Belfast To Launch Incentive-Based Digital Currency To Boost Local Economy

Blockchain, News | May 14, 2019 By:

The City Council of Belfast, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, has announced a partnership with blockchain startup Colu to launch a blockchain-based city currency.

Based in UK, Israel and Gibraltar, Colu is dedicated to making cities thrive, using everyday interactions to drive social and economic progress. It uses blockchain technology to create digital, localized cryptocurrencies for communities. The company’s app encourages local payments, while rewarding positive actions with city currency.

The Belfast City Council is working with Colu to introduce its own city currency, dubbed Belfast Coin, which will be deployed to boost the city economy and help meet environmental goals. It will operate as a rewards platform, encouraging the Belfast public towards impactful behaviours to further improve the city.

“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,” said Grainia Long, Belfast Commissioner for Resilience. “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.”

Residents will accumulate Belfast Coins in return for activities such as shopping at local businesses, volunteering, civic activity and beyond. The council believes that by motivating Belfast residents to make a positive difference, the Belfast Coin will strengthen their connection to the city they live in.

“Belfast Coin will make a tremendous contribution to the city’s development – economically, socially, environmentally and beyond,” said Amos Meiri, Colu’s CEO and co- founder. “Just as importantly though, 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.”

The Belfast Coin initiative – a first for Northern Ireland – has been made possible thanks to Belfast’s membership of 100 Resilient Cities, a global network funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, which helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

“As Belfast looks to the future, a chief concern will be maximizing important assets like its high quality of life, while reducing a range of challenges including the social and economic disparities which exist between residents,” said Lina Liakou, Managing Director for Europe & the Middle East at 100 Resilient Cities. “The Belfast Coin is an innovative example of how the city, throughout its resilience process to date, has partnered with its public, private, and individual stakeholders to catalyse inclusive economic growth and build a strong future for the entire urban community.”