Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column; Published on 10/30/15, a www.SamBurlum.com Exclusive
Source: There are many other forms of instruments for conducting a financial transaction for goods and services, so what are a few alternatives to hard cash, or having to use credit and debit cards? Sam Burlum discusses some of the more popular possibilities.
Individuals whom have lost faith in the traditional monetary system have been in search for other ways to exchange their goods and/or services for other desired needs and wants, using other platforms to be compensated for their wares. Since the housing bubble crisis in 2008, and the evolution of electronic software and secured purchasing platforms, Crypto Currency and Barter are on the rise. Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and OneCoin have gained popularity internationally as confidence in national currencies, such as the US Dollar, have been dwindling.
However, Crypto Currency is not alone in the competitive race to capture financial exchanges using other methods than paper money. Barter is on the rise, and has made a big comeback since the days of the 1930’s depression. Barter platforms have allowed for local businesses to exchange their services for items, goods, or services that particular business directly needs to grow its presence on Main Street.
Both Crypto Currency and Barter have their advantages, depending weather your business operates locally or internationally. A business or individual is not limited to just one platform, unlike paper money which is controlled by government institutions and banking interest. Crypto Currency and Barter are not a regulated security, unlike other formal exchanges of money. These platforms seem to be more self-regulating, where trade organizations help create and institute ethical standards in which how these new forms of trading can be utilized.
Crypto Currency such as Bitcoin or OneCoin are a platform which no real paper money that is exchanged. They are not regulated by the Federal Reserve, nor by any other banking institution. Bitcoin is an electronic digital currency, which a value of Bitcoin is exchanged for products and services, within a network of software that connects other users of bitcoin to each other. OneCoin works in similar fashion however OneCoin is backed by real and solid gold. These crypto currencies can only be utilized by other individuals within their respective network.
These two platforms have grown in popularity with companies that offer their products on a worldwide market. Apple for instance has begun to accept these different types of currency in exchange for products at their stores and online. Other businesses have begun to accept these types of currencies for payment include big box retailers (in selected markets), technology companies, and in areas where paper money may have little or no value. The largest demographic using these new currencies are Millennia and Z generation, since they are more in tune with e-wallet systems.
Barter on the other hand has a very strong presence with businesses located on Main Street, USA. Local businesses can trade directly with other businesses, and in some cases, with their customers, for items the business may need in order to grow. This reserves cash for things where barter may not be applicable such as rent, utilities, or payroll for employees. Barter has been around since mankind began to trade goods with each other, however Barter has reinvented itself a number of times and has taken on a new form in today’s market.
Platforms such as Badger Barter, allow for a business to engage in purchasing items for their business ranging from print materials and marketing collateral to property maintenance services and professional services. Trading credits can be used with any other business which is a Badger Barter Member, in exchange for products and/or services from over 600 participants. Credits can also be deposited in another account via the Badger Barter member services website. Businesses which have at least a 30% markup, or higher, on products and services are the most ideal fit for a barter system.
Furthermore barter has proven to even increase cash flow. For instance where a person visited a restaurant as a guest of someone who was a member of the barter platform, like the dining experience, they may return to that specific restaurant on their own accord (not being a barter member themselves) and would pay cash or credit for their meal. The restaurant then gains another faithful patron; from a situation it may have not before been able to reach that consumer.
Barter can also be utilized in exchanging hours of labor, thus “trading time” which is often done in small communities where “friends” and “neighbors” might rely on help from one another to complete a task. An example is the carpenter may need his car fixed yet may not have all the cash to pay the mechanic for their services, so the mechanic may trade his expertise in fixing the car in exchange for having the carpenter come over and fix up the garage door or renovate a closet at the home. Just about any type of product or service can be exchanged in a barter situation as long as two people agree upon it.
So which is better for you: Crypto Currency or Barter? It depends on your needs. If you are more localized with your business or individual needs, then a barter system may work better to your advantage. If your business is heavily invested in selling its products and services online, and services international orders, then a Crypto Currency may be more beneficial.
Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.