It's not a new concept—experts estimate there are at least 2,000 local currencies all over the world—but it is a practice that tends to burgeon during economic downturns. During the Great Depression, scores of communities relied on their own currencies.
And it's completely legal.
As long as communities don't create coins, or print bills that resemble federal dollars, organizations are free to produce their own greenbacks—and they'd don't even have to be green.
Well, it's not entirely legal—not all of the time, anyway. Just ask the folks who used to make and distribute Liberty Dollars.
The Milwaukee effort seems to be more about encouraging local business than taking a stand against the injustice of the federal monopoly on currency. But the opportunities for punning are excellent, given that the city's NBA team is the Bucks:
"Here's your latte, sir. That'll be three Milwaukee Bucks, please."
Read reason on alternative currencies in Argentina, too.
UPDATE: Because it's Friday.