Exchange and Virtual Currencies Networks in Greece
"Exchange and virtual currencies networks refer to activities organised by groups of citizens in specific regions or across the whole of Greece, where transactions are taking place without the use of money. They are based either on the exchange of products and services or on virtual currencies such as the unit of time or coupons issued by the networks’ members. Some of them are online networks where the members can notify when they want to give something away for free or when they need something.
Some of the most popular networks are presented below:
• Time Exchange (http://www.time-exchange.gr/): This is a network for exchanging free services.
In 2011, thousands of people flooded the squares of Greece trying to resist the introduction of new austerity measures which would have such devastating effects on people’s lives. A group of people who had gathered in Syntagma Square decided to exchange views and knowledge in order to operate a time bank, i.e. a network for exchanging free services, using time as the unit of transaction.
• Ovolos (www.ovolos.gr): An alternative social currency that facilitates commercial activities between its members.
The network is organised and operated by its members and is open to anyone who wants to participate.
• TEM (http://www.tem-magnisia.gr/): An alternative economic/ social model.
More than 800 citizens in the town of Volos have signed up for a local currency scheme called TEM. The network includes teachers, doctors, babysitters, farmers, hairdressers, etc. who interact with each other online. All transactions are recorded in a special electronic system, in order for any network member to be able to offer or search for products and services in any given time. Members transfer units into and out of each others' accounts online. TEM provides an alternative way of showing practical solidarity and a response to the crisis effects.
• Skoros (http://skoros.espiv.net/): Skoros is a solidarity bazaar, which is anti-consumerist and is open to everyone, regardless of their economic situation.
A give-and-take of things but also a meeting point for exchange of knowledge/ experience/ practices (for example, I offer a hair-cut and you teach me how to knit!). It is neither a philanthropic organisation, nor a kind of “alternative church”. It is a group of people that question in practice the dogma “I consume, therefore I am”.
• Fasouli (http://fasouli.wordpress.com/): This network is for the underpaid or unemployed youth of Athens – all those whose welfare payments are decreasing while the world they live in is becoming increasingly expensive.
The so called 700 euro generation that today became the 300 euro generation is the name that young Greeks have given themselves. Two years ago when young people managed to find a job, they rarely got more than 700 euro (with a minimum net wage of 750 euro per month) whereas today they roughly get more than 350 euro a month which is the minimum net wage for young employees up to 25 years old in accordance to the law implemented as a result of the austerity measures adopted. Fasouli serves their needs by giving the opportunity to each network member to exchange services and products. The tenders are communicated to the network through classified ads. The payment is made in Fasoulas, a virtual currency, whose use is restricted to the members of the network.
• Free-economy (http://network.free-economy.gr/): Online exchange network in which dozens of professionals offer and receive services by using an alternative currency.
• Xariseto.gr (http://www.xariseto.gr/): Online exchange network which aims to decrease the volume of useful objects ending up in landfills which are useless to someone after a period of time.
This initiative is an alternative economic model, a give-and-take of things which are offered free of charge.
• Dose- pare (http://dwsepare.ning.com/): Online exchange network.
A give-and-take of things which are offered free of charge.
• Solidarity and exchange networks in several Greek cities and islands: The main focus of these networks is to allow their members to exchange services and products as a means of meeting part of their daily needs without the use of money. Such networks are: “Votsalo”, “Ilianthos”, “Lets.net.gr”, “Stakraeli”, “Ilios”, “Rodia”, “Iliohoros”, “kyklos-kos”, “DiktioElia”, “Sano”, “Kaereti”, “Mesopotamia”, “Perivolakia”, “KOINO”, “EMRO”, “Boutsouni” etc."
(source: Informal Citizen Networks in Greece )