. A local currency acts as a complementary currency to a national currency, rather than replacing it, and aims to encourage spending within a local community, especially with locally owned businesses. Such currencies may not be backed by a national government nor be legal tender. About 300 complementary currencies, including local currencies, are listed in the Complementary Currency Resource Center worldwide database.

A local exchange trading system is a locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and records transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using locally created currency. LETS allow people to negotiate the value of their own hours or services, and to keep wealth in the locality where it is created.

The Australian dollar is the currency of Australia, including its external territories: Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Norfolk Island. It is officially used as currency by three independent Pacific Island states: Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. It is legal tender in Australia. Within Australia, it is almost always abbreviated with the dollar sign ($), with A$ or AU$ sometimes used to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The $ symbol precedes the amount. It is subdivided into 100 cents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reserve currency</span> Currencies held by monetary authorities as part of their foreign exchange reserves

A reserve currency is a foreign currency that is held in significant quantities by central banks or other monetary authorities as part of their foreign exchange reserves. The reserve currency can be used in international transactions, international investments and all aspects of the global economy. It is often considered a hard currency or safe-haven currency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pound sterling</span> Official currency of the United Kingdom and other territories

Sterling is the currency of the United Kingdom and nine of its associated territories. The pound is the main unit of sterling, and the word "pound" is also used to refer to the British currency generally, often qualified in international contexts as the British pound or the pound sterling.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Banknotes of the pound sterling</span> Promissory notes denominated in pounds sterling

Sterling banknotes are the banknotes in circulation in the United Kingdom and its related territories, denominated in pounds sterling.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Currency board</span>

A currency board is a monetary authority which is required to maintain a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency. This policy objective requires the conventional objectives of a central bank to be subordinated to the exchange rate target. In colonial administration currency boards were popular because of the advantages of printing appropriate denominations for local conditions, and it also benefited the colony with the seigniorage revenue. However, after World War II many independent countries preferred to have central banks and independent currencies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Singapore dollar</span> Official currency of Singapore

The Singapore dollar is the official currency of the Republic of Singapore. It is divided into 100 cents. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or S$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issues the banknotes and coins of the Singapore dollar.

A private currency is a currency issued by a private entity, be it an individual, a commercial business, a nonprofit or decentralized common enterprise. It is often contrasted with fiat currency issued by governments or central banks. In many countries, the issuance of private paper currencies and/or the minting of metal coins intended to be used as currency may even be a criminal act such as in the United States. Digital cryptocurrency is sometimes treated as an asset instead of a currency. Cryptocurrency is illegal as a currency in a few countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">BerkShares</span> Local currency

BerkShares is a local currency that circulates in The Berkshires region of Massachusetts. It was launched on September 29, 2006 by BerkShares Inc., with research and development assistance from the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. The BerkShares website lists around 400 businesses in Berkshire County that accept the currency. Since launch, over 10 million BerkShares have been issued from participating branch offices of local banks. The bills were designed by John Isaacs and were printed by Excelsior Printing on special paper with incorporated security features from Crane & Co. BerkShares are pegged with an exchange rate to the US dollar, but the Schumacher Center has discussed the possibility of pegging its value to a basket of local goods in order to insulate the local economy against volatility in the US economy.

The terms transition town, transition initiative and transition model refer to grassroot community projects that aim to increase self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability. In 2006, the founding of Transition Town Totnes in the United Kingdom became an inspiration for other groups to form. The Transition Network charity was founded in early 2007, to support these projects. A number of the groups are officially registered with the Transition Network. Transition initiatives have been started in locations around the world, with many located in the United Kingdom and others in Europe, North America and Australia. While the aims remain the same, Transition initiatives' solutions are specific depending on the characteristics of the local area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lewes pound</span>

The Lewes pound is a local currency in use in the town of Lewes, East Sussex. Inspired by the Totnes pound and BerkShare, the currency was introduced with the blessing of the town council in September 2008 by Transition Town Lewes as a community response to the challenges of climate change and peak oil.

The Stroud pound is a local currency in use in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Unveiled on 12 September 2009, the scheme is the third local currency scheme introduced in England in recent years after the Totnes pound and the Lewes pound.

Fiscal localism comprises institutions of localized monetary exchange. Sometimes considered a backlash against global capitalism or economic globalization, fiscal localism affords voluntary, market structures that help communities trade more efficiently within their communities and regions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Community Exchange System</span>

The Community Exchange System (CES) is an internet-based global trading network which allows participants to buy and sell goods and services without using a national currency. It may be described as a type of local exchange trading system (LETS) network based on free software. While it can be used as an alternative to traditional currencies such as the Australian dollar or euro or South African rand, the Community Exchange System is a complementary currency in the sense that it functions alongside established currencies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bristol pound</span> Local currency

The Bristol pound (£B) was a form of local, complementary, and/or community currency launched in Bristol, UK on 19 September 2012. Its objective is to encourage people to spend their money with local, independent businesses in Bristol, and for those businesses to in turn localise their own supply chains. At the point of the close of the digital scheme in August 2020, it was the largest alternative in the UK to official sterling currency, and is backed by sterling.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Exeter pound</span>

The Exeter pound (£E) was a form of local complementary currency, or community currency launched in Exeter, UK on 1 September 2015. Its objective was to ensure more money was spent with local and independent businesses. It was one of the many alternatives in the UK to the official sterling currency. It was discontinued on 30 September 2018.


  1. "The town already has its own currency, the Totnes pound" in "Devon town bids for eco status [ permanent dead link ] (retrieved 20 June 2008)
  2. 1 2 The Totnes Pound Project Archived 2008-04-28 at the Wayback Machine , April 2008
  3. "They don't just shop local in Totnes - they have their very own". . 30 April 2008.
  4. Transition Town Totnes Archived 2008-04-17 at the Wayback Machine , April 2008
  5. "Totnes pound: Currency killed by 'cashless economy'". BBC News. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  6. "Meet the new faces of local currency". 28 May 2014. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  7. Woodruff, Graham. "Totnes Pound".
  8. "Banknotes, local currencies and central bank objectives" (PDF). Bank of England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  9. "Security Features". Totnes Pound. Retrieved 17 December 2016.