A UK city has become possibly the first to launch a local cryptocurrency for local people. HullCoin has been coined by Hull City Council to help local residents affected by the recession and government cuts.
Residents in financial difficulty take part in voluntary activities and are paid in HullCoin, a local version of digital currencies like Bitcoin. HullCoin can then be redeemed at a local food bank, for example.
"It's about people on low incomes, in financial distress, being able to subsidise to an extent and complement their incomes," Dave Shepherdson of Hull City Council told David Gilson of CoinDesk this week. "As the currency matures, we can extend, so people can pay their rent and utilities, (or) pay for food through this sort of service."
Because cryptocurrencies are not officially considered currency in the UK, the HullCoin payments do not affect residents' benefits.
HullCoin is a combination of cryptocurrencies Feathercoin and Ven, which is a lower value but more stable digital currency. Hull City Council is mining currency using computers paid for by a donation from a mysterious benefactor, on condition that the windfall was used to help the people of Hull.
Kingston upon Hull is a city of around a quarter of a million people in Yorkshire in the north-east of England. Named as the UK City of Culture for 2017, Hull is notable in technology circles for being the only city in this green and pleasant land with its own independent telephone network, complete with unique cream phone boxes and its own local broadband provider, Karoo.
Although not yet recognised under British law, the best-known digital currency Bitcoin is accepted in some shops, bars and pubs -- but mostly insufferable hipster ones. In the US, digital currency ATMs have sprung up, and recently took to the track with Dogecoin sponsoring a NASCAR racer.