Banking

Slow money comes to San Francisco with Bernal Bucks

Bernal Bucks window promo

Bernal Bucks welcome here

You’ve heard about slow food, but what about slow money?

Slow money is exactly what Arno Hesse hopes to bring to his Bernal Heights, San Francisco neighborhood with Bernal Bucks. The goal behind Bernal Bucks is simple: More money circulates locally when spent at locally owned businesses, which in turns contributes to the local economy.

Here’s how it works:

  • Individuals get Bernal Bucks stickers by making a donation to a local charity
  • Bernal Bucks is not its own currency but rather a sticker you place on existing $10 bills (Because the sticker is removable, you’re not defacing currency, which is illegal) Each $1 donated buys you one sticker
  • Use the currency at local businesses and get rewarded — a free apple at the grocery store, $5 off your massage, etc.

I first met Arno at BarCampBank San Francisco (where the spark behind the project ignited) and asked him to elaborate on the motivation driving the project: Continue reading

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