Circles aims at becoming a means of payment and/or a means of exchange so people can freely decide how much they want to charge for the fruits of their work. But remember: the value of money comes from its social life, or its flow within a territory.
There are countless creative ways in which Circles can be used. Below we outline a few pricing and payment examples that might help you in deciding how to spend your Circles. Note that this list is not exhaustive but merely a guideline which will expand as new experiences emerge.
The Mirror: If you do not know how much to charge people for something in Circles, one option is to see what the price of your product is currently in say, € or Pesos and mirror that price in Circles. Copying the unit of account (USD, Euro, etc) is an easy framework for people to know what to charge. In the initial iteration of Circles, there is a daily issuance of 8CRCs. Because fiat currencies have different inflations levels, we expect that in the future people will either create their own parameters to fit their local area or have some sort of exchange rate between CRCs and their national currency.
Co-payment: You want to buy a beer at your favorite bar. The owner of the bar is your friend and nice enough to accept Circles, as long as you also co-pay with fiat money as well (Euro, USD, etc). So, for example, if your locally brewed beer of choice is 3€, you could add an extra 3 CRCs and make your payment using both monies. Alternatively, the bar owner could ask you to pay the cost of the beer in fiat money (e.g. 1.5€) and the rest in Circles (1.5CRCs). Whatever the bargain is, co-paying in two currencies allows people to have more disposable income (whether in fiat money or in circles), which they can then use to buy supplies or whatever else they wish (see the Merchant Network). Another way to co-pay is to get businesses to accept Circles after a threshold payment in fiat money. For example, when people buy more than 5 USD worth of bread, they can also pay in Circles.
Donation or Spende: You want to go to the community kitchen near your neighborhood to have some warm soup and meet with your friends for the afternoon party. Usually, the organizers of the community kitchen set a range of recommended prices so people have an idea of how much to pay. Spende refers to the practice of paying what you can for the food and events you attend, without a fixed enforced price. This is a very nice community practice as it allows people with different economic means to participate and pay what they can without shame. If you don’t have the means to pay with € and the community kitchen trusts you, you could use Circles for spende. The community accepts it because they trust you and know that they can use the CRCs you gave them to later buy food or other stuff they needed to make the event happen. Alternatively, you could also mix payment methods and co-pay your spende in both € and Circles.
Gifts and Counter-gifts: We give gifts all the time. Gifts help us in supporting our social life, whatever that may be, without the need for the assumption of the maximizing individual. For example, you can spend your Circles on buying a gift for a friend. She can later reciprocate with a counter-gift, buying something for Circles in the network and giving it to you as a birthday gift.
Unproductive Expenditure: Life is not a utilitarian process. People often produce more energy expenditure in their lives than what they need for their subsistence. The surplus is either taken by others in the form of exploitation or used by people in things that go beyond the world of work: laughter, love, tears, mourning the dead, art, taking care of stuff. Because we aim at creating a basic income from the bottom-up, we believe it's important to create a general economy that takes practices that are not seen by capitalism into account and give them value. Whether you want to support the work of an artist, help the ones you love or simply sacrifice your tokens of value for any social ritual, Circles can be used for expenditure without the need of “being productive”.
Reproductive Labor: The production of stuff cannot exist without the social reproduction needed to make it happen. Taking care of ourselves, of other people, plants and animals is actually where the economy (understood as household or oikos) begins. But today, our systems of production do not account for these practices and are subsidized by the reproductive work done by many without remuneration (majoritarily women). Circles aims to facilitate a different money for a different economy with different values, one which redistributes and delegates the work needed to take care of each other and the planet.
Say you are leaving town and need somebody to take care of your plants and pets. You ask your good friend for help and use Circles as a token of care for payment. Your friend can then use the tokens you gave him and go to the local shop to buy food. Or, perhaps, your partner and you want to have a night out and need somebody to babysit your child. You can, for example, ask your very trustworthy babysitter and co-pay her in both your national currency and Circles, money which she can then use to pay for a workshop in social work, to pay the rent or anything else she might need. The point is to organize caring circles where these values can live, by spending CRCs in the things you want to see in society.