The SoNantes is an all-digital currency aimed at economic development of local businesses.
Inspired by the WIR system in place in Basel, Switzerland it includes a mutual credit system that allows businesses to provide goods and services to each other without spending Euros, with individual shoppers also able to participate by opening up an account at the local credit union. SoNantes cards can then be used on public transport, in shops and cafes as well as to pay for certain council services.
Promoted by the city of Nantes and the intercommunal structure of Nantes Métropole, the currency is being implemented by the Crédit Municipal de Nantes across the entire area of Greater Nantes.
As a system for exchanging of goods and services between businesses (B2B) and individuals (B2C) the use of this deposit money is regulated by a mutual credit system aimed at recording each user’s credits and debits, within limits set on a case-per-case basis. Individuals will be able to make purchases from any company that has joined the scheme (traders, shops, craftsmen, etc.) through a payment system that does not rely on coins or banknotes but allows all transactions to be paid through swiping a SoNantes card that links directly to an online account.
Nantes’s currency will be in use within the 24 municipalities of the local conurbation. Its aims are to complement the Euro as an tool that helps promote exchanges between local economic stakeholders, and in turn contribute to the balanced development of the local area.
The SoNantes is currently in the alpha-testing stage and is set to launch to the public in January 2015.
See a animated preview of how it will work here:
And a humourous film about how the SoNantes currency will keep money local: