My brother-in-law runs an auto repair shop that opened a couple of years ago in a town of 30,000 in northwestern Georgia. He joined a “Barter Exchange” and this has lead more customers to him, and helped him buy meals and dentistry services. When I visited, we went to a Fudrucker’s for dinner and paid with “biz2biz dollars” (it is a franchise so the local proprietor has this flexibility). This local currency seems to be working like cryptocurrency these days.
As I understand it: this barter network has one of any type of service, so my brother in law is the only auto repair in the network.
My brother-in-law’s customers can pay for the labor with biz2biz dollars, but the tax and parts are paid with dollars. He builds up an account surplus and when he spends it, then the biz2biz organization takes a 10% fee. (This seems high to me, but the Visa system takes 3-5% for its service, so it is all relative).
Taxes are paid through 1099B forms filled out by the barter network.
My brother-in-law is happy with the system because he believes he is getting customers he would not otherwise get. He is hoping the network grows to include an orthodontist, but overall he is enthusiastic about the system.
This is the town that has more predatory lending stores than I have every seen, and two new micro-finance places opened on this sad strip in the last 6 months. I do not know if this barter network is a way out, but at least they have one member that is enthusiastic.