The Dam platform was started by seven independents in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Dam Foundation was established in June 2013 and Dam was launched publicly on 1 August 2013. In the first six months, 220 accounts were activated, 80% of them being local enterprises. Dam is entirely virtual; there are no coins and no notes. Payments are made online and by smartphone app. Account holders can advertise the goods and services they provide, and place ads for what they are looking for themselves. Dam stands for ‘De alternatieve munt’, which is Dutch for ‘The alternative currency’.
Dam is an online trading platform that provides enterprising Rotterdammers with a useful and durable alternative to the euro.
‘Dam’mers’ extend interest-free credit to each other, so that they have more to spend on essentials for their businesses. The alternative currency creates more financial independence, turnover and prosperity. Dam is the signal that there is another way.
Looking ahead, by 2018 the people of Rotterdam will be accustomed to using different currencies alongside one another. Dam is then known as a stable method of payment, which prides itself on its transparency and is popular due to its system of granting interest-free credit.
The alternative currency will be used by businesses and individuals for buying what they need: everything from the daily groceries and a beer in the pub to printed materials and the services of a book-keeper.
Community: as broad and diverse as possible in order to build a parallel economy, driven by the mutual credit possibilities Dam offers. Greater Rotterdam area in principle.
Organisation and History
The Dam is run by a group of 7 people, all business owners or self-employed professionals, with diverse and relevant backgrounds (Banking, IT, Legal, Societal Transitions, Marketing, PR). Most of the skills and knowledge required can be found within the group, and are otherwise sourced from the Dam network. Dam is self-funded, with no subsidies from local governments or other stakeholders.
At the start of 2014, Dam is becoming well-known in Rotterdam. The number of users, number of transactions and transaction volume are growing significantly. Dam has had media coverage in the most important national and local media (printed, online and radio). Members of the Dam team are frequently asked to provide talks and speeches at business events, schools and universities.
Dam is a mutual credit system with a trading platform where account holders can advertise their goods and services. There is no interchange with mainstream currency. Currently, there are no entrance fees and no subscription fees. There is a fixed transaction fee comparable to the fee charged by Dutch banks and a demurrage of 1% to encourage trade.
The system in numbers
Six months after the public launch, 220 accounts had been activated and this continues to grow significantly. The number of active users and transactions is growing exponentially.
Function and Unit of Account
Issuance – Backing
Backed by real economic transactions. No mainstream currency backing.
Taxation and Compliance
Written ‘declaration of no objection’ by Dutch National Bank (DNB). Dam is not a bank in the legal sense. There are no special tax agreements. Account holders are advised to treat Dam exactly as they do the euro.
Demurrage (%) and transaction fee (fixed).
Funding – Business Model
In terms of euro expenditure, Dam operations are kept as lean and mean as possible. First year euro budget: €3,500.
The transaction fee and demurrage provide income for the system.
How does it work in practice?
People open an account online by completing an application form and transferring 1 eurocent to the Foundation’s bank account, as an identity check. Business owners also provide their Chamber of Commerce registration number. Once the application details have been checked, the account is opened. Account holders can begin trading immediately.