How It Works

Beetcoin donations fund local non-profit lending groups, who use this capital, alongside their locally raised capital, to make 0% loans. When loans are repaid, all capital stays local, where it recirculates.

How it works

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Beetcoin promote systemic change?

Making an individual donation or loan to an organic farm is a good thing. Doing so strategically, in concert with a growing movement, an even better thing.

Beetcoin’s design integrates elements of philanthropy, impact investing, crowdfunding and microfinance, but this is an awfully mechanistic description of a beautiful process—the creation of new flows of capital that preserve and restore small organic farms and local food systems, in ways that are as democratic, grassroots and non-extractive as possible.

Local 0% loan groups that receive Beetcoin funding typically operate like cooperatives—one person, one vote, no matter the size of a local member’s donation. Local individual donations range from $25 to $50,000.

Which local groups get Beetcoin funding?

Beetcoin donations are aggregated and deployed by the Slow Money Institute, with guidance from our Beetcoin Advisors. The flow of funds to the local groups, the status of the local groups and stories of the food and farming enterprises that ultimately receive loans are updated periodically on this site and on the sites of the local groups.

There are currently five local loan groups—four in Colorado and one in Virginia. These groups have loaned some $2 million to over 70 loanees.

New groups are in formation in the U.S. and abroad.

Why 0%?

Many initiatives have arisen in recent years under the banner of impact investing, seeking to reconcile maximizing shareholder value with the imperatives of social justice and environmental stewardship. Much effort has gone into the development of metrics, reporting schemes and third-party certifications. Yet, money keeps going faster and faster, financial institutions keep getting bigger and bigger, wealth inequality keeps widening, the planet keeps heating up, and global markets keep taking precedence over pretty much everything.

The impact of diversified portfolios of distant investments is difficult to track and open to interpretation. “Risk adjusted” is subjective. “Low interest” is indefinite and relative. 0% is clear, simple and unequivocal. It values people and place over the arithmetic of extraction. On a more practical level, small organic farms and local food businesses are not very profitable, even when successful. Their access to loans and grants from institutional sources is limited and piecemeal and not tied directly to the building of community.

A whole book could be written about the ethos behind 0% loans and Beetcoin. Oh, wait. . .one was. AHA!: Fake Trillions, Real Billions, Beetcoin and the Great American Do-Over, by Slow Money founder Woody Tasch.

What does success look like?

How many local 0% loan groups could there be a decade from now? How many new organic farmers? How much food being produced and consumed regionally around how many metropolitan areas? How much carbon sequestered in the soil of healthy farmland and pastures?

If this were the business plan for a venture capital moonshot, we’d define success in terms of hyperbolic financial projections. But this is an earthshot. A call to farms. An emerging global movement that asks the most radical of economic questions, but doesn’t let the asking get in the way of direct, neighborly action.

The urgency of the current moment calls for nothing less.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Beetcoin promote systemic change?

Making an individual donation or loan to an organic farm is a good thing. Doing so strategically, in concert with a growing movement, an even better thing.

Beetcoin’s design integrates elements of philanthropy, impact investing, crowdfunding and microfinance, but this is an awfully mechanistic description of a beautiful process—the creation of new flows of capital that preserve and restore small organic farms and local food systems, in ways that are as democratic, grassroots and non-extractive as possible.

Local 0% loan groups that receive Beetcoin funding typically operate like cooperatives—one person, one vote, no matter the size of a local member’s donation. Local individual donations range from $25 to $50,000.

Which local groups get Beetcoin funding?

Beetcoin donations are aggregated and deployed by the Slow Money Institute, with guidance from our Beetcoin Advisors. The flow of funds to the local groups, the status of the local groups and stories of the food and farming enterprises that ultimately receive loans are updated periodically on this site and on the sites of the local groups.

There are currently five local loan groups—four in Colorado and one in Virginia. These groups have loaned some $2 million to over 70 loanees.

New groups are in formation in the U.S. and abroad.

Why 0%?

Many initiatives have arisen in recent years under the banner of impact investing, seeking to reconcile maximizing shareholder value with the imperatives of social justice and environmental stewardship. Much effort has gone into the development of metrics, reporting schemes and third-party certifications. Yet, money keeps going faster and faster, financial institutions keep getting bigger and bigger, wealth inequality keeps widening, the planet keeps heating up, and global markets keep taking precedence over pretty much everything.

The impact of diversified portfolios of distant investments is difficult to track and open to interpretation. “Risk adjusted” is subjective. “Low interest” is indefinite and relative. 0% is clear, simple and unequivocal. It values people and place over the arithmetic of extraction. On a more practical level, small organic farms and local food businesses are not very profitable, even when successful. Their access to loans and grants from institutional sources is limited and piecemeal and not tied directly to the building of community.

A whole book could be written about the ethos behind 0% loans and Beetcoin. Oh, wait. . .one was. AHA!: Fake Trillions, Real Billions, Beetcoin and the Great American Do-Over, by Slow Money founder Woody Tasch.

What does success look like?

How many local 0% loan groups could there be a decade from now? How many new organic farmers? How much food being produced and consumed regionally around how many metropolitan areas? How much carbon sequestered in the soil of healthy farmland and pastures?

If this were the business plan for a venture capital moonshot, we’d define success in terms of hyperbolic financial projections. But this is an earthshot. A call to farms. An emerging global movement that asks the most radical of economic questions, but doesn’t let the asking get in the way of direct, neighborly action.

The urgency of the current moment calls for nothing less.

Farmer collage