When I was in 6th grade, my teacher came up with a currency for our classroom – we could earn various denominations of the bills, printed on colored papered with homegrown cartoons drawn on them, for special projects, or we could take it in lieu of extra credit on tests, or lose it for bad behavior. To 11-year-olds with limited allowances, those bills proved more valuable than the ones with presidents on them.
But like Monopoly, sometimes these types of games aren’t just for kids. In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Torch Project “aims to create a local currency to benefit both local area businesses and artists,” according to their website. WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show spoke with the project’s founder, Mary Jeys, about how it works.
The Brooklyn Torch isn’t the first experiment of its kind. In Michigan, a bar decided to mint its own currency to fund a renovation. According to an NPR piece from 2007, the bar’s plans were legal and in fact nothing new – local currencies date back to the 1800s.
Interested in learning more about making money (literally)? Check out some of these resources:
History Detectives: The $6 Bill Mystery
NOVA’s History of Money
Review on NPR.org of: The Art of Making Money