The Town Hall of Barcelona has recently announced working on the design of a local digital currency that will be used by local businesses with the aim of stimulating commercial activity in the city.
One of the motives underlying the new scheme is enabling purchases to be made via digital wallets and mobile devices, thus reducing the costs associated with producing physical money. The digital currency will be convertible into euros at any time.
The government considers that the purpose of the digital currency is to boost independent small and medium-sized businesses in Barcelona and prevent money being spent outside of the municipality. Businesses that sign up will accept payments for goods and services online or through a mobile device. Besides, municipal workers may receive part of their salary in digital currency if they desire.
The new digital currency will be implemented after a six-month trial period if the results are approved by the community and are successful. The name of the new digital currency has not been decided yet.
The first six-month trial period phase will include seminars on its use and advantages. Afterwards, the results will be evaluated and its characteristics defined properly. Then it will be rolled out and put into use in the municipality of Barcelona.
This project was the objective outlined by the BComu party during campaigning for the local election on the 24th of May this year, when party leader Ada Colau was elected Mayor of Barcelona. That is her aim to create digital currency in order to develop local trade and commerce and make the wealth of the municipality be divided fairly between all types of businesses.
However, the experts warn that the project’s success depends on having a big amount of retailers and customers using the digital currency. Besides, they consider that the costs of launching the currency are huge.
At the moment, approximately 4,000 similar digital currencies operate in a number of European cities all over the world, including the Bristol pound, the Toulouse Sol-Violette and Nantes.