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Philadelphia Returns to Wampum Currency to Combat ‘Cashless’ Retail

PHILADELPHIA, PA – This old school, physical currency might be the next wave of a more egalitarian economy in the City of Brotherly Love. Amid the trend of ‘cashless’ coffee shops and retail rising in the the United States, Philadelphia has authorized the use of wampum, shell beads traditionally used by Iroquois Nations for social and commercial transactions, as legal tender that must be accepted throughout the city.

Some business owners have balked at the return to the ancient currency based on the welk and quahog shells of the East coast is regressive and futile in the face of ever-present digitalization, but city officials defend the policy as a positive step for basic economic fairness.

“I know it may be a little tough for hipster baristas to look up from their iPad to take money from customers,” says Mayor Jim Kenny, “but not everyone, especially poor Philadelphians, have access to electronic or even traditional banking; how are the homeless supposed to purchase a $6 coffee? These white and purple shells ubiquitous to the region and any enterprising citizen can just get them from the beach.”

The new law goes into effect July 1st and although hailed as a harbinger of inclusionary policy for low-income individuals, some insist it isn’t far enough. “Real progress,” insists City Councilman Tony D’Nofrio, “is the complete institution of a communal barter system. ‘You have a an overpriced salad and cold-brew coffee, I have the ability to optimize your Squarespace SEO and some tiny tchotchkes’ I think we can work this out together so that everyone wins.”

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