New form of barter introduced in Summit County

Kathryn Turner
Summit Daily News

A new network of currency measured in hours, not dollars, has landed in Summit County.

The idea behind Mountain Hours is that people are the money, said Wayne Walton, one of the four creators, or “revolutionaries” of Summit’s new system.

“It’s organic, usury-free money,” he said. “Hours are a universal unit of value.”

Here’s how it works: one “mtnhour” is equal to $10 (There are four denominations: 1/10 hour, 1/2, 1 and 2). Local business owners agree to accept the currency, and are given 200 mtnhours right off the bat. The hours are then used at other businesses around Summit that accept the currency, thus encouraging local spending and keeping everything within the county. The money is debt and interest-free, Walton said.

“It’s basically to show people that they are the money, and since they are the money, they don’t have to rely on a private company called the Federal Reserve,” Walton said. “By virtue of controlling the monetary system, they finance the things that they value that keep us in servitude … there’s plenty of money circulating on Wall Street, but there’s not enough money circulating locally.”

Once people realize they are the money, they can have abundance, Walton said.

In only five weeks of operation, Walton has 34 businesses signed up. Every one that signs on gets its initial allocation of hours – and another every three months – and a marketing video, which is displayed on the mtnhours directory online. There is no cost to join, Walton said, since the local businesses and people are the money.

“At a very fundamental level, it’s completely changing the paradigm of what money really is,” he said.

The immediate goal is to make mtnhours a reliable currency within Summit – Walton would like to see residents be able to pay for all of their needs, like rent and food, in the county with hours – and the ultimate target is “a fundamental revolution in the control system that dominates mankind,” Walton said. In the current arrangement, “there’s always more debt and interest than there is money.”

Similar networks are already in place across the country, Walton said. Durango has Durango Hours, and there’s a new system sprouting up in Denver. Ithaca, New York has successfully used its local currency, Ithaca Hours, for 20 years. One of Walton’s fellow Mountain Hours founders recently used Summit’s new notes in the college town. And that’s the idea, Walton said – eventually, hopefully, hours will be traded more frequently throughout different areas in the country.

Stacey Matzke, owner of Altitude Mobile Windshield Repair, signed up because national money is in short supply.

“It’s a monetary thing,” she said. “This kind of adds to the pot a little bit.”

So far, she’s used the currency in Dillon at a pizza shop and thrift store, and her children accepted the hours at a lemonade stand. Matzke likes that the money stays locally.

“I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “I’m trying to get as many people on board as I can.”

For more information, or to sign up, go to

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