Potomacs
Potomacs
Location: Washington, D.C., suburbs of Northern Virginia and Maryland
Started: 2009

Started by a grass roots organization called Ecolocity, which focuses on issues ranging from affordable housing to urban farming in the Washington, D.C.,-area, the Potomac was introduced to strengthen the local economy and help shield it from any fallout from the national economy.

"[W]e wanted to try to localize our economy to make it more self-sustained and self-sufficient by relying on our own resources, and we found that a local currency tends to do all of these things," said Larry Chang, the director of the Potomac currency.

Potomacs come in 1, 5, 10 and 20 denominations and are decorated with local scenery and icons including D.C. native Marvin Gaye, the Capitol building and a view of the Potomac River.

Each Potomac is worth 95 cents. But when the currency is used at a participating store or at the local farmers market, it exchanges one-for-one. The 5-cent difference is meant as an incentive for the consumer to spend and a disincentive for merchants to exchange their Potomacs for U.S. dollars (since they would only get 95 cents for every Potomac).

Chang admits the currency has a long way to go before it makes a meaningful difference in the community. Only about a dozen businesses currently accept the currency.

Overall, 3,000 Potomacs are currently in circulation, and area residents can order them online or get them as change from participating businesses.


By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney - Last updated January 27 2012: 3:05 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.