Local currencies are nothing new and, as reported by CCN, local digital currencies are also a thing nowadays, with the Liverpool Local Pound (LLP) and the Local Pound, East London, for example, coming into existence this year, thanks to Tel-Aviv-based technology company Colu.
These local digital currencies were created pegged to the pound, with each token being worth £1. Just like other local currencies, these were presumably created to incentivize locals to buy and sell locally. According to The Telegraph, during the 19th and 20th century, local currencies were even used to fill the void when national currencies and welfare systems failed.
Now, a local government’s project may be about to come true, as HullCoin, according to the BBC, may be launched in September this year, if a bid for a £500,000 (about $643,000) lottery is successful and helps fund the project’s final push to fruition.
HullCoin, as previously reported by CCN, is a local digital currency that isn’t pegged to the national currency but is instead going to be used to reward Hull residents by giving them discounts and other offers for completing tasks that are beneficial to the community, such as recycling or doing charity work.
Residents won’t be able to purchase HullCoins using pounds, as the only way to earn them is either by having them transferred to their wallets, or by completing ‘good deeds’. These coins are then stored in a specific virtual currency wallet users need to set up using their phones.
The project came to life in 2014 and has been developing since. Last year, the hull-coin.org website was launched and now the project has over 140 retailers, who will give residents discounts in exchange for their HullCoins, signed up.
David Shepherdson, the project’s chief executive, stated:
It’s like Hull’s own discount voucher scheme and signing up is as easy as it is to join social media.
Some of the organizations that are ready to offer HullCoin so far include the University of Hull, Hull College, and Hull City Council. So far, 800 people have signed up to use HullCoin, but as much as 8,000 are expected by the end of the year
The project had previously received a £100,000 grant from Comic Relief through its Tech for Good Programme, and now reportedly depends on the lottery bid to be launched in September.
HullCoin’s uniqueness makes it so that the community has the issuing power, and that means that the currency can actually reach those who most need it. Moreover, it allows both businesses and individuals to stand out from the crowd.
Businesses can stand out by accepting HullCoin and effectively supporting the cause, while simultaneously promoting their business by attracting people looking to spend their tokens. On the other hand, users can share social acts linked to the issuance of tokens, and build up a profile around these acts, which may then be beneficial in the job market.
As most headline-worthy projects, HullCoin saw scams being created around it, as bad actors took advantage of the project’s media coverage. According to China News, as many as 500 Chinese investors lost a total of 7.1 million yuan ($1.1 million), after being led to believe that they could buy and trade the virtual currency.
Reportedly, these claims were made on a website supposedly associated with HullCoin. Everything that gave the website legitimacy was fabricated, as China National Radio (CNR) investigated it and found that a promoting conference never took place, news reports were created without credible sources, and photos of the coin’s launch in China were photoshopped.
Featured image from Shutterstock.