No Cash or Credit? Try Dibits, an Alternative Currency

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making offers and bids, which makes the site safer than e-commerce sites where anonymity is allowed. The management team also monitors the offers and requests in case of inappropriate, illegal, or even just flaky posts that they don’t think belong.

Because dibit generation comes from them, the Dibspace team is essentially the Federal Bank, the Mint, and every other regulatory agency rolled into one. Though normally they earn dibits like anyone else, via consulting or other services, Canterbury says that he used the site to generate dibits to pay the consulting fee of an attorney and to get business cards made. Essentially, he controls the mini-economy more closely than Alan Greenspan ever dreamed, and even acting responsibly and for the betterment of this tiny economy, he has the opportunity to acquire anything on the site for free, with just a few keystrokes to give himself more dibits.

Although this kind of barter currency might sound like something the government would discourage, Canterbury says that because services and goods sold are still reported and taxed as income, there is no problem.

Dibspace is not the first to create an alternate currency website, and there are others with somewhat similar projects, even in Seattle (Divvy and Kashless come to mind). Such sites may have been successful even in a healthy global economy, but there is no doubt the recession is helping drive new customers.

Next, Dibspace plans to incorporate the restaurant industry into its structure. People could then use dibits instead of dollars to buy meals at local restaurants. Or they might even trade directly with the restaurant. Canterbury says he also hopes to someday include hotels and other major businesses into the network.

At this point, Canterbury is confident he will achieve his goals. “I’m doing this 25 percent to help small businesses and 75 percent for making obscene amounts of profit,” he says.

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Eric Hal Schwartz was an intern in Xconomy's Seattle office. Follow @

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  • Jct: Best of all, when the local currency is pegged to the Time Standard of Money (how many dollars/hour child labor) Hours earned locally can be intertraded with other timebanks globally!
    In 1999, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with an IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours.
    U.N. Millennium Declaration UNILETS Resolution C6 to governments is for a time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.
    See my banking systems engineering analysis at

  • Dibspace ROCKS, I hope soon they will branch out to other areas.

    Mark Herpel
    editor of Community Currency Magazine