# Switzerland Today

Pay council bills and buy with farinets, the Valais local currency

Sion City Council has approved plans to make the Valais local currency, the farinet, legal tender in the canton's capital from 15 October. "At first, the public will be able to use farinets for payments at the municipal police counters, the contrĂ´le des habitants (inhabitants control office), the swimming pools, the skating rink and the Tourbillon Snow Garden (ski lessons excluded)," the local administration said in a statement.

A farinet is worth one franc and will be accepted at this rate by the City of Sion, as in the 200 Valais shops that use it. More than 180,000 farinets are in circulation. They can be obtained from nine exchange offices, including in the tourist offices of Sion, Martigny, Monthey, Saillon, Sierre and the Museum of counterfeit money in Saillon.

The council president Philippe Varone says: "All over the world, local currencies are created to boost local trade. And that's exactly Farinet's goal. The city, by its central role, can serve as an accelerator in the dissemination of this complementary currency in Valais. It is a concrete commitment to the regional economy."

Local councillor David Crettenand says the decision will relaunch the local currency. "The commitment of the City of Sion will greatly facilitate circulation of the local currency. This should encourage other partners to join us. The Farinet [Steering Committee] encourages collaborations and contacts between local producers, traders and consumers. But the difficulty is always to create a real circuit in the use of the money. The City will play the role of catalyst here."

The farinet, available in notes from 1 to 100 francs, has been circulating since mid-May 2017. The canton's financial services collect the farinets used and reinject them into the local economy.

A digital farinet may be available soon. A private business has just received approval for an experiment from the City Council. "Our city is focused on innovation. We could be the first public authority to test a regional cryptocurrency, and serve as a laboratory," said Philippe Varone.