Wales has rolled out plans to launch its own digital currency, as part of the government’s effort to help businesses exchanging services and products veer away from traditional payment methods.
The new plan is to test and eventually launch the new cryptocurrency in an attempt to boost the local small and medium enterprises (SME) economy. According to the Business Cloud report, the Welsh government has awarded a £100,000 contract from the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund to develop the new system. This funding will not only cover consultation but will also cover the expenses and implementation of the pilot program in North Wales.
While a great idea, it is certainly not a new one. This is the same idea behind the Sardex, a credit system implemented on the Italian island of Sardinia. Eifion Williams, CEO of the company behind the Welsh digital currency project, noted how the Sardinian system has “benefited the Sardinian SME economy to the tune of 50m euros last year alone,” definitely a target for Wales to shoot for.
In a statement, Williams explained that the crypto pilot will benefit Wales, especially since a vast portion of Wales’ economy is fueled by the SMEs: “If Wales had initiated a copy of the Sardex in 2008, and it had followed the same growth trajectory, Welsh SMEs would now be strengthened to the tune of £256m in additional turnover.”
Many within the government are seeing this as a potential boon for the region. According to Lee Waters, deputy minister for economy and transport, this economic plan “sets out the direction for a broader and more balanced approach to economic development focused on making communities stronger and more resilient. He added, “The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is fundamental to this and I’m intrigued to see the results of this mutual credit system pilot by Circular Economy Wales.”
This kind of idea is becoming more popular across the globe. In July, South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, announced its plans to launch its own cryptocurrency. The plan is to implement a currency that would be paying one-to-one with the value of the local economy. Busan had been passed over as a blockchain regulation-free zone but opted to go out on their own to create their own digital currency.
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