Castellino del Biferno, a small town in Italy, has begun issuing its own banknotes. The notes will be given out to residents based on economic need.
With the Italian lockdown expected to go on until sometime in May, residents are taking matters into their own hands — with some even creating their own currencies.
Italian Town Issues Its Own Banknotes
Castellino del Biferno is a tiny village with just 550 residents. However, its people have been struggling amid the pandemic. That’s why the town decided to come up with a novel idea: Issuing its own banknotes.
Called ‘Ducatis,’ the banknotes can be spent at local stores for necessities like food. [Visor Down]
The shops can then return the banknotes to the local council to be fully reimbursed. Ducatis are therefore much like vouchers which help to ration supplies in the small town.
The idea came about after the town received a grant of €5,500 from the Italian government. The town’s council decided to create a voucher program from these funds and provided Ducati banknotes to over 200 of its residents. The number of COVID-19 cases is extremely low in Castellino del Biferno, but its local people are still feeling the economic impact of the lockdown.
Struggling to Reopen
Although Italy is likely past the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, its economy is now in shambles.
The situation is so dire that the EU is readying a trillion-euro fund to provide some relief. However, there has been some conflict over how this money should be distributed. Spain and Italy have complained they are being made to suffer the brunt of the economic pain. The IMF has warned that Spain and Italy will be two of the worst-hit countries economically in the EU.
Given these conditions, the Ducatis experiment is an interesting experiment in self-organization. Here is a town that has taken the situation into its own hands by distributing custom banknotes to better appropriate supplies. For those of us enthusiastic about alternative currencies, it’s a fascinating case study.
For now, Italians are more fixated on their immediate material needs than the state of the euro. However, for a time, the ‘war on cash’ was signaling a possible exodus of fiat money and the advent of cryptocurrencies. With the European Central Bank printing more currency than ever before, we can expect interest in alternatives like Bitcoin to spike after the worst of COVID-19 is behind us.