Civic-minded residents in Northern Ireland may soon be paying for their coffees and ordering their lunches with a municipal cryptocurrency.
Belfast City Council (BCC) announced on Wednesday that it plans to implement its own incentive-based digital token later this year. The currency, called Belfast Coin, will be designed to reward positive resident activities, including shopping locally, volunteering, recycling, and taking part in public meetings, according to the BCC.
The token’s implementation is part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities project, which aims to help cities around the world build resilience towards modern challenges.
Belfast has partnered with Colu, a United Kingdom and Tel Aviv-based blockchain company, to create an app for residents to store their coins.
Amos Meiri, CEO and co- founder of Colu, says the city currency will encourage positive civic interactions and spur development.
“Belfast Coin will make a tremendous contribution to the city’s development – economically, socially, environmentally, and beyond. Just as importantly though, we hope to ensure that Belfast Coin will bring all the different elements of the city closer to each other, by empowering residents, businesses, NGOs, community groups and educational institutions to work together towards the same goals.”
“By utilizing Colu’s innovative technology in this way, Belfast is demonstrating that it is a forward-thinking, exciting and ambitious city.”
David McWilliams, an Irish economist and author who spoke at the Belfast Coin’s announcement event, says the partnership goes beyond the simple establishment of another cryptocurrency.
“What we’re seeing here is the creation of more than just a coin; it’s a rethinking of the way the city engages with itself.”