Bootstrappers Reinvent Business-Barter

A group here in Austin called the “bootstrap network” (with a rough mission to enable small companies and entrepeneurs to partner with eachother) is launching something they’re calling a “complimentary currency” system to facilitate and formalize this kind of business barter and “in kind” payment for services. And they’re using OpenID in some way to facilitate the whole system. Right now the scope is limited to Austin but it sounds like something that could easily be exported. Very cool and potentially revolutionary stuff.

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5 Comments on “Bootstrappers Reinvent Business-Barter

  1. It is a very cool idea, though not revolutionary. Complimentary currency is a broad term that can describe anything from “unofficial” currencies like the Liberty Dollar ( to your airline miles. The example you are talking about is a reciprocal trade or barter exchange. These have existed around the world in many forms and in some countries are widely known and recognized (see Bartercard in Australia). In the U.S. barter exchanges are growing in popularity among business owners looking to augment their cash sales with additional barter revenues. I work for BizXchange (, a barter exchange in Seattle and San Francisco. You can find more info on the industry and find a list of all barter exchanges at

  2. Every small business should take a look at using this business tool to insure greater financial security. As a member of a trade (barter) exchange, the business owner opens up the door to another currency which can be used to buy needed goods and services. We have been publishing a magazine on the subject since 1979. It’s a growing trend worldwide.

  3. Worth noting: this originally caught my eye because enabling this kind of partnership between small business is one of the things we aspire to do with Mobile Monday — just not in such a systematized way. Great to hear there are other “complementary” projects out there as well. Another touted benefit of the complementary currency system put in place by the boot-strappers is the fact that such exchange of services is not taxable. I wonder though: has anyone tested this assumption? Is there a legal basis for this view, and if so, in what jurisdictions is it valid/not valid? For example, could such an arrangement cross international boundaries?

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