Gift Currency


A new project called datti is offering a way to build gift economies on a community level by witnessing and memorializing gift transactions using beautiful, pewter coins.  Inspired in part by the work of Charles Eisenstein, the creators of the datti have designed a special pewter coin that functions like “money in reverse,” or as a pay-it-forward token, inspiring future gifts to flow in all directions.

The organizers explain it like this: If a person gathers a bag of food from her vegetable garden and gives it to you as a gift, along with this gift she may give you a datti.  You now have this coin, and it is your turn to give a gift.  You may choose what to give based on another person's need, or you may choose something based on your own art, craft, or inspiration.  When you have chosen your gift, you give it away to a new person and pass the datti along with it.  In this way, the coin travels from person to person riding along with unique gifts.

In order to help spread the reach of this special currency, the datti organizers are currently offering to provide a mold and instructions to anyone interested in making coins. Pewter was chosen as a raw material because it is inexpensive to acquire new or in used materials (look for food-grade pewter bowls or cups), and its melting point is very low compared to other metals (about 338–446 °F).  All one needs is fire, a pot, pewter, and the mold.

The Datti Project is also looking for interested parties with coding skills to help build an electronic mutual “gift-credit” clearing system based on the datti, integrated with Chrome/Google+/Facebook.  This project will expand the witnessing of gifts, such that anyone could see what gifts have been given and to whom, with the ultimate goal of helping to circulate and increase value between people or businesses without any money supply to regulate.  If you or someone you know is interested in refining the concept and helping build the electronic application, please contact the organizers at

Those interested in supporting the creation and circulation of the datti gift currency may donate pewter toward the creation of datti coins, or regular currency (via a Paypal button at the datti website) which can be marked to go toward app development/hosting or raw materials for coins - a kind of currency conversion!

If you receive a datti, take the time to choose a special gift, then pay it forward.