Britain my have rejected the Euro in the 1990s, but the pound still faces competition from a far more revolutionary form of currency.
The Brixton pound note, introduced to the south London district bearing its name in 2009, got its first automatic teller machine today. The note's developers claim it's possibly the first machine to dispense local currency anywhere in the world. Previously, the notes had to be stocked and issued by local business owners.
Brixton notes aren't legal tender, but they can be used by locals and businesses to trade goods and services – a bit like a gift voucher, only on a much larger and more complex scale.
"It's not meant to be a local voucher scheme in an intrinsic sense," says Tom Shackhli, Brixton Pound's General Manager. "It's meant to evoke a certain spirit, giving people a feeling that they're part of something, and more connected to Brixton."
Currencies such as the Brixton pound are designed to encourage local trade, and community pride and engagement. They can be found in other British districts and cities, including Bristol, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Brixton's notes carry images of local heroes, such as pop icon David Bowie, professional basketball player Luol Deng and World War II secret agent Violette Szabo. They're also circulated digitally: in 2011 a service was introduced that enables trading via mobile phone.
Hundreds of thousands of notes have been issued since 2009 and Mr. Shackhli says more than 2,500 people have signed up to the mobile-payment system. Not all of Brixton's businesses accept the notes, which, while encouraging local trade, can add an unwanted layer of hassle to their day-to-day operations.
The roughly 200 Brixton business that do accept the currency are encouraged to use it to buy stock from local suppliers. It can also be used to pay local rates through an arrangement with Lambeth council.
Nobody's expecting the Brixton pound to ever threaten sterling as the country's main source of currency, but Mr. Shackhli is confident the new ATM will boost its popularity. An emergency top-up of David Bowie notes was recently required because supply couldn't keep up with demand.
"I think it will be enduringly popular," he says.