Frequently asked questions

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The Alternative Exchange Network Free Economy is a community that has been created by the Athens-based, non-profit organisation “Alternative Network”, which was established in March 2012. Greece is a country which has very skilled human capital, although the illequidity in the marketplace has prompted the creation of non-monetary, community-based sytems such as the Alternative Exchange Network Free Economy. Through this network and the free-economy.gr Web site, individuals and businesses are given the opportunity to exchange goods and services with each other and, at the same time, collectively and actively get involved in their communities through voluntary, grassroots, solidarity initiatives.

If you are know Greek, please watch the following video:

• What exactly are “Enallaktika” (“Alternatives”)?

It’s the communal currency of the network, used in our transactions. Each “Enallaktiko” (which means Alternative, in Greek) is considered to be equal to one euro. Therefore, a service worth, for example, EUR 100 can be provided through the network at 100 “Enallaktika”.
Probably the basic difference between the two is that the Euro (like every conventional currency) bases its reliability on the peoples’ trust in the financial system, while the reliability of the “Enallaktika” is based on the trust in the network and the people that make it.

• How can I register with the network?

First register with the free-economy.gr Web site, then fill in the relevant application form and give it to our representative. For details, visit the registration page with the network.

• How can I search for a service?

πεδία αναζήτησηςSearching is possible in many ways. Perhaps the easiest way is to go to the ‘Search service’ page. Then you can search for a service with up to 3 criteria: Profession, Area and Transaction mode (bilateral agreement, “Enallaktika” or euros).
You can also use a keyword for searching in the search field found at the top right corner of each page in the website. This field makes a search through the contents of all listed advertisements.

• How are bilateral transactions performed?

If interested, search through the Web site, find a service provider of interest and contact him/her. Responsibility for the transaction lies with the parties involved in the transaction and it can be the subject of a friendly agreement or a private contract.

• How are transactions performed in “Enallaktika”?

Through the free-economy.gr website the interested parties meet each other. The transactions in “Enallaktika” are performed through the website, when a member enters the “user name” of the payee and the amount of payment in the form shown below.
For your own safety there is a second step: As soon as a transaction is entered in the form, a confirmation e-mail message is sent to the E-mail address of the paying member. The member will have to click on a link contained in this e-mail message in order to confirm approval of the transaction. When this is done, the “Enallaktika” are transferred from one account to the other and both users are informed by e-mail that the transaction has been completed.
If you are familiar to Greek, please watch the following video:

• How safe is the Web site and my transactions?

securityAll pages related to sensitive data in the free-economy.gr website are encrypted with the SSL technology and the website has special precautions for protection against ‘attacks’.
Regarding payments: For users simply registered with the website who pay in Euros, payments are made through PayPal (which accepts credit cards too). Transactions in “Enallaktika” between the network members are performed after confirmation at their e-mail address.
So, even if someone could guess the password you use for logging-in in the website, he/she would also have to access your e-mail address to complete the transaction. (For obvious reasons, you should choose passwords which are hard to be guessed by thirds).
Additionally,
1)
daily backups of the whole website are saved in two independent servers, and
2)
two additional backup copies of each transaction are kept after every transaction (also in two independent servers).

• How is the reliability of the transactions between the members’ accounts guaranteed?

Through their profile in the website, all network members can instantly access the detailed report of their transactions,three-member committee their available sum for purchases and other details related to their account (balance, credit limit, guarantors, etc.)
Add to this, that an annual audit of transactions is performed by a three-member committee elected by the full members. This committee can access the necessary information about all transactions in order to check accounts for eventual irregularities. Also, every network member can at any time request a non-scheduled audit. The audits’ findings are uploaded in the website. Please see Article Z7 of the Network’s Rules of Procedure.

• Does the currency exist in a physical form?

No. If such a thing is deemed meaningful and safe in the farther future, we may review the issue.

• What are the differences between the various types of network membership?

μέλη εναλλακτικού δικτύουThere are three types of members: assistant members, probation members and full members. All three can make transactions in “Enallaktika”.
The main differences between them are:

Assistant members: They are not entitled to a credit account, which means that they cannot receive more than what they have already offered to the community. At the moment of registration their account is credited with 100 “Enallaktika”, which they can use to receive services or products by any network member of their choice. Since they are not entitled to a credit, assistant members must have offered these 100 “Enallaktika” to the community in some way or another. This is done through their registration fee, which (in the case of assistant members) costs 100 €. This amount is used for the operating cost of the network. The reason why the registration fee for assistant members is not lower, e.g. EUR 20 (which means a credit of 20 “Enallaktika” in their account), is that this could result in an en masse registration of assistant members which would then lower the average liquidity in the network to 30-40 “Enallaktika” and finally hinder transactions.

Probation members and Full members: They are entitled to a credit account. Registration for probation members and full members costs EUR 20 and brings a credit of 20 “Enallaktika” to their account. They also receive a credit limit of 250 “Enallaktika”, which means that upon registration they can ask for services worth a total of 20+250=270 “Enallaktika” and of course they are bound to offer their services when asked. Additionally, the more active they become by offering their services, the higher the credit limit they are given (which can climb to 2000 “Enallaktika”).guaranteers
In order to become a probation member or a full member, you need to get two full members as guarantors, according to the graphic.

Full members: They enjoy additional benefits like acting as guarantors for new members, voting for change of rules etc.
For more details, consult the Network’s Rules of Procedure.

• Can I become a network member even if I don’t know any of the existing members?

Yes, you can register as an Assistant member. Ideally, after we get to know you and make sure that you are an active and reliable member, you should find two guarantors and become a Probation member and, ultimately, a Full member acquiring all the additional benefits of the network and increasing the liquidity of the community.

• What happens if a member asks for services, receives credit (i.e. owes the network community) and then fails to offer services or products in return for his/her received services?

In that case, after a period of three euro scaleyears, the member ought to repay in Euros the services he/she received by paying the equivalent amount to the community’s treasury (which then covers the community’s operating cost). In this way, a member can meet his/her obligations, even if two years have elapsed without having repaid the community with his/her services or products. This measure makes the continuous use of the network most advantageous: Every service or product received is possible to be repaid either by services and products offered, or in euro after three years (in the worst case). And, no interest on top of it!
If the member refuses to repay this amount, he/she is expelled from the network for ever and each half of the amount owed is transferred to the account of each of the two members who acted as guarantors for his/her registration. (See more in Articles D and E of the network’s Rules of Procedure).

• What happens if I offer my services to a member of the network and he/she refuses to pay me?

If you want to be safer, especially for large amounts, we suggest you ask for an advance payment or require progressive payment in the course of your work. The responsibility for each transaction lies with the parties involved. In other words, just as the Central European Bank (which issues Euros) is not liable for not getting paid in Euros for a job you did, neither is the network accountable in the case you don’t get paid for the services / products you offered.
Please note that the network has yet one more safety valve: You can contact us to lodge a complaint against this event. If five full members conclude that a member is unreliable, they can request the member’s definitive expulsion from the network, according to Article E2 of the Network’s Rules of Procedure.

• How can I be sure that a person asking for my services is indeed a member of the network?

The simplest way is to ask for a small down payment. If this person is an actual member of the network, he/she should be able to pay it.

• Is there a subscription fee for membership?

No. After your registration you can be a life member without having to pay anything.

• Then, how is the operating cost of the free-economy.gr website and the network covered?

The operating cost is partially covered by the registration fees, a 2% commission on transactions in “Enallaktika” and an annual fee of 6 “Enallaktika” for each advertisement appearing in the website. Find more details in the invoicing webpage and in Article F of the Network’s Rules of Procedure.

• I live in an area of Greece where there are no network members yet. Is there any point in registering?

Probably not, unless you offer some “remotely offered” service which is of interest to existing members (e.g. hotel services, translations etc.) and, at the same time, you wish to receive services from registered members, even though they are far from your place.
Another suggestion is to propose the organization of a local ‘nucleus’ of members to your friends, who can join the network and make transactions through it. In that case, you can contact Mr. Dimitris Mouroulis on +30 210 671 1510 or +30 697 320 5032 to assist you in this organisation.

For information, please contact us:
+30 210 671 1510 and +30 697 320 5032 (Mr. Dimitris Mouroulis)
+30 210 721 3015 and +30 694 255 9399 (Ms Charalambia Boleti)
Registered office: 7, Platonos Street, Neo Psychiko, GR-154 51 Athens, Greece.

Ερωτήσεις
The translation of this Web page was offered by BasilTsagkalos, a network member, in exchange for “Enallaktika”.

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