COjacks, a Colorado Currency, Starts Circulating Tomorrow
When the phrase "buy local" is uttered, what does it really mean? Friends Deacon Rodda and Brok McFerron spent a long time thinking about the concept and saw many opportunities within the local business community to make "buy local" a true reality. So on Friday, August 22, Rodda and McFerron -- along with an ever-expanding network of businesses -- will launch COjacks, Colorado's own local currency.
Meet Colorado's own local currency, COjacks.
Working in conjunction with the U.S. dollar, COjacks is an alternative currency that will circulate only within businesses in its network, providing the groundwork for a truly regional-specific, sustainable local economy. To find out how, exactly, this new currency will work, Westword chatted with Rodda about the vision behind the creation of COjacks.
Westword: What is COjacks?
Deacon Rodda: It's really simple in terms of the premise: It's a localization incentive. We have a lot of "buy local" campaigns that are done by different organizations and networks that are (represented by) stickers and T-shirts. But none of those actually create an incentive system, so we are still in a situation where big-box stores always have the price advantage. We've created a system that gives anyone who is privy to it or exposed to it a mechanical reason that their life can be immediately improved by supporting local businesses. That's the idea.
It's a currency, backed by a business-member agreement. Any business that decides to become a COjacks member can agree to accept just 10 percent of any given transaction in COjacks at face value; prices don't change. By becoming a COjacks business member, that business can buy COjacks at face value for their own spending, but they also get services from COjacks. They are also plugged into this network where anyone who has COjacks on them has the incentive to spend with their business or any other local business in the network.
So it's not a direct replacement of the government-issued dollar?
It is a currency unto itself, but it is not a replacement for the U.S. dollar at all and has no intention of replacing the U.S. dollar. It is an augmentation. The U.S. dollar works for what it was meant to do -- it was designed for a purpose, which was to stimulate growth. The only reason for the issuance model for the dollar was to stimulate economic growth. There's a lot of collateral damage when you have a system that is just designed to add rocket fuel perennially. It is designed to drive consumption.
It has a lot of problems; it only incentivizes the profit motive. Because dollars are issued as debt and interest, every dollar that comes into the economy is married to two or three dollars of debt. So there is always more debt in the economy than there is credit, which is what stimulates growth. If people have debt to pay off, they need money. Money is always scarce because it is issued at a deficit. More people take out more loans to cover more needs, but if people have needs and debt, then we always have to be adding more and more of this fuel.
The net result is that people just pass it -- it creates this rat race thing that we accept as a given. It's that whole thing like, a fish doesn't really know it is in water. We feel like it is a given that the economy is always a rat race, but actually the only currency type we have is one that is married to a lot more debt. With the COjacks system, there is no debt involved. It actually augments a bit of how a dollar works.
This system says you are a business who is providing goods and services to people, so you should be able to get more credit without taking on more debt burden. A business can buy COjacks at half of face value and what that does is take one dollar that was married to two to three dollars of debt. It's like throwing extra chairs into musical chairs. Those extra dollars only recirculate within this one network. Anyone can accept the cash currency, but with COjacks, since we are only giving membership to local businesses, the incentive to use COjacks is that it keeps it local.
Keep reading for more on COjacks.