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IPFS News Link • Currencies

No Cash Needed - The Revival of Bartering

• Justin Martin for

Because so many swaps are informal, the size of the small business barter economy is hard to gauge. But Bob Meyer, publisher of Barter News in Mission Viejo, Calif., was willing to take a crack at it. Meyer estimates that 1 million small businesses are involved in barter, either informally or through exchanges, with a volume of transactions approaching $20 billion annually. This figure combines the $10 billion that IRTA attributes to exchange trades with Meyer's conservative estimate that informal barter accounts for another $10 billion.

Typically, bartering activity spikes during economic downturns. Meyer expects the total volume of U.S. barter transactions to grow 10% this year (historically the annual growth rate has hovered around 5%). "Right now many small businesses