As Alan Greenspan suggested in one of his final testimonies to the Senate, we are about to see private and alternative forms of money capable of competing with the central currencies. He's right.
I don't mean just Bitcoin (which is quite clever but still just another scarcity-based central currency), but TimeDollars, LETs and other local exchanges. Unlike interest-bearing currencies, these newer monies — similar to their Middle Ages predecessors — are biased more toward transaction than savings. They don't grow over time, but rather increase the velocity of money in the present.
Such possibilities are particularly appealing as values like localism, sustainability and the Maker movement replace corporatism, growth and retail. Big banks become the enemy, seeking to extract value from communities who are attempting to reach some measure of sustainability. Yet local currencies, however attractive in spirit, aren't really great for long-distance or longer term contracts. People will want gasoline, iPhones and other products from the non-local marketplace.
So what are banks to do? Promote the use of both local and central currencies, side by side.