I got notice of the Ponderay, Idaho Police issuing a warning concerning the use of ALD in their jurisdiction. They must have missed the notice from the Federal Reserve that there is no crime being committed when people offer and accept alternate currencies as payment.
The retailer in question also apparently neglected to look at the currency itself, or they might have noticed the very obvious contact information on the reverse that would have allowed them to contact a local resource and redeem the silver for federal reserve notes if they mistakenly accepted the silver in payment.
nor can they be accepted at banks
That’s the quote from the article that gets me. The banks could, in fact, accept them. Some banks do. Most of them don’t because they refuse to offer them in change, legitimizing someone else’s private currency. This reminds me of Bernard’s comment on the subject from a few years ago:
He (a banker) asked me “what am I supposed to do with these?” I said, “well you could just put them in the cash drawer and offer them in change.” He thought for a moment, then said (horrified) “no, we couldn’t do that”
So, those of us who deal in the alternative currencies have to just work around the bank obstacle. Once again a furor over being given something of value when what the business wanted was a worthless piece of paper. I remain baffled.
I wasn’t baffled at all. Not really. Retailers don’t want to hassle with cash in the first place. Not anymore. That they do it at all is because the customers want to use cash and they are required to accept transactions in legal tender, which federal reserve notes are. If they had their way they would conduct all business electronically. Much less of a headache.
The real culprit here isn’t the retailer, it is the marketing strategy espoused by Bernard in all of his videos. People were told that the silver could be used “just like money.” In the early documentation he referred to it as currency, a strategy that he was forced to change when the treasury objected to the allusion that private money was current money or the money of the realm, legal tender. As I say frequently on this blog words do have meanings, and it is important to know what those legal definitions are when you start making what amounts to a legal argument.
Even abandoning claims that the coins or medallions or rounds or whatever euphemism you want to come up with to cover the barter instrument you are trying to trade, even abandoning all claims other than that you are free to barter with a merchant for a fair price for his goods, the merchant is still left with having to store the silver securely somewhere if he allows trades for it. Unless you explain this to the merchant in advance, you haven’t fully informed them of the liabilities of accepting the trade. If you don’t explain it, then you have the kinds of problems that merchants everywhere have when accepting trades in unfamiliar money. They don’t know what to do with it other than to trade it for something else. This is not the kind of activity that makes your accountant happy.
Every coin that I traded with merchants I tried to follow up on later, just to see what they thought a few days or weeks afterwards. Followed up to see if they wanted to trade them back or to put out the sign saying they wanted more. Some of them did want dollars they could put in the bank, and I took the coins back with no hard feelings. Most of them did not. It was like a souvenir. Something to hide under the cash drawer to take out and look at later.
This is not currency in any practical sense. In the end, that is the downfall of all of these hard money strategies. The downfall of the gold standard itself. No one wants the hassle of tracking and trading them, but they sure look nice sitting there under lock and key.