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Think of Timebanking as incentivized voluntary community service. TimeBanks.org describes timebanking as follows:

TimeBanking is a way of giving and receiving to build supportive networks and strong communities. One hour helping another earns one TimeBank Hour (also called time credits, service credits or time dollars.) TimeBanking builds on the magic of “pay it forward,” one good turn leading to another and another.

In other words, it’s like a labor barter network which results in stronger communities. Watch this video to see how Timebanking works:

They operate in the gray economy because it is economic activity which happens outside traditional corporate legacy systems or government regulation and taxing schemes. It’s a social peer-to-peer economy based on user reputation instead of regulation.

Notable examples of this new economy besides Timebanks include services like eBay, Craigslist, Uber, AirBnB, alternative currencies like Bitcoin, or community supported agriculture (CSAs) schemes. All of these platforms are voluntary networks enabling people to trade goods and services directly with each other. In most cases they’re cheaper, safer and more efficient without legacy middlemen.