Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

What is the difference between bartering and a trade exchange?

A traditional barter group is a collection of Merchants who actively trade goods and services directly with one another.  A trade exchange comes into play as a way to monitor the barter network and help to facilitate easier trade and access to more Merchants by using some sort of script (currency) to track what is owed between Merchants.  A trade exchange generally charges monthly or yearly maintenance fees and exchange fees.  The AOCS bridges both the ideals of a traditional barter group and the roles of a trade exchange.  The AOCS provides Silver Currency as a medium of exchange but does not charge fees or commissions for spending or accepting the Currency.

What does the AOCS actually do?

The AOCS exists to expedite the implementation of Silver as money.  The AOCS is a temporary bridge between the world of government-imposed fiat currencies and a free market system where commodities and other stores of value are actively traded in the MarketPlace.  An ultimate goal is to see goods and services once again priced in ounces, grams or grains alongside variable “paper” prices.

Its role as an independent barter association serves to bring together Merchants who wish to participate in a private, voluntary exchange with one another.  The AOCS manages the Merchants of the marketplace, the Community Trade Coordinators who are the direct contact with the local community and the AOCS-approved Currencies that are used as a medium for tracking the bartering of goods and services.

What does AOCS stand for?

AOCS stands for the American Open Currency Standard, and we are the Standard for Honest Trade.

Is the AOCS a Multi-Level-Marketing scheme?

A typical MLM scheme aims to gain money simply through sign up fees from people who sign up and “join” the association.  The AOCS has no requirements for individual involvement: you can do business with our Merchants, purchase AOCS Approved products, and be a part of our community without any cost. People who wish to join the AOCS team as a Community Trade Coordinator are required to purchase 100oz of Silver before they are officially recognized.

Why precious metals as a currency? Why primarily Silver (and why not primarily Gold)?

Precious metals are often referred to as REAL money.  Historically, every paper currency backed by nothing has failed.  By exchanging Silver in the marketplace, people are dealing with Currency of REAL value and worth.  Precious metals are inflation proof and can be spent virtually anywhere.  As opposed to Gold, Silver is easier to implement as Currency because its value is much smaller and more practical to use in the marketplace.

How is the AOCS better than other barter networks?

Zero Costs:  The AOCS operates as an asset to the Merchant at absolutely no cost.  This means no membership fees, no commissions for accepting or spending Silver, and the freedom to make your own terms for accepting.  Typical barter networks charge a 5-10% fee for accepting and spending their exchange on top of charging monthly or yearly membership fees.

Real Value:  AOCS Silver has value in, out and without the network.  When other barter networks cease operations or the merchants decide to stop accepting their exchange, that trade money becomes worthless.  If you can’t spend it, it isn’t worth anything.  Silver will always have value, whether anyone chooses to accept it or not.

Preferred Business:  Silver is preferred.  Customer transaction are no longer treated as “second-rate” and prices are not over-inflated because of the “worth-less” trade drafts.

Unlimited Network:  Silver is valid anywhere a merchant understands the value of REAL money.  It’s far easier to explain the value of pure Silver than an accrued credit on some barter ledger.

How does the AOCS make profit?

The AOCS makes a small one-time profit from the sale of AOCS Approved medallions.  Once Silver Currency is introduced to the marketplace, the AOCS does not benefit from its circulation in any way.  Rather, the AOCS continues to provide services to Merchants in the network to promote AOCS-Approved businesses in hopes to sell AOCS Currency to new customers thus creating more profit.

Is the AOCS legal?

What AOCS does is not mandated by the US government, but then neither is survival. The short answer is that what the AOCS does is not illegal. In fact, it might be argued that the handing over of control of the nation’s money to a private central bank is in direct contradiction to what was made policy by our founding fathers in the US Constitution. This guiding rule book for operating this great experiment in freedom is an excellent framework limiting the power and authority of the federal government and placing that power firmly in the hands of the people. There is no law expressly forbidding the minting of silver or gold rounds. There are statutes called “legal tender law” that prohibit the creation of a currency intended to directly compete or counterfeit US government currency.

The questions you may want to ask yourself is: will I wait for permission to survive? To be productive? To insist on fair exchange for the wealth I produce?

How does the AOCS differ from the Liberty Dollar?

The American Open Currency Standard can be summarized as the “Liberty Dollar system on steroids!”  What does this mean?  The AOCS has taken the LD concept and provided a better “back-bone” structure and opportunity for growth.  One way that they have done this is by establishing the standard of “AOCS-Approved.”  This standard has allowed multiple Currencies to be established in the network so long as they adhere to specific criteria.  Also, unlike the LD, the AOCS has developed trade exchanges with other barter groups, growing the network at an exponential rate and allowing AOCS Currency to be spent with virtually any barter Merchant.

The AOCS is a decentralized network, allowing anyone to create a Silver Currency.  When they follow the 2 guidelines (use an approved Mint, and reference the current “Series C” valuation or no value and just a weight and purity), they may call their new Currency “AOCS-Approved”.   This eliminates any single point of failure in our system.

AOCS invites everyone to purchase our Currency at a discount, not just “Associates” or “RCO’s”.

How has the AOCS recognized problems the Liberty Dollar faced and what are they doing to prevent future catastrophes such as the FBI raiding of the Liberty Dollar?

The AOCS is fully transparent and honest in how our system works.  By representing itself as a private barter network, the AOCS does not try to “trick” Merchants into accepting our Currency nor do they sell Silver to customers knowing that there isn’t a network to spend it in.

The LD chose not to educate Merchants on the fact that they are a barter Currency and, as a result, may have given the government all the ammunition they needed by encouraging LD users to present their pieces as the “new” ten dollar piece or similar tactics. Merchants who were not educated on the trading currency didn’t catch the fact that the LD was not legal tender. This lack of full disclosure can present problems for a merchant who has been tricked into thinking they are accepting legal tender as opposed to a private barter medallion. In addition, little effort was made to clearly differentiate their original coin from US Currency which could also create confusion with Merchants.

The AOCS believes accurate representation of itself as a private barter group and properly educating its Merchants and customers will prevent problems such as these.  The AOCS encourages supporters to shop and circulate Silver in the private network, as opposed to the Liberty Dollar strategy of “doing the drop” and convincing or tricking the merchant into accepting the silver under the auspices of legal tender.  The AOCS does not put the word “dollars” on approved pieces.  While this may sound simple, it helps prevent confusion in the Marketplace.

Finally, there is no single point of failure in the AOCS system. The AOCS does not store silver, gold or copper medallions for anyone so one action would be unable to shut down our operation. This system works because it is a voluntary loosely affiliated network of individuals and merchants choosing to engage in open and free private trade.

How does bartering with medallions effect local businesses that pay taxes?

The AOCS is not a tax expert and so dealing with taxes is the responsibility of the customers and Merchants and Currency Officers.

If you have concerns about tax laws, this matter should be taken up with a qualified tax expert. Consult your accountant.

What is the relationship between the AOCS and the Free Lakota Bank?

The American Open Currency Standard agreed to partner with the Lakota Nation to aid in the establishment of their independent bank and to facilitate the production of their sovereign currency. Currently plans are underway to expand the services being offered by the FLB and to secure a new facility for their home.

What is the position of the AOCS regarding sound-money legislation?

Rob Gray, Executive Director:  “I personally am NOT in favor of this type of attempt.  If I choose to accept payment in silver or gold, I may do so without the government’s permission.  Then, I may choose to liquidate some of my silver or gold so that I can pay my taxes.  Again, I don’t need the government to grant me permission to do so.  HOWEVER, if the government and its associated cartels become involved in this process, the forces placed upon the market will hurt those like me that want to be left alone.  For example, if my taxes are payable in USD, and the state says “we’ll accept gold at the market rate on the day your tax is due,” what happens if the “market” price of gold drops through the floor on that very same day, in anticipation of this event?  Sound strange?  So, just when the time comes to pay my tax, the value of my gold or silver mysteriously drops 10-20%.  While those moves are not uncommon, it won’t be hard to imagine the government could interfere with the marketplace to create a depression of metal value at the very same time I need to use it.  HOWEVER, this situation would be avoided if the government would quote taxes in silver or gold, so that the varied value won’t matter when it comes time to pay.  Essentially, my belief is that any proposed system that trades metal at “market value” will steal from those involved.”

What is the Community Trade Coordinator mission?

The Community Trade Coordinator has 2 goals with the AOCS:  to expand the Merchant network and to sell AOCS-approved Silver.  Neither one is more important than the other.  Both are dependent on one another; without Silver to circulate, the Merchant network becomes stagnant and without a Merchant network, the CTC is merely selling an expensive piece of Silver.

It is also the CTC’s responsibility to manage the information records that are available to the public which has been provided by these merchants.  All information should be accurate, up-to-date and complete.  The AOCS is very close to completion of the newest edition of the Merchant Network Database which will be called AOCS Marketplace. Stay tuned for more information about the launch of the new web site.

It is also the CTC’s responsibility to supply demanded Silver to consumers and merchants alike.  The goal of the AOCS is to implement Silver as effective private money, so selling Silver to spend with the Merchants is crucial!  Merchants will quickly abandon the network or question our success if they don’t see an increase in Silver business.  Selling Silver is also the way a CTC makes profit and can afford to continue their mission.

What is the best way to introduce an “outsider” to AOCS Silver and trading?

Most people are unfamiliar with the history and problems of the Federal Reserve and their role in the failure of the US dollar.  There are many online resources, articles and videos that may help to awaken others as to why precious metals are needed in a world of fiat-currency.  While the AOCS serves a large Market of supporters against fiat-currency, others have found value that the AOCS provides as a barter group.  This coincides with the ideas of supporting local economies and surviving in tough economic times.  The AOCS encourages people to get involved as Merchants, Silver Buyers, Community Trade Coordinators, Silver Dealers, or simply Supporters. While every individual’s path to honest money may be different, we are all headed the same direction: value for value.

Why would I want to accept an ounce of Silver at face-value of $50 considering the spot price of Silver?

Besides the fact that so many others are already accepting AOCS at face value and you therefore will have a large market in which you may use the pieces you accept, recent moves by major players in the commodities market serve to prove that silver is currently extremely undervalued. As the true value of silver is realized, the value of the pieces you have accepted will rise as well. Can you point to another form of currency that can make that claim?

Let’s discuss profit and loss for a moment. When a merchant chooses to promote their business, they may choose to do so by publishing a coupon.  One of the most popular offers is “buy one, get one free”. The cost of this offer is not only in the product being given away but also in the substantial expense of the production and publishing of the coupon. For most merchants, making an offer such as this sounds appealing until those latter expenditures are considered. In the AOCS Marketplace, a similar offer is made whereby the consumer can buy the medallion at or near half of face value. However, acceptance of these medallions does not require any expenditure by the merchant. The gain to be had, as it is in the original example of the merchant who publishes a coupon, is the attraction of new clientele. In this case, those new customers will not cost nearly as much to attract. Moreover, at the end of the day, the merchant accepting paper coupons may only have new customers and a drawer full of paper to show for his efforts. An AOCS Merchant will have Silver which they may choose to turn into resources by which they can expand their business even further by trading for the things they need to grow and improve.

What happens if the price of Silver shoots up to hundreds of dollars per oz or if the USD fails?

After the move-up to the $100 face-value, the AOCS will probably not continue increasing the face-value and thus the system will be abandoned.  This is because it would not be practical to use Silver as an every day medium of exchange when its value is that high.

This move-up system is only practical so long as the price of silver is quoted in USD. When the US Dollar finally fails completely, either a new system will be established to allow AOCS Currencies to trade one-to-one with the new, primary currency or the AOCS system WILL BE the primary Currency.


How does the trade with other trade exchanges work?

The AOCS is able to expand and grow their Merchant network very quickly because of their ability to trade with other exchanges.  When a Merchant from another group joins the AOCS, many of them are willing to trade out their trade dollars for Silver.  With this 3rd party exchange, the AOCS is now able to trade with every Merchant in that network.  This is how the AOCS has developed “relationships” with IMS, ITEX, DoBarter, Green Apple, and other barter network Merchants.

How does one get involved as a Merchant?

Anyone can become an AOCS Approved Merchant.  You can either contact your local Community Trade Coordinator or create your own record on the Open Currency website.

Can I spend non-AOCS-Approved Silver at a Merchant?

Consumers are always welcome to initiate their own barter transaction with a Merchant of their choice.  We enlist Merchants to accept AOCS-Approved Currencies because Silver Currency bearing the AOCS-Approved mark adheres to the AOCS standards of excellence, which guarantees both purity and weight.

Must a Merchant accept Silver at face-value?

No merchant is obligated by AOCS to accept any currency at any value. It is, however, a requirement for listing in our Marketplace Directory that a merchant accept AOCS silver at face value regardless of what percentage of a transaction he allows in trade.

If you have a question, feel free to use the form on our “Contact” page.


  1. Hi- what has happened to the copper Christmas medallions? It is one of the rolling ads at the home page, but I get a message “your search returns no results” when I click on it.



  2. robert anteau says:

    Dear Sirs,

    I cannot seem to find a list of merchants accepting AOCS currency, How do I find that?

    Thank in advance,

  3. Apricaught says:

    Since a 90% alloy is historically-proven to be durable for normal transactions, why has AOCS chosen to go with the softer 99%?

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