Local Exchange Trading Scheme

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Local Exchange Trading Schemes or Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS), also known as LETSystems, are a sort of Complementary Currencies. They are local, non-profit exchange networks in which goods and services can be traded without the need for official tender such as US$, Euro, Sterling Pound etc. In some places, e.g. Toronto, the scheme has been called the Local Employment and Trading System. In French-speaking countries it is usually called as "Système d'Echange Local"(SEL) and in Germany it is called as "Tauschring".

History

Michael Linton originated the term "Local Exchange Trading System" in 1983 and, for a time ran the Comox Valley LETSystems in Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada. The system he designed was intended as complementary to the national currency, rather than a replacement for it.

LETS networks use interest-free local credit so direct swaps do not need to be made. For instance, a member may earn credit by doing childcare for one person and spend it later on carpentry with another person in the same network. In LETS, unlike other local currencies, no scrip is issued, but rather transactions are recorded in a central location open to all members. As credit is issued by the network members, for the benefit of the members themselves, LETS are considered mutual credit systems.

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