Ada Colau, Barcelona’s new mayor has made good on her campaign promise to create a local digital currency to help stimulate local commerce and spending within the city limits, along with other benefits.
The city of Barcelona, capital of the Catalonia – an autonomous community in Spain is in currently at the throes of a heightened local movement to break away from Spain.
Although the Spanish constitution explicitly disallows any region in the country to secede from the state, pro-independence parties won a clear majority of seats in Catalonia’s parliament during the most recent elections.
In a coalition, the victorious parties have sought to unilaterally work together to declare independence within 18 months with a plan to establish Catalonia’s own constitution and a judicial system among other essential establishments. While the independent nation of Catalonia may soon draw plans for a central bank, the Mayor of Barcelona is already working on launching a yet unnamed local digital currency.
The Initiative to Launch a Local Digital Currency
The newly elected Mayor of Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city after Madrid is working toward the launch of a local digital currency within the city, a currency noted by the Bank of Spain as “impossible besides undesirable.”
There will be a “learning process” where the first female mayor of Barcelona says residents and businesses will get to learn about the digital currency that will help cut costs and enable direct purchases through electronic wallets and mobile devices.
The mayor also confirmed that the digital currency can be converted to Euros at any time. She sees a local digital currency to be beneficial for residents and businesses within the city with or without Catalonia separating from Spain as one of the motives to launch the digital currency is to readily provide benefits for small and medium-sized stores within the city.
Local social schemes will also encourage families to spend in local shops through benefits provided to them as well, to ensure that the money and wealth is kept within the city, locally.
Some ideas to bring in a new local digital currency include:
- Granting of subsidies in the local currency for businesses in the city.
- Paying out a part of the salaries of public employees in the digital currency.
- Bonuses for citizens who exchange Euros for the local digital currency.
- Minimal or no processing fees or taxes for utilities while paying via the digital currency.
- Actively favor suppliers and investors in the city who choose to operate with the digital currency.
The name of the currency will be determined later as residents of Barcelona will get to participate in its naming process.
The vote of Catalans shows that their sentiment toward Spain is clear. If a separation did occur, a major new economy with some 7.5 million people would still be using the Euro sans any EU provisions or the supervision of a central banking authority.
If it succeeds, a digital currency for Barcelona and the possibility of one for the rest of Catalonia might be the precursor to a whole raft of changes. Spain may be sweating with the sweeping separatist tide in Barcelona; the world is watching.
Images from Shutterstock.