Various countries around the world are looking at ways to give Bitcoin and other virtual currencies a properly defined regulatory framework. While these talks and decisions will not materialise in the next few months, Scotland could be one of the first countries to create their own virtual currency. At least, that is what UK think-tank New Economics Foundation is proposing.
Own Bitcoin Clone to Solidify Independence?
The entire world, including a large part of the Bitcoin community worldwide, was eagerly looking forward to the Scottish independence referendum of last year. Scottish government officials felt it was an opportune time to become an independent nation, rather than being tied to the United Kingdom. An independence referendum was held, but despite it not being a success, debates about creating a self-sustained currency other than Pound Sterling have still not subsided.
“The fear of losing the pound was one of the decisive factors in the eventual result. But Scotland wouldn’t have to give up Sterling to introduce its own currency. And in fact, Holyrood [the Scottish parliament] already has the powers to introduce a new currency and payment system, which could operate alongside sterling while providing a number of new social and economic benefits.” – New Economics Foundation posted on their blog.
Scotland is a country proud of its inheritance, as the Scots have had a love/hate relationship with being part of the United Kingdom for many centuries. According to New Economics Foundation, Scotland is the perfect candidate to launch a new digital currency and cut all ties with the monetary system of the United Kingdom.
Should this idea come to fruition, Scotland’s Bitcoin clone could help boost local economies by levelling the playing field for smaller and medium-sized companies. Furthermore, using blockchain technology could provide social justice for all Scottish citizens, as it offers an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability.
ScotPound, as this new digital currency could be called, would have no use without the development of a proper payment system, which will aptly be called ScotPay. But ScotPay wouldn’t be a Bitcoin clone in the traditional sense, as New Economics Foundation wants to turn it into a non-convertible digital currency, which will only be issued in digital format.
That is not the only major difference between ScotPound and Bitcoin though, as Scotland’s digital currency-to-be would be issued by BancaAlba, a public body. It goes without saying that BancaAlba could very well be able to fully control the supply of ScotPound being released in circulation, which is exactly the opposite of what Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are trying to achieve.
Future Use Cases for ScotPound
Despite all of that, the idea of ScotPound sounds very interesting on paper, assuming it can be translated properly into the real world. According to New Economics Foundation, every citizen of Scotland should receive a 250 ScotPound dividend upon release, drawing similarities to the release and airdrop of AuroraCoin in Iceland last year. Unfortunately, Auroracoin wasn’t much of a success in the long run.
But there would be valid benefits to Scottish business and consumers as well, as ScotPound would not invoke banking and credit card fees for either party. Additionally, the plan is to make ScotPound available for every citizen in a convenient manner, either through a mobile app or text message. For those unable to use either form of technology, a voice recognition system would be put in place.
All in all, there is still a lot of work to be done before ScotPound will become a reality. Proposing this idea is one thing, but there are still a lot of blank spaces that need to be filled in. Even if this idea is not realised, the debate regarding Scotland’s independence from the GBP is not over by a long shot. Worst case scenario, the proposal of ScotPound spurs another round of discussion about currency and money in the country.
Source: New Economics Foundation Blog
Images courtesy of New Economics Foundation, Shutterstock