The Belfast City Council and Israeli payment firm, Colu have partnered to explore the use of digital currencies to boost the city economy. ‘Belfast Coin’ will operate as a rewards platform, encouraging the Belfast public towards “impactful behaviors” to improve the city. Residents will accumulate Belfast Coins in return for activities such as shopping at local businesses, volunteering, and civic activity. The digital currency will be accepted as payment at local businesses across the city.
Earlier this year, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program suggested that member cities work with Colu in establishing a city-wide currency. Belfast participated in a workshop at Colu’s Tel Aviv office, and is now pursuing the implementation of the city-wide currency.
Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor, Deirdre Hargey, said: “Being selected to be part of the city currency challenge means an important opportunity for Belfast. 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 the Council achieve other long-term goals, including environmental. 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.”
Lina Liakou, Managing Director for Europe and the Middle East at 100 Resilient Cities, added: “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. 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 catalyze inclusive economic growth and build a strong future for the entire urban community.”