Tag Archives: crowdfunding

Phone-to-phone payments already bringing massive changes to Kenya

Try to imagine what your life would be like if you had no bank account, no credit or debit cards, and no cash, and on top of that, you lived in a country where poverty, crime, and corruption were rampant. I’ve never been there, but by many reports Kenya is just such a place. How do people cope?

As in other places, like India and Thailand, that I have visited, it seems that the majority of people in Kenya are micro-entrepreneurs who eke out a living by producing and selling products or services of some sort. And, like everywhere else, having a means for exchanging those goods and services and “paying” each other is crucial to survival.

Ultimately, as private currencies and moneyless exchange mechanism proliferate, we all will have numerous payment options.  The Bangla-Pesa project operating near Mombasa is one such model that is now being replicated in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya. But even technologies that only provide new ways of paying with national currencies are proving to be beneficial in many ways.

Kenya’s Safaricom company has led the world in implementing phone-to-phone payments with the M-pesa. All it takes is a text message from the buyer’s phone to the seller’s phone to make a payment. Almost everyone in Kenya has access to mobile phone service and they may draw cash from their accounts at any of the 45,000 independent agents scattered around the country.

A recent Business Week article documents the ubiquity of this payment mechanism and its positive effects in such diverse areas as security, renewable energy, crowdfunding, and economic development . You can read it here: Ten Days in Kenya With No Cash, Only a Phone.

When mobile phone payment systems include complementary currency options, the beneficial effects will be multiplied manifold. — t.h.g.

Revolutionary aid project set to spread in Kenya

On the heels of the successful Bangla-Pesa community currency project, the NGO, Koru Kenya has been asked by the government to create similar programs in other poor neighborhoods around Nairobi and Mumbasa. Unfortunately, no significant funding is being provided by the government, so private contributions are being solicited through a Crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo: Fight Poverty in Africa by Redefining Community Development.

This is a revolutionary approach to aid, one that empowers people to sustainably provide for their own needs. I strongly endorse this project and encourage all to make a financial contribution. Even small amounts can make a big difference. –t.h.g.

Spring Newsletter–Crowdfunding our work

2013 – Spring  Newsletter

In this issue:

Crowdfunding my 2013 Summer tour

Articles and Projects

  • New chapter with Prof. Jem Bendell is now published and online.
  • My new article in IJCCR.

Recent events & Presentations

  • Money & Life.
  • DEBTx prsentation

Crowdfunding my 2013 Summer tour

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been invited to the EU and UK for a multi-stop tour on the power of currency for people and communities. My itinerary is still evolving but so far I am slated for presentations, workshops and consultations in the Netherlands, Sweden, England, and Greece. I will be hosted for a few days by STRO (Social Trade Organization, then attend the 2nd International Conference on Complementary Currency Systems in the Hague, where I will make a presentation titled Reinventing Money: How Complementary Currencies and Mutual Credit Clearing Can Create a Sustainable, Regenerative Economy, and sit on two panels: The Future of Currencies, and another which will consider the legal and regulatory aspects of complementary currencies.

As you’ve probably noticed, travel is becoming increasingly expensive. The CCS organizers will be providing a travel allowance, but it will not be enough to cover even my trans-Atlantic flight, much less living expenses and travel to other stops on my tour. That is why I have launched a Crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help cover the costs of this tour. I need $4,000 to make it to all the places on the tour and cover the costs of food and lodging. I hope you’ll help me make that goal by going here: http://igg.me/at/tomstour/x/31801 and chipping in whatever you can. Please also help me get the word out and share the link with your networks! Thank you!

This is an investment in a sustainable future and, as Swami Beyondananda says:  “It’s time to shift our karma out of reverse and get our assets in gear.”

As a quick reminder, on my previous tour last October I gave a total of 15 presentations and workshops to various groups in three different countries. If you’d like a review, you can read my brief report of that tour on this site, here.  Your help with this Indiegogo campaign will make all the difference in building on that success and extending this good work to other communities in need! Here’s that link again: http://igg.me/at/tomstour/x/31801. Thanks in advance for your support in getting me to all these exciting engagements and spreading the word about the campaign!


Articles and Projects

Following our participation last October in the International Sustainability Summit at the European Sustainability Academy in Crete, Prof. Jem Bendell and I decided to collaborate on certain projects. One of these was to co-author a chapter for a new book, The Necessary Transition: The Journey towards the Sustainable Enterprise Economy, edited by Malcolm McIntosh. Our chapter titled, Currencies of transition: Transforming money to unleash sustainability, is now online and can be downloaded here. This chapter elaborates on topics I covered in the anthology, The Wealth of the Commons, which I announced previously. You can find that chapter on this site, here.

My newest article, Taking Moneyless Exchange to Scale: Measuring and Maintaining the Health of a Credit Clearing System, has just been published in the International Journal of Community Currency Research (IJCCR). Go here to download it. This article provides some very important guidance for operators and organizers of credit clearing systems like LETS and commercial trade exchanges. Please take the time to give it your attention.


Recent events & Presentations

In March, Katie Teague’s documentary film, Money & Life, in which I make an appearance, premiered in Tucson at the historic Fox Theater. That event also included short presentations by myself and Bernard Lietaer (with Jacqui Dunne). The mayor of Tucson, Jonathan Rothschild, was on hand to introduce us.

In April, I gave a presentation at the DEBTx conference that was held at the University of Michigan Law School. My presentation titled, Debt, Interest, and the Growth Imperative, was delivered remotely from Tucson via Skype, which worked very well. I’m told that the presentations were recorded and will soon be posted to the web, but I don’t yet have the link. It may appear at http://www.law.umich.edu/multimedia/Pages/default.aspx.


Finally, I’d like to remind you that if you sign up to follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll be notified every time I add a post to this site (which isn’t that often, so you won’t be overwhelmed). And please check out our campaign on Indiegogo. Your support will be greatly appreciated and all donations are tax-deductible through NEST, Inc.

Wishing you a pleasant Springtime,


How to protect your “nest egg” while making your communty more resilient

This podcast featuring Michael Shuman, Jenny Kassan, and Elizabeth Ü, is a “must watch.” It clearly explains the options available to savers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Crowdfunding Update – February 2013

Compiled by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

There are two fundamentally different but related aspects of the “money problem” that urgently need to be addressed. One is exchange problem, the other is the finance problem. Recent history has made it clear that in both realms, existing structures and institutions are serious flawed.

The exchange problem stems from the monopolization and misallocation of credit by the banking cartel and the perverse and improper issuance of political currencies (dollars, euros, pounds, yen, etc.). Solutions to the exchange problem are intended to provide liquidity, i.e., a means of payment, wherever it is needed so that markets can continue to function, so that producers can continue to sell and consumers can continue to buy despite the shortage or abusive issuance of conventional money.

The finance problem is the shortage of investment capital to small and medium sized and locally-owned business. That shortage stems from bank investment policies and preferences and government regulations that favor the channeling of everyone’s savings into corporate and government securities. Solutions to the finance problem seek to enable savers to directly allocate their savings to enterprises and projects that enhance the resilience and sustainability of their communities, provide real security, and contribute to the common good.

Decentralization, relocalization, and disintermediation are the emerging trends leading to a new economic paradigm. “Crowdfunding” is raising investment capital from large numbers of small investors. This may be in the form of donations, loans, or equity shares.

This is needed today because,

1. People (justifiably) do not trust banks and Wall Street,
2. People are looking for better returns than can be had from banks and the stock market,
3. People are looking for ways to protect their savings from inflation,
4. People are looking for ways to assure their access to basic necessities through direct ownership of enterprises that produce them.
5. People are seeking security by making their local community economies more resilient and sustainable.

Unfortunately, there are legal obstacles that currently limit those possibilities. The Jobs Act that was passed into law in April of 2012 is intended to remove some of those obstacles, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to act on its mandate to come up with new regulations that relax those restrictions.


Among the leading organizations in the field, and one of the best sources of information about funding options, is Cutting Edge Capital. Their mission is “to develop tools that will make it easier and more affordable for businesses and nonprofits to do legally-compliant community capital raising.” Their website is http://www.cuttingedgecapital.com. /

A very useful article from their website, authored by Nathan Hyun, is titled, The Direct Public Offering – The Original Securities-Based Crowdfunding Model. Here is the concluding paragraph.

Ultimately, the new crowdfunding exemption (when it becomes legal) will provide companies with another option for accessing securities-based capital from the crowd and it could prove even more exciting for those wishing to build platforms and tools to offer issuers. In the meantime, the original crowdfunding model, the DPO, continues to provide companies with an effective way to conduct a self-underwritten and self-administered public securities offering. If you are a small or medium sized business, startup or nonprofit and are looking to immediately raise capital from the crowd through a public securities offering, a DPO is presently your only option and may be the best option even when the new crowdfunding law goes into effect.

Several informational resources related to crowdfunding are listed below.


What is Crowdfunding and JOB’s Act?


This site provides a thorough overview of the present regulatory situation. It specifically states that, “Crowdfunding, or to be more specific, ‘equity-based crowdfunding’ is not yet legal.”


Crowdfunding Predictions for 2013

2012 was quite a year for the crowdfunding industry. In April, President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law, which will open up equity-based crowdfunding for unaccredited investors. In May, the Pebble E-Paper Watch set a crowdfunding record and gained national media headlines, raising over $10 million on donation-based crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Research firm Massolution estimates the crowdfunding industry (equity + donation + lending +reward crowdfunding) will grow from $1.5 billion in 2011 to $2.8 billion in 2012.

Complete article at:



4 Signs A Company Is NOT A Good Candidate For Equity Crowdfunding

1. The company is a tech company.

2. The company will need multiple rounds of financing.

3. The company is built on Intellectual Property, not brand.

4. The company is difficult to understand.

Read the entire article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/2012/10/16/4-signs-a-company-is-not-a-good-candidate-for-equity-crowdfunding/



Why 84% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped late




More About Legal Issues

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC updated its home page (http://www.sec.gov/), with info re: JOBS act (http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/jobs-act.shtml)

with a specific reminder

“On April 5, 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law. The Act requires the Commission to adopt rules to implement a new exemption that will allow crowdfunding. Until then, we are reminding issuers that any offers or sales of securities purporting to rely on the crowdfunding exemption would be unlawful under the federal securities laws.”



Selected sites





Propel Arizona


Propel Arizona is on the front page of the Arizona Republic business section on February 14, 2013. They did a good job of explaining what crowdfunding is, too.

Online version:  http://www.azcentral.com/business/arizonaeconomy/articles/20130213arizona-crowdfunding-propel-arizona.html





Other related articles

SEC uses JOBS Act to set up new roadblocks to crowdfunding

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/31/sec-uses-jobs-act-to-set-up-new-roadblocks-to-crowdfunding/#xOwOvdrWaKqW3Ysi.99

‘Rich Man’s Crowd Funding’