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Bristolians are taking control of their future following the EU referendum

“The morning after the Brexit vote, I was sitting in Small Street Espresso feeling pretty bewildered. As I paid for my coffee with text to pay, it occurred to me (and gave me some comfort) that by using the Bristol Pound it was a way of bypassing national political craziness and keeping things small and local. Our currency makes both a local and collective statement. It made the day a little brighter (and still does each time I use the currency).” Nick Hand, Director of the Letterpress Collective CIC

Bristol folk, like Nick, have demonstrated their disillusionment with the status quo the last few weeks. But they weren’t rioting or protesting, or arguing or writing angry letters. No, they were buying their groceries, paying their energy bills and using text to pay to get a coffee.

How can that make a difference? Well, you may have heard of voting with your wallet – no? Well how about ‘putting your money where your mouth is’? When you spend regular old sterling you’re handing over the value of the goods and services, yes, but you’re also handing over an acceptance of the current status quo, you’re saying yes to more cloned high streets and tax havens. Nothing is stopping that sterling quickly making its way out of Bristol and off to do its dirty work who knows where.

Bristol Pound activity doubled the last week of July.

With Bristol Pounds, however, you hand over much more than the monetary value, you hand over your values – that you want to see Bristol businesses thrive, but also that you want your money kept out of tax havens and away from reckless banks. You want your money to stay in Bristol, work with Bristol. Suddenly, something as simple and everyday as spending money gives you back control. And that’s just what Bristol folk did with Bristol Pound activity doubling the week following the referendum.

So, if you’re overwhelmed or feeling powerless or had enough of talking and want to be the change you want to see in the world, go buy yourself a local coffee with text to pay, go pay your council tax through the Bristol Pound website, go grab a pint using the local notes and join the surge of other Bristol folk steering our city, our system, our leaders, and our world, in the right direction.



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  2. ED says:

    If the Bristol Pound is pegged 1 to 1 with Pound sterling, its surely impossible to avoid counterparty risk to the legacy financial and banking system when the pound gets devalued either through QE, fractional reserve banking or through events such as Brexit.

    Based on this, isnt the title of this article misleading, when there are alternatives like Silver, Gold and Bitcoin that actually do act as a counterparty and inflation hedge asset to the existing global financial system?

    • Adam Rich says:

      Very interesting comment and I can only agree with your first point. Though I will elaborate on my choice of title:

      The article ‘Bristolians are taking control of their future following the EU referendum’ focuses on the lived experience of people using the Bristol Pound to express their values of solidarity with one another in our local economy, while rejecting the metanarratives of both mainstream economics and of political division.

      The Bristol Pound is a Community Interest Company with users directly engaging and influencing how the scheme works, guiding the future of their own money and influencing how their money works in such ways as who can accept it (only local, independent Bristol businesses), what it looks like and the methods in which payments are made (such as text to pay). In this sense, Bristolians are using their own local money to get some direct control over their monetary system.

      Bristol Pound is currently pegged 1 to 1 with Pound sterling, so you are quite right that we have not ventured into taking control over that aspect of the monetary system.