15th February 2016
The Exeter Pound have launched a crowdfund campaign today in order to prepare the way for the community currency to go digital.
Exeter launched its own paper currency in September 2015 and its reach has been growing ever since. There are now 131 local, independent businesses where shoppers can spend the local cash, and 9 exchange points across the city where the public can swap sterling for Exeter Pounds, at a 1:1 exchange rate.
But the scheme is already looking to the next stage in innovation: a digital Exeter Pound. Exeter Pound user Hannah Watson explains, “there is a limit to what you can do with paper notes. I took my van to the garage the other day and handed over 200 Exeter Pound notes. That’s okay as a one off, but I don’t really want to be carrying that much cash around with me all the time.”
With the digital currency, individual users would get their own accounts and be able to top them up online, then go and pay for items using an app or a text message. Users would also be able to pay online. The aim is to make the Exeter Pound even more accessible, with the digital currency working alongside the paper notes to get a wider audience.
To kickstart the process the organisers of the Exeter Pound have decided to launch a crowdfund to raise the capital needed to set up the system. Chair of the Board of Directors at the Exeter Pound, Gill Westcott said, “As with our launch last year, the crowdfunding campaign is a way that Exeter people can create something that will benefit us and our community. It’ll be a novel way to spend and take part in sustaining our own currency system. This is also a one-off chance to get unique rewards.”
The crowdfund will run until 4th April, giving people the opportunity to support the project during this time, in return for a host of exciting rewards; locally designed T-shirts and reusable shopping bags, limited edition notes and a hamper of local products are just some of the things on offer for a pledge. To find out more, go to the Exeter Pound website, where you can find a video celebrating the launch of the campaign, as well as more details about what going digital will mean for the local currency.
The Exeter Pound is a local currency run by the people of Exeter for the people of Exeter and works towards creating a monetary system which supports local jobs and livelihoods and the rich variety of businesses we have here today.