TradeQoin is a complementary currency launched in spring 2014 in the Netherlands by Qoin as part of the CCIA project. It is a trade network for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that facilitates the exchange of goods and services within the network’s members through the use of a digital currency: the TradeQoin. The scheme represents an innovation to traditional trade exchange networks because of improvements in governance, pricing models, marketing and roll out.
TradeQoin enables its members to conduct mutual transactions that help their business grow, find new customers and save euros at the same time. TradeQoin offers SMEs the availability of fast and cheap working capital as well as creating a market where SMEs are encouraged to develop additional business opportunities with each other.
The purpose of TradeQoin is to increase turnover, profitability and cash position of participating SMEs. The scheme is set to achieve this goal by combining marketing activity and a virtual currency. A crucial feature of the trade network is enabling participating businesses to take an advance on future trading and spend it, leading to other businesses in the network to increase their turnover that otherwise would not have occurred.
TradeQoin’s ultimate objective is generating resilient regions and vibrant SMEs.
TradeQoin has been researched, developed and launched by Qoin with the help of the following partners:
- DeAchthoeker: an alliance of entrepreneurs and professional organisations in ‘de achterhoek’ started to strengthen local trade.
- Seats2Meet: locations with flexible work- and meetingspaces for the self-employed. A venue to meet, work and cooperate.
TradeQoin has joined forces with the global industry association of trade networks: the International Reciprocal Trade Associations (IRTA). TradeQoin members can take advantage of this partnership through the fact that they have the opportunity to do business with all the trade networks associated to IRTA, and thus spend their TradeQoins in more than 125 trade networks worldwide irrespectively of the fact that their TradeQoins were earned in The Netherlands.
TradeQoin is made for all kinds of SMEs. The organisation defines them through E.U. terminology, by which SMEs are all those enterprises “employing less than 250 staff, having an annual turnover of less than €50M and a balance sheet of less than €250M”. Within this variety, TradeQoin especially seeks to attract businesses that are:
- Neat: those selling high quality goods and services;
- Financially sound: proving to be in good financial conditions;
- Keen on expanding their market share;
- Ethical, meaning that they are not involved in frauds.
Organisation and History
Before launching TradeQoin, the founders carried out extensive research on successes and failures of existing models of business-to-business trade currencies, which resulted in a deep understanding on how these could be advanced. TradeQoin is based on the outcomes of that research.
Function and Unit of Account
Issuance – Backing
TradeQoin operates exclusively as virtual currency. TradeQoin cannot be bought or sold, it can only be earned and spent. Participating businesses can earn TradeQoins by selling their products or services to other members via the online marketplace. Since the value of one TradeQoin equals one euro, pricing and bookkeeping is simple. Convertibility between euro and TradeQoin and vice versa is not allowed. Every transaction is registered on the online account of participants.
TradeQoin uses the Qoinware IT platform.
Taxation and Compliance
All transactions occurring in the TradeQoin network are part of the formal economy, thus are eligible for tax payment. For every transaction in TradeQoin, parties involved must declare and pay the applicable taxes in euros.
TradeQoin holds the following attributes:
- Tailor-made credit lines;
- Interest free credit – that must be cleared every 3 to 6 months;
- Demurrage fee of 1% per month – to stimulate spending, discourage hoarding and finance the risk of businesses not meeting the supplied network supplier credit;
- Guarantee fund, consisting of the demurrage fees – to cover possible defaulting businesses and bad debit.
How it works?
- Any business that opens an account in TradeQoin has a balance of 0 TradeQoins.
- TradeQoin can only be earned and spent by purchasing or selling products and services in the network. With each sale, the seller receives TradeQoin in his/her online TradeQoin account.
- Businesses with a positive TradeQoin balance can spend TradeQoin with the other members of the network.
- The mechanism used is similar to traditional double bookkeeping, which companies are used to. All balances together are equal to 0.
- Businesses participating in TradeQoin develop a preference for mutual transactions. As companies across the network can spend easier and faster (due to regional localisation of businesses), they will increase sales, increase profits and save euros. This also increases the mutual business confidence.