From Bitcoins to Starbucks rewards points, there’s more ways than ever to buy without using actual dollars. Some local communities are even minting their own money, hoping to boost local businesses and nonprofits. In Pt. Reyes Station, KRCB goes on a hunt for West Marin Trade Tokens. The tokens, worth 3 dollars, are the project of the Coastal Marin Fund.
It's a way, explains Richard Kirshman, to raise money for local nonprofit organizations, "In the same way that a 5 dollar chip that disappears from Las Vegas that cost the casino 50 cents to make, or 25 cents to make, and the rest is just profit, that's the way this sort of thing works." So far the fund has awarded about $15,000 to organizations within the community.
The town of Fairfax is experimenting with its own coin too, called the "FairBuck."
"We're always trying to [think of] ways to help local business," says David Smadbeck, president of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, which released the coins. "It's seemed to gel the community."