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. belfast coin
Colu’s mobile payment app already operates in East London and 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.
Belfast Coin is expected to be launched across the city later this year. Among its initial impacts, Belfast Coin will encourage people to shop at independent businesses in the city’s Cathedral Quarter. By offering Belfast Coins as an incentive, it is hoped that residents will increasingly choose to shop with local businesses. Belfast Coin will also be used to motivate increased green activity, improving the local environment.
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.