Not an April Fool’s joke: International Business Times reports that the Hull City Council, representing the British city of Kingston upon Hull (a.k.a. Hull), is looking to launch a digital currency called HullCoin in a bid to tackle poverty and improve the local economy.
The coin is to be used for paying for volunteer work and earnings will not be taxed. Coins can be spent to pay city tax, rent and even groceries. Authorities are looking into exactly which shops are candidates to accept the coin. If successful, the Council will be “the digital bank of Hull”. Dave Shepherdson, the council’s Financial Inclusion Support Officer, said:
“The idea is that we’ll provide it to people on low incomes for them to pay for things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay for, particularly food and fuel. It’s a very different sort of project.”
All coins will be “pre-mined” by the city, which will be purchasing two Sapphire R9 290X graphic cards. The mining is expected to take 10 to 12 weeks, after which the program will be launched.
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The coin is reportedly a hybrid between Feathercoin and Ven, although it’s not clear exactly how or why these two cryptocurrencies were chosen. Ven bears some resemblance in carrying monetary value within the Hub Culture network.
Also unclear is how establishing a digital currency will markedly improve the overall economy. While its payment is restricted to those performing volunteer work, it remains to be understood why the equivalent economic effect can’t be accomplished via fiat, especially when accounting for the capital costs involved in its launch.
The proposal is the latest among ideas to tackle poverty in the city, which also included encouraging more efficient use of fuel, setting up “edible gardens” and reviewing the Council’s current eviction policy for cases of tenants hit by the “bedroom tax”.
HullCoin comes after a string of “national” cryptocurrencies like Auroracoin and Spaincoin have flooded the crypto market, each with successively less “initial pop” than the one preceding it. The coins were ostensibly launched to provide a boost to struggling economies and/or function as alternatives to currencies and financial systems perceived as mismanaged by the governments running them.