Gov. Brown Approves CA Alternative Currencies Act

Re-posted from the Sustainable Economies Law Center

On June 28th, California took a significant step toward further legitimizing the creation and circulation of community currencies and other innovative means of exchange. Signed into law by Gov. Brown, the California Alternative Currencies Act (AB 129) repeals the outdated and vague Section 107 of the California Corporations Code, thus removing a significant legal barrier to the continued growth of the community currencies movement.

Read the chaptered bill here.

Dating back to the California Constitution of 1849, Section 107 stated:

No corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States.

As our research has demonstrated, the legal definition of “money” has always remained ambiguous and imprecise. The repeal of Section 107 reflects the growth of a diverse range of new payment systems and community-based means of exchange that have flourished in recent years. Driven both by economic necessity and innovations in technology, communities across California and across the world are creating their own means of exchange that support economic resilience and social cohesion in the face of rapidly changing economies.

AB 129 removes an outdated yet significant legal barrier to the creation and circulation of many types of alternative currencies, including local currencies like Davis Dollars and Bernal Bucks, crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Freicoin, reward point systems such as frequent flyer miles, and other means of exchange beyond “the lawful money of the United States.”

Read more about community currencies and SELC’s work to support economies based on barter, gifts, time banks, and local currencies.

Chris Tittle

A recent transplant to Oakland, Chris is passionate about exploring life-sustaining alternatives to the neo-liberal market paradigm. In his role as Director of Organizational Resilience, he is working to build SELC’s internal resilience, diversify SELC's sources of support, and bring principles of social and economic justice into SELC’s funding strategy. Among his many other roles, he contributes to SELC’s Community Currencies, Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, and Rethinking Home programs, working to cultivate more democratic and place-based models for building community resilience. Chris recently completed an MA in Economics for Transition at Schumacher College, an international whole-person learning center near Totnes, UK. While in the UK, he was active in Occupy London’s Energy, Equity and Environment working group, and helped guide a community exploration of Totnes’ monetary ecology with Transition Town Totnes. His dissertation explored permaculture and a Rights of Nature framework as more culturally-appropriate and generative responses to climate change adaptation in the Global South. Chris has previously worked as an ecological educator, outdoor guide, and environmental journalist, earning his BA in Non-Western History and Poverty Studies from Washington and Lee University. His writing can be found on,, and his blog at

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