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Tuesday May 16, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Complementary currencies are a growing trend in Switzerland. The latest one is the Farinet & it joins the Isenau, Léman, bitcoin and others. All are legal tender.

The Swiss Canton of Valais introduced its new complementary currency on Saturday 13th May in the city of Sion.

Don't be surprised if you're handed a bank note called a Farinet.

It is legal tender, and is used alongside the national Swiss currency.

It comes in eight denominations 1,2, 5, 10, 13, 20, 50 and 100 - and has exactly the same value as the Swiss franc.
We wrote about it in February as the announcement was made - more here (6th February Post).
Around 500,000 bills will be put in circulation to encourage the development of the local economy and around 100 businesses so far from cafes, restaurants, shops to taxi firms and grocers, have already agreed to accept the currency.

The idea of a local currency is to help boost the economy.

By restricting its use to a limited geographical area it encourages shoppers to spend locally, and supports local businesses, producers and artisans.

The eight notes were designed by Adrien Thetaz, one side features a Valaisan mountain such as the Bietschhorn, whilst the other depicts a bird or a mountain animal like the Ibex or the traditional image of a St Bernard dog with a barrel round its neck.

For a bit of folk lore and colour behind the Farinet name.

The currency is named after Joseph Samuel Farinet the 19th Century Valaisan who was reputedly a rogue and counterfeiter.

He despised authority and was constantly on the run.

According to local stories, he was sheltered from the authorities by local people and in return he repaid their hospitality in counterfeit coins!

The locals knowing them to be fake accepted the coins which in turn became a valid currency and used for traded among the community.

Farinet Notes depicting Swiss wildlifeFarinet Notes depicting Swiss wildlife

Valais introduces the FarinetValais introduces the Farinet

A growing trend in complementary local currencies in Switzerland:
The mountain village of Les Diablerets launched its own local currency earlier this year known as the Isenau.

The standard circulation coin shown below is worth  CHF10.
There is also a silver commemorative coin CHF50, and a gold coin CHF500.

Its introduction was a fund raising initiative for the renewal of the Isenau Gondola and to support the finances of the troubled ski area.

The Isenau in Les DiableretsThe Isenau in Les Diablerets

More information on where to buy an Isenau and how to spend it here.

Jean-Marie Schlaubitz, a member of the Foundation for the Defence of Isenau’s Interests, talks to about local enthusiasm for the Isenau currency below. 

Another currency, the Léman, was launched in Geneva in 2015.
The Léman is the same value as the euro and can be used in more than 200 business in the Lac Léman region that includes Lausanne and France.
The intention again was to bolster the local economy with the introduction of The Léman notes.
In May 2016, the City Council of Zug city piloted the use of virtual currency allowing people to pay for municipal services using the bitcoin.
The maximum payment with the bitcoin was limited to 200 Swiss francs.  

The Southernmost Canton of Switzerland, Ticino, is also planning to issue its own local digital or virtual currency for everyday use.
As with the other complementary Swiss currencies the circulation will be region specific and the virtual Ticinocoin or TIC will be confined to the Ticino region. 
See the Farinet facebook page for more social media interaction or visit the Farinet website.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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