Belfast is set to introduce Northern Ireland’s first digital currency which will reward residents for positive actions.
The incentive-based currency will let residents accumulate Belfast Coin in return for a range of activities – including shopping local, recycling, volunteering and taking part in civic activities.
It will be introduced later this year via an app and has been made possible thanks to Belfast’s membership of 100 Resilient Cities , a global network funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Each ‘coin’ will be worth £1 and the coins can then be used to buy something in participating shops, restaurants or businesses.
Grainia Long, Belfast Commissioner for Resilience , said: “Belfast Coin will be introduced later this year and it’s our hope that it will initially give an economic boost to local businesses, as well as helping Council achieve other long-term goals, including environmental improvements.
“This challenge gives us the opportunity to explore how a city currency can bring residents, businesses and city partners together to support inclusive growth – a key priority within our Belfast Agenda. It’s also really exciting to be working alongside other global cities to learn from each other about urban problem-solving and sharing best practice.”
The announcement by Colu marks the formal commencement of the pilot initiative, and work is now underway to sign up a range of partners and build an eco-system of stakeholders before the currency is formally launched later this year.
Ms Long added: “By motivating residents to make a positive difference, we hope Belfast Coin will strengthen their connection to the city they live in.
“Our aim is to engage a range of stakeholders from across the city to allow the currency to be used as payment in shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses.”
Residents will be able to download an app and set up their own Belfast Coin account.
Amos Meiri, CEO and co- founder Colu, said: “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.”
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