One of our biggest projects has been looking into the usage of alternative currencies, including Bitcoin and the Bristol Pound.

Some communities, small businesses and non-governmental organisations experience a scarcity of credit and money. In that context, new ways for people and organisations to share, swap, rent, or exchange, with or without official money, are important.

In addition, peer-to-peer systems of lending, giving and investing are growing rapidly. Advances in the internet and mobile telephony present opportunities for these systems to grow, with the terms "sharing economy", "collaborative consumption" and "complementary currency" becoming popular.

IFLAS describes these developments as aspects of "sustainable exchange" and examines the implications of all these new approaches for transition to fair and sustainable societies.

The Institute’s work on this topic is already internationally renowned, with our Director keynoting in Copenhagen, delivering a popular TEDx talk in Rome, and discussing the research on Al Jazeera English. The University generated worldwide news for deciding to accept Bitcoin for payment of tuition fees for our related courses.

Certificate in Sustainable Exchange

PGC in Sustainable Leadership

Research Development

IFLAS is developing and conducting engaged scholarship on "sustainable exchange". We co-organised the first UN conference on these topics. The Director of IFLAS is working with the World Economic Forum’s task force of Young Global Leaders on the Sharing Economy.

IFLAS is working with partners across Europe to develop applied research on this topic, including New Economics Foundation, United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UNNGLS), ESADE, Nyenrode Business University, the Academy of Business and Society (EABIS), the European Sustainability Academy, Community Forge, Transition City Lancaster, and the Lancaster Ethical Small Traders Association.

Publications on this topic include a chapter by Professor Bendell and community credit guru Thomas Greco, called Currencies of Transition, and a new book by Jem Bendell and Ian Doyle, called Healing Capitalism.

IFLAS supervises doctoral studies on this theme. One of our PhD researchers is Leander Bindewald MSc MA. He is an expert in Complementary Currencies and he manages the international Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) project for the Finance and Business Team at the New Economics Foundation. His PhD title is “The Practice of Community Currencies and the Critical Examination of the Discourse of Money.” Leander also teaches on IFLAS short courses and our Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange. Professor Bendell and Dr Audrey Slight supervise his PHD

Past Events on Alternative Currencies

Complementary Currency Research Symposium

July 6 & 7, 2014, University of Cumbria, East India Dock Road, London.

IFLAS, in collaboration with the EU-funded programme Complementary and Community Currencies in Action (CCIA), represented by the New Economics Foundation, will host the first CC research symposium for PhD and Masters candidates in London.

The aim is to facilitate and coordinate peer support and collaboration amongst students and institutions involved in academic research in the field of complementary and community currencies.

Topics of focus will be: Current and strategic fields of research, interdisciplinarity, international synchronisation, funding and cooperation opportunities.

For more information, contact CCIA co-ordinator and IFLAS doctoral researcher Leander Bindewald.

July 12th 2013, Lancaster, UK

Unlocking Local Wealth II: a one day workshop on community exchange systems and local currencies, organised in association with the New Economics Foundation. 30 people attended, from 5 countries.

July 11th 2013, Lancaster, UK

Open lectures on 'Starting Your Own Currency', in association with Lancaster’s Ethical Small Traders Association, featured John Rogers, Thomas Greco and Jem Bendell. Jem Bendell introduced the keynote followed by keynote from John Rogers, co-author of “People Money,” followed by a keynote response by Tom Greco, author of “The End of Money and the Future of Civilization”. 30 people attended.

July 11th 2013, Lancaster, UK

Informal Working Group of Experts on Community Exchange. 17 people attended from 5 countries.

June 7th 2013, Carlisle, UK

Open lecture on 'The Money Myth', by Professor Jem Bendell, organised with Sustainable Carlisle. 40 people attended.

March 11th 2013, Lake District, UK

An open lecture on 'People Money' by John Rogers (author and Associate Scholar, IFLAS), and on 'The Solidarity Economy', by Hamish Jenkins (United Nations Programme Officer), at our Ambleside Campus. This served as the local launch of the Institute as well as the Business School. 70 people attended.

March 11th 2013, Lake District, UK

‘Unlocking Local Wealth: A one day workshop on local currencies and community financing’ in association with the United Nations and New Economics Foundation, at our Ambleside Campus. 30 people attended, from 5 countries. Our Associate Scholars Sharon Jackson and John Rogers were tutors.

February 15th to 17th, 2013, Lake District UK.

Weekend Retreat for the New Economy Organisers Network (NEON) programme, comprising 20+ campaigners from unions, faith groups, NGOs and grassroots groups working on economic justice issues, and the creation of a sustainable economy. 24 attended.

October 30th 2012, Ambleside, UK.

An open lecture on 'The Future of Money in a Sustainable World', by Thomas Greco Jr, a famous monetary critique, who co-authored a chapter with Professor Bendell in 2013 (“Currencies of Transition”). 60 people attended, from about 20 countries.

October 28th 2012, Lancaster, UK.

An open lecture on 'The Future of Money in a Sustainable World', by Thomas Greco Jr. 50 people attended.

December 2013, Brisbane & Wollongong, Australia.

Open lectures by Professor Jem Bendell on The Future of Money: the Imperative of Currency Innovation. In this talk, the IFLAS director outlined some of the issues, innovations and hopes in this fast moving field of currency innovation, and how it will impact on the future relationship of government, banking, business and society.

September 9th 2013, Nottingham University Business School in Ningbo, China.

Professor Jem Bendell, lectured on 'The Future of Money: the Imperative of Currency Innovation'. 40 people attended.

September 5th, 2013, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Professor Bendell lectured on 'The Future of Money' at Rabobank. 140 people attended.

June 19th to 23rd 2013, The Hague, Netherlands.

The 2nd International Conference on Complementary Currency Systems (CCS) at the International Institute for Social Studies. Professor Bendell presented a paper written with Will Ruddick on 'Kenyan currency innovation for sustainable development', and participated in a panel on what local governments can do to scale local currencies. 600 people attended. Watch his interview here.

May 6th to 8th 2013, Geneva, Switzerland.

United Nations (UNRISD and UNNGLS) Social and Solidarity Economy Conference. Professor Bendell presented on the final plenary of the ILO/UNRISD main conference (400 people attended) and on Community Exchange Systems in the Special Session on Complementary Currencies (200 people attended). Watch his speech here.

May 22nd to 24th 2013, Berlin, Germany.

Professor Bendell keynoted at the conference organised by the P2P Foundation, called the Economics of the Commons Conference. Over 200 people attended. Watch his speech here.

February 20th 2013, Barcelona, Spain.

ESADE Business School. Conference on Social Innovation: Professor Bendell keynoted on 'Unleashing Abundance through Collaborative Innovation'. About 400 people attended.

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