Hull City Council is looking at the possibility of introducing a bitcoin-like currency, in an attempt to “alleviate and reduce the level of poverty.”
The digital currency would be used to pay those carrying out voluntary work and, because it doesn’t class as currency by the HMRC or DWP, people wouldn’t be taxed on it.
The Hullcoin digital currency could be used to pay rent, council tax or even goods – subject to approval by local businesses.
The research has been undertaken by Hull’s Financial Inclusion Forum, which explained that the currency would enable those on lower incomes to pay for things they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford. However, they have highlighted some potential problems, particularly if online exchanges were set up to try and convert the digital currency into real money.
“The Council welcomes the work being done by Hull’s Financial Inclusion Forum and recognises the possible benefits a scheme of this size could bring to the City to alleviate & reduce the level of poverty,” said a spokesperson for Hull City Council.
“However, at this stage Hull City Council has made no firm commitments to this scheme and, along with other partners, are in the process of assessing potential viability.”
The announcement was made by the Financial Inclusion Forum with Dave Sherpherdson saying that the currency could be up and running within weeks. He told the Coindesk blog that the council is actively mining the coins, with aspirations to ultimately have a Hull Bank for the currency.
The statement from the council continued, the information “originated from an internet blog and was not a formal announcement from the Council.”