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DeKalb County community to launch its own local currency

The force behind the effort in Stonecrest says it's completely legal as long as U.S. currency isn't counterfeited.

STONECREST, Ga. — Multiple communities throughout the world have issued their own currency by working with banks and other institutions, and it's typically at a fixed rate to the country's currency. Now a DeKalb County community will do the same. 

The Continental Congress authorized U.S. currency in 1775, but a new form of local currency will come into color in Stonecrest.

“So many people may be shocked to know that it's not illegal to make your own money, so to speak, as long as you're not counterfeiting U.S. currency," said Kwabena "Cubby" Nkromo, who's leading the effort.

Nkromo, who is with Stonecrest Sustainable Enterprises, is working with the Schumacher Center for a New Economics for Stonecrest to have its own currency.

“I thought it'd be great to call it ‘the Granite’ because Stonecrest and many of the other towns in this area, Stone Mountain, Lithonia, are all beholden on to the quarry industry that used to be on the dominant economic driver in this area," Nkromo said.

Stonecrest's currency will be modeled after BerkShare's local currency in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. The currency will look similar with colorful notes in four to five denominations. 

“That currency has proven itself an effective tool to connect citizens there with their businesses and to circulate the wealth within that community and to stimulate economic development," Nkromo said. 

Several small business owners in Stonecrest already said they want to cash in on the idea. 

“I thought it was a really good idea. When you think about having your own currency and the circulation of it and keeping tabs on what’s coming and what’s going, I was really excited, especially as a farmer," said Musa Hassan, owner of Bread and Butter Farms. 

Toya Randle, owner of T'ea Moss Gel, had the same feeling.

“I was excited to hear about it. It’s exciting news for our area to have our currency. We can circulate our own dollars, and we can share and grow amongst each other," Randle said.

Nkromo plans to create an electronic version of the currency for people to pay at businesses in Stonecrest. The business owners must choose to accept the local currency, so you won't be able to use it everywhere. 

"It’s also a way to save costs, and to make it more convenient for people," Nkromo said. 

The goal is to launch the local currency in about six months.

An educational workshop on the currency will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 25 via Zoom. To register, e-mail info@Cubby4Stonecrest.org. You can also call or text (404) 721-3992 for more details.