Belfast to introduce digital currency that lets residents earn rewards to spend in local shops

Belfast coin app
JUST REWARDS: Belfast Coin rewards and payments platform aims to encourage good citizenship

Belfast City Council has partnered with Israel-based Colu for the launch of Belfast Coin, a city-wide rewards and payment platform that enables participants to earn rewards for taking part in ‘good citizen’ activities such as shopping at local businesses, volunteering and recycling.

Colu’s mobile payment app already operates in east London and in Liverpool in the UK and in Haifa and Tel Aviv in Israel. Belfast, however, will be the first city to include the ability for users to receive a reward for positive actions, such as spending locally and boosting the environment, Colu told NFC World.

Once the digital currency goes live later this year, residents in Belfast will be able to download the Colu app, which is powered by blockchain technology, and register their details to start earning Belfast Coins.

Each ‘coin’ will be worth £1 and can be used to buy items in participating shops, restaurants or businesses, according to Belfast City Council. Users can also connect a payment card to the app, Colu says.

A video shows how the service will benefit Northern Ireland’s capital city and the ways in which residents are expected to be able to earn rewards:

Belfast is one of six cities working to establish a city-wide currency as part of work with 100 Resilient Cities, a global network funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

“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,” said Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey.

Work has now begun on signing up partners for the project as well as stakeholders such as large employers and higher educational institutions to help encourage Belfast Coin take-up.

In Tel Aviv, Colu has been adopted by around a quarter of the city’s population, the company says.

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