Everyone has a damn cell phone these days. You can't urinate on the front doors of a library any more without at least three passers-by phoning the cops and having you picked up. For that reason, maybe it's not entirely surprising that in some rural parts of Africa, cell phone scratch cards have actually become a form of currency.
Despite having a GDP on par with your average 7-Eleven, the Congo has several million cell phones and subscriptions have increased 150% in the last year, which means everyone in Buttfuck Nowhere, Africa really wants to talk to someone else all the time. Now that they can, they've taken to buying airtime vouchers or "scratch cards" and texting the codes to others who can then use the codes to redeem the cash value right away in a sort of rudimentary money transfer system that happens instantly and costs the price of a text message.
The practice is so widespread that these scratch cards are now acceptable currency for bribing officials. As an added bonus, you can pay the bribes remotely with this method, so there's no need for the cops to even take you downtown to bribe the judge when you can pay them all off at the same time. Ah, technology. Simultaneously bribing multiple government officials to quietly overlook your backyard sex parties has never been easier.
Guerima, Colombia may be the most intense little village you've never heard of. While it's unlikely they're all skydivers drinking Mountain Dew and listening to one of those screaming, loud bands the kids these days love so much, the residents do have enough blow to keep themselves wired and tweaking 24/7.
The President of Guerima.
It seems Colombia, in an effort to do something to curb its drug trade, has tried to stop Marxist rebels from trafficking in cocaine. One of the ways they did this was to deploy the army to remote areas and block access to places where cocaine is grown and processed, places like Guerima.
So imagine a little town in Idaho growing potatoes until one day the army comes and stops anyone from coming in and buying those potatoes to make delicious, addictive, potentially lethal french fries. Now the little town has a shitload of potatoes and no money. So how do you get by? The people of Geurima, (population of 1,000), just replaced cash with powder. Without FARC rebels paying for cocaine, the people of the town use it to conduct transactions amongst themselves and, according to reports, one gram will get you a bottle of Coca-Cola.
If this society can actually pull off their homemade economic system, well, kudos. But we're betting heavily that the "Trapping 1,000 People in a Tiny Village with Nothing to Do But Pass Cocaine Around" Plan is eventually going to backfire in a pretty huge way.