Towns in other countries hammered by the pandemic have taken similar measures.

The Italian town of Castellino del Biferno (population 550) started printing a local currency called the Ducati in April.

In Mexico, the town of the Santa Maria Jajalpa (population about 6,000) has created a new currency, “jajalpesos,” that residents can use to buy local food.

Historically, there’s a strong connection between hard times and the emergence of “community currencies,” visiting Boston University professor Jim Stodder told the Washington Post. “Any time we have a serious downturn in which people are short of money, these things tend to pop up,” he said.

Usually, they stick around for a few years or less and then die out. But some live on. Most notably in the U.S. a community currency called BerkShares has been used in western Massachusetts since 2006.

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