Alternate Currency Being Accepted Across Mid-Michigan

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 in Economic News

Source: NBC 25 Michigan

New types of money are popping up across Mid-Michigan and supporters say, it’s not counterfeit, but rather a competing currency called the Liberty Dollar (varying denominations of silver).

Right now, you can buy a meal or visit a chiropractor without using actual U.S. legal tender.  They sound like real money and look like real money. But you can’t take them to the bank because they’re not made at a government mint. They’re made at private mints.

“I sell three or four every single day and then I get one or two back a week,” said Dave Gillie, owner of Gillies Coney Island Restaurant in Genesee Township.  Gillie also accepts silver, gold, copper and other precious metals to pay for food.

He says, if he wanted to, he could accept marbles.

“Do people have to accept dollars or money? No, they don’t,” Gillie said. “They can accept anything they want or they can refuse to accept anything.”

He’s absolutely right.

The U.S. Treasury Department says the Coinage Act of 1965 says “private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash, unless there is a state law which says otherwise.”

That allows gas stations to say they don’t accept 50- or $100 bills after a certain time of day in hopes of not getting robbed.  A chiropractic office in Lapeer County’s Deerfield Township allows creativity when it comes to payment.

“This establishment accepts any form of silver, gold, chicken, apple pie, if someone works it out with me,” said Jeff Kotchounian of Deerfield Chiropractic. “I’ve taken many things.”

Jeff Kotchounian says he’s used this Ron Paul half troy ounce of silver to get $25 worth of gas from a local station.

While the government and banks don’t accept them, many others do.  So why is there interest in these competing currencies?  Is it just novelty or is there something deeper?

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