Do City-Specific Cryptocurrencies have a Future?
A city in the United Kingdom has been exploring using a city-specific cryptocurrency as a way to support service to the local community. Called HullCoin, the currency is described as “the world’s first Community Loyalty Point. Earn HullCoin by getting involved in great things in your community, spend HullCoin by accessing discounts with local retailers.” Residents of Hull would sign up to do volunteer work in the city and be paid in HullCoins, which they can use at local retailers, as described in the video below.
Hull is a post-industrial city and it’s residents have been struggling through the hard economic times that come from a reduced reliance on it’s traditional industries. The economic uncertainty facing citizens led to the founding of this creative cryptocurrency, according to an article in The Guardian:
“In 2014, Lisa Bovill, a public servant specialising in welfare rights, and colleague Dave Shepherdson, decided to do something about it. If people could no longer afford the essentials of life – with catastrophic effects on individuals and communities – then what was needed was a new way of paying.
Their big idea was to use the same blockchain technology found in the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin to generate a new kind of quantitative easing for the 99%. The difference was, their version, called HullCoin, would reward volunteers, not currency speculators.”
The idea behind the currency is that by engaging in social responsibilities within the community, residents would be able to offset some of the economic hardship they are facing while also bolstering small businesses in the local economy. The founders hope that this type of localized currency could “could one day become the ‘blood supply’ of a growing collaborative economy”. But will it catch on? Will it add value and ease to a sharing economy, or complicate it? How will the currency support itself, not being backed by any commodity? Why use a blockchain technology that many users don’t understand instead of a traditional payment system? HullCoin has a series of challenges to overcome to be successful, but if it can, it might just have profound effects on the community of a city and the well-being of it’s residents.
Learn more about the potentials of HullCoin by reading this interview with it’s founders on Shareable.