SoNantes is a complementary currency that will be launched in the 1st half of 2015 after consultations with the French Financial Services Authority (ACPR) in Nantes, France. This pilot project is an official partner of the CCIA project, with the support of the city of Nantes and the intercommunal structure Nantes Métropole. It is implemented by Crédit Municipal de Nantes (CCIA, 2012).
Inspired by the WIR Bank in Switzerland, the currency is a system combining both mutual credit between businesses (B2B) and trade between citizens and businesses (B2C). Companies can earn and spend the currency by negotiating their goods and services with other members of the network of companies, or by trading with individuals, up to a credit limit previously set by Crédit Municipal de Nantes. Citizens will obtain SoNantes by registering on the website SoNantes.fr and then exchanging euros for SoNantes or by receiving a portion of their salary in SoNantes. SoNantes is an all-digital currency.
SoNantes is an innovative tool available to citizens and local businesses to develop their business and boost economic development in the Nantes area.
Presentation of the Community
With a population of nearly 300,000 people, Nantes is the 6th largest city in France. The Greater Nantes area has over 800,000 residents. Nantes is located on the western end of the Loire, about 50 km from the Atlantic Ocean.
Organization and history
The currency will be operated and managed by Crédit Municipal de Nantes, which will create a branch exclusively responsible for SoNantes. This is a natural extension of its current mission, benefiting the local economy. Crédit Municipal de Nantes will use its nearly 200 years of experience in financial services to lead the project. It will develop and operate the payment system.
A Steering Committee, responsible for developing the SoNantes, was formed in 2012. It brings together the initiators: the city of Nantes, Nantes Métropole and the Chambers of Commerce, Trades and Crafts and Social and Solidarity Economy. The Steering Committee will be replaced at the launch of the currency in spring 2015 by a SoNantes users association. This association will be responsible for recruiting new members, assessing the economic and social outcomes, supporting the SoNantes Manifesto and upholding its values.
A business network is being set up to ensure that member companies benefit fully from the currency.
SoNantes is supported by the CCIA partnership and the following partners:
- The City of Nantes;
- The intercommunal structure Nantes Métropole;
- Crédit Municipal de Nantes
- The local Chambers of Commerce.
SMEs and the citizens of the Greater Nantes area are the key target groups.
Details of the currency
Function and unit of account
SoNantes is primarily intended to be a medium of exchange between businesses and consumers who are members of the network. The currency will be denominated in SoNantes (SN). Its unit of account is the euro: the purchasing power of one SoNantes (SN) is equal to one euro.
Issue – Guarantee
SoNantes will be an all-digital currency. Transactions will be performed on an online platform (market), via mobile applications and via a payment card used in merchant payment terminals. Participating companies cannot exchange euros against SoNantes: their accounts will fluctuate based on transactions in SN. The mutual credit will be guaranteed because there is a contractual system that will ensure that the funds can be recovered from member companies in the event of bankruptcy via a guarantee fund.
Consumers, also known as “individuals”, can exchange Euros for SoNantes at a rate of one to one. These euros are guaranteed in a sequestered account.
Taxation and Compliance
All transactions in SoNantes are part of the real economy. They give rise to payment of VAT and/or income tax or corporate tax under normal conditions.
To guarantee the system, companies pay one SN per month for 24 months to establish a guarantee fund to be used if a member company declares bankruptcy. The euros exchanged for SoNantes will be blocked in a blocked account. SoNantes cannot be converted back to euros.
Financing – Business Model
The SoNantes project is funded by Crédit Municipal de Nantes and the CCIA project. Subsequently, the contributions of member companies (sign-up fees and management fees in €, contributions to the guarantee fund in SN) will support the operation of SoNantes.
How does it work?
- A business or a citizen opens an account via sonantes.fr
- Companies open an account in SN with a balance of 0 SN.
- Companies earn or spend SN by engaging in transactions with other members of the network.
- The transactions are performed within upper and lower limits determined by Crédit Municipal de Nantes and implemented through its subsidiary SoNao, the technical operator of the local currency.
- Citizens (also known as individuals) obtain SN by exchanging euros via a bank card payment on sonantes.fr or by receiving a portion of their salary in SN after signing an agreement with their employer who is a business member of SoNantes.fr.
CCIA, 2012, SoNantes pilot currency, available on