As conventional currencies struggle to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, citizens around the world are railing against traditional finance, and looking for new alternatives to cash.
In Europe, an Italian town has taken to minting its own currency in a bid to save the local economy.
Euronews reports that a town named Castellino del Biferno, in Southern Italy, has invested around USD 6,000 of central government handouts and the town council’s own savings into a local currency solution that includes printing watermarked “banknotes” for a new currency called the Ducati.
The council says the currency is pegged 1:1 with the euro, and is being produced at the town’s local printing shop. The council then issues the printouts to households in the town, with the needy receiving the largest number of Ducati notes.
The report states that the town’s mayor is the mastermind behind the Ducati, and had studied money minting “for 12 years.”
The mayor states that the move will “make sure the local economy can withstand the impact” of the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating effect on the town’s businesses.”
Bars, pubs and “three or four businesses” are currently still open in Castellino del Biferno.
Meanwhile, banks are (literally) under fire in Lebanon, where AP reports that angry citizens have taken to the streets to smash high street bank windows and set branches alight this week.
Disgruntled groups of mostly younger Lebanese citizens in Tripoli have clashed with police, while AP states that “Lebanese troops forcefully removed dozens of protesters from a major highway” outside Beirut. Protesters were undeterred and returned to the road later to block it with burning tires.
The Lebanese currency, the pound, has plummeted in recent weeks, while food prices have climbed. Lebanese national debt is among the highest in the world, and unemployment is also growing.
AP claims that one protester outside Beirut carried a placard that read,
“My salary buys me two cartons of milk.”
And it appears that conventional finance is the protesters’ focal point. The Central Bank has attempted to prevent a run on the pound by banning bureau de change outlets from selling dollars for over 3,200 pounds, a fact that has led to a de facto cessation of dollar sales around the nation.
“Several banks in northern and southern Lebanon were attacked, some with firebombs, reflecting rising public anger against banks.”
Learn more: People in Lebanon Can Only Get USD 100 a Week of Their Own Money
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