The town of Orania, South Africa, claims it’s not racist, but it’s only ever allowed white people to live within its walls. Wholly owned by a single community corporation, the city was established after Apartheid ended and has always had its own currency. Now the town of about 9000 people is moving to cryptocurrency.
The Ora is the community’s native currency. It amounts to a stablecoin with the South African rand as a peg, but now a digital equivalent emerges. Both notes are issued and controlled by Orania’s version of a central bank, called The Orania Spaar en Krediet Kooperatiewe Bank or OSK. The OSK was established decades ago by a government employee who was given an early retirement as a result of anti-apartheid measures.
The previous government was almost wholly composed of white people, who are a cultural minority in South Africa, so as policies changed, various hiring and retention practices were enacted. When Lukas Taljaard arrived in Orania, there wasn’t much in the way of financial infrastructure. To help, he started cashing people’s checks in his garage for a 5 rand fee.