EEECoin - crypto for good

Monday 21 September 2015

EEECoin is an interesting new initiative that combines digital money and social enterprise.

Eeesafe is a UK-based social enterprise that runs local hubs to recycle and restore white goods. By training those without jobs to repair appliances, the outfit has a three-fold focus on the Environment, Economy and Employment. Now, they are launching their own digital currency, EEECoin. So what's the deal?

Read also: Is bitcoin really Positive Money?

As might be expected, this isn’t just a cryptocoin, it’s a social digital currency. The idea is to foster the niche economies of the Eeesafe hubs, which repair white goods and give people much-needed skills and employment in the process.

White goods

eeesafe rescues white goods from their graveyards and gives them a new lease of life (Simon Gray, Flickr)

It’s an idea that will appeal to many bitcoiners and those in the crypto world, because eeesafe has a strong emphasis on the alternative economy. ‘If we’re going to move away from Cash dependency, then we need to build the reserves of a community owned bank. We can all do that as residents of where we live by selling and purchasing items, services and food via the national LocalitEEE Community Shop, where a Social value is automatically calculated and driven by the seller of the products or services. To transition us to a local or global society without using any cash, both prices are available.’

It’s a strategy employed by many bitcoin businesses, which price goods both in fiat and BTC. Aside from goods and services, you can buy EEECoins and donate them or trade them for volunteering - though the rate is controlled so they’re not subject to normal market forces. They’re a little like local currencies like the Totnes pound, but like (most) cryptos, they are outside of the control of the government or banks, and therefore represent an independent economy. 

Step by step

Robert Alexander, founder of eeesafe, explained a little more about how the project would evolve, from a centralised solution to a more 'traditional' crypto approach. 'The EEECoin is only on our own site at the moment, with SSL and encryption in place on any Community Banks we create and in our Central Bank. We plan to move it to Wallet Technology as businesses engage with it. Whether that will be a central server or on local systems, hasn't yet been fully decided. The rate is fixed on our system and we're not turning it into cash, so it becomes pretty steady.' That may change in the future, he says, with local rates. 'The main benefit of a local rate is a local economy and its policy drivers and who puts real cash investment into the system.'

In keeping with the social business's approach, he says, EEECoin is recyclable. 'It stays in the System. Our LocalitEEE Platform, where the currency exists has a full Sharing Element as well.' The idea is to incentivise activity within the area of interest, using the dedicated currency to foster growth and interest.

What's significant about this is that it's a transitional system that gradually moves away from the use of cash, rather than replacing it at a stroke. 'There are proponents of this concept out there, such as Positive Money so it remains to see how the market reacts.' This is particularly interesting to me given the attention I've paid to the Positive Money campaign, and one of the weaknesses I see in their approach, which is further to centralise money creation, whilst this is exactly the opposite. If you want to find out more about the project, take a look at this presentation.

EEECoin is one of a number of broader use cases for crypto that involve supporting projects, companies and local economies by means of a dedicated currency or reward token. This, I believe, will be one of several major use cases for crypto in the coming years, as organisations cotton on to the benefits of issuing reward points that can be freely traded and used in collaboration not only with their own outfit but with selected partners. There’s huge power in that idea - the local currency for the global economy. 

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