It was over 15 months ago that the concept of HullCoin, a digital currency designed to relieve poverty in Kingston upon Hull, was first raised.
At the time, you could have been forgiven for believing the story was some April Fool’s joke. Essentially, the coin functions like a loyalty points system, rewarding those performing volunteer work with units of the currency. These can then be spent to pay city tax, rent and even groceries.
But since the initial announcement, all had been quiet. Especially during an era of the latter stages of the altcoin craze, which saw so-called national cryptocurrencies pumping to valuations in excess of $1 billion and then collapsing, it was intuitive to write this one off as well.
Indeed, at first glance it was tough to figure out how exactly the coin would improve the economy, and this hasn’t changed much with the latest update.
Perhaps the underlying theory is that people will be more productive, thereby generating greater economic output. This couldn’t be easily accomplished with standard fiat currency, which would have to be printed, QE style, to achieve the desired effect.
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When HullCoin is taken for government bills, the scheme essentially amounts to the population, as a whole, working harder and getting rewarded for it with value. Those accepting it in the private sector can also in turn redeem it for government credits. If productivity is indeed the main economic impediment, then perhaps the scheme will succeed.
According to Hull Daily Mail, details of how the coin would work were revealed in a workshop this week. Among the next stages are bringing local council and business leaders on board.
David Shepherdson of Kaini Industries, which was established to create HullCoin, believes the project holds huge potential. He commented:
“The best thing about all of this is that all the information will be stored digitally. Every HullCoin that is issued will be traceable, so there will be a story behind it. If someone buys a pair of shoes from a shop accepting HullCoin, the person in there will know exactly what the customer has done to earn those credits.”
The coin appears not to be built upon cryptographic algorithms, which are used in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and litecoin. As such, it remains to be determined if it behaves in peer-to-peer (p2P) fashion or will be administered through central bodies functioning as banks.