As the world of digital currency is becoming stronger and more diverse, UK’s Hull City council is trying to implement this technology on root-level, as it launched the first local government operated crypto-currency, called HullCoin.
Actually, it’s not the first case of introducing local currency, as previously CoinDesk reported about the Brixton Pound, as well other examples such as Bristol and Lewes.
Local currencies have been set up in several countries before to stay within a local economy and to protect local businesses. However, unlike its counterparts, Hullcoin differs thanks to its straightforward approach to tackle poverty, the council says, making it arguably the most worthy use of a crypto-currency yet.
Behind the idea stands the city’s Council Welfare Rights Manager, Lisa Bovill, who wanted to explore the possibilities of a digital currency, which not only can be used just like local currencies, but at the same time can extend help to resolve society-related problems.
The whole concept is supposed to be part of the ‘Hull People Premium’ scheme that is aimed to help the people of Hull save money, and gain access to advice and aid for food, fuel and finance.
“It’s about people on low incomes, in financial distress, being able to subsidize to an extent and compliment their incomes through undertaking activities that will be linked to the things in field of finance. [Futhermore] it can be used to instigate voluntary activity, or it can be issued close to the point of demand for a service which would help them, which they would not normally have the ability to pay for,” said Dave Shepherdson the Hull City’s Financial Inclusion Support Officer.
Apart of being issued and backed by a reputed local government, Hullcoin is still another coin in the series of over 200 crypto-currencies; and is mined likewise, i.e. by using a GPU mining rig. Lisa has further ensured that the cost of mining a Hullcoin does not extend to a point in which it becomes a losable scheme.
Lisa Bovill said that the team spent some time calculating whether mining a crypto-currency would be worthwhile and found that they could make it a profitable scheme, noting “a digital local currency is the unique idea, and it will help with the distribution if you could link digital currency with the local currency.”
The councilwoman has excused the taxpayers’ fund and is largely dependent on a kind and anonymous benefactor to sponsor the machine that mines Hullcoin. The current machine runs on the power of 1.6 MH/s and is powered with two Sapphire R9 290X graphic cards.
The new digital currency was officially launched at the Hull Financial Inclusion forum, held on March 7th. The HullCoin team and members of the Feathercoin project tried to make citizens understand the core concept of digital currency and how it can be used like a normal one. There were many though, who found it too complex, but at the end of the day, left the Hull Financial Inclusion forum enthusiastically.
In the long term, Hull City Council team foresees HullCoin going beyond anti-poverty uses. It was even revealed by Lisa Bovill that a ‘Hull Bank’ for the city’s currency was a long term goal.