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Digital Currencies Innovation

DCC-Brighton-RGBOn Wednesday 18th we held a Digital Catapult Centre Brighton Taster Event in conjunction with Sussex Innovation Centre (SINC) around the theme of Digital Currencies. We heard from three local businesses working within the area of alternative, complementary and crytocurrencies; Good Money, MetaLair and Microexpert.

David Porter, event host at Sussex Innovation Centre (SINC) says: “We were delighted with the attendance of the Digital Currencies event held this week at The Sussex Innovation Centre in partnership with the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton. Particularly impressive was the level of knowledge in the room proving that Brighton & Hove is a hotspot for this new digital sector.

Thanks to Good Money's Mick Taylor we considered what the philosophical meaning of money is and how the very nature of money may change in the future. We were then treated to two very different views as to what innovations will allow digital currencies to become more widespread. Whether it will be Microexpert in Worthing with a digital cash solution or MetaLair's solution to decentralised currency exchanges, one was left with a feeling that something big is emerging from Sussex's fledgling Digital Currency sector.”

Here, Dr. Mick Taylor from Good Money, a speaker at the event, explores concepts and conversations from the event, sharing his key takeaways from speakers and from the evening overall, at the event.

Data from the Bank of England shows that 97% of £sterling is now digital cash issued by private banks whenever they extend credit, and only 3% is physical cash created by the Bank of England. In other words, nearly all of the UK money supply is loaned into existence, and interest is charged. This form of usury means we’re paying interest on 97% of all the £sterling in existence, which leads to a systemic scarcity of money – there is always more money owed than exists.

The ongoing financial crisis that started in 2008 highlighted the lack of systemic financial resilience. We are completely dependent on the banking sector, as they are in fact the creators of our money. When things went wrong, they literally were ‘too big to fail’, as without them we would have no way of creating the money we needed to function as a society.

To address this lack of resilience, we need to reduce our dependency on the traditional financial sector by finding new ways of creating money. These new forms of money can have different properties, and can be designed to work for people and planet rather than power and profit, if the will exists. There is currently a big buzz around the complementary currency sector, as secure mobile digital networks make it possible to innovate as never before. We talked about a few examples of complementary currencies in particular, including:

Bitcoin – a cryptocurrency operating on a decentralized ledger (the block chain)
• Mutual credit – interest-free credit issued into networks of organisations looking to trade with each other. Successful examples include Sardex in Sardinia and C3U in Uruguay
Torekes – a community currency in Ghent, Belgium, designed to enable the members of a disadvantaged neighborhood to come together to improve the place they live, while getting the things they want, such as allotment plots.

The complementary currency space is very exciting. It is an emerging field, and new models of money are created all the time. One thing that successful currencies and other financial innovations have in common is that they set out to solve a real world problem. As such, the dry world of finance and money can find a real purpose in transforming how people live together on both a global and local level.

currencies overview


MetaLair are working on the challenge of decentralized solution to currency exchange. This would make it easier for people to use different currencies by reducing the dependency on third parties such as banks.

David Everett from Microexpert highlighted some of the properties of physical cash – anonymity, equality and lack of memory and zero transaction fees being a few examples. He talked about his mission to produce Tibado, which is a digital cash product that closely mimics the characteristics of physical cash.

Goodmoney CIC's talk put digital currencies in a wider context of money itself. Money, whether it be digital, physical, fiat or virtual, only has value through the network of users who will accept it in return for goods and services. In other words, money is, in essence, a trust network – people who will hold a certain type of money in an act of faith that they will be able to exchange if for something of real value in the future.

Mick and fellow director Dan Webb set up Goodmoney CIC in Brighton to introduce complementary currencies to help build a more thriving and resilient community. We are working towards a mutual credit system for Brighton & Hove, as well as developing a timebank to help tackle social exclusion and wasted capacity.

To begin with, Good Money are launching Goodmoney Gift Vouchers in September. These are designed to divert some of the estimated £20m spent annually on gift cards and vouchers in Brighton & Hove away from high street department stores, into a network of independent local businesses.

Not only does this benefit the local economy by helping independent local businesses access a new lucrative market, it also builds the trust network necessary to introduce new complementary currencies in order to build systemic financial resilience.

Goodmoney is free for independent local businesses to join, and you can find out more about Goodmoney Gift Vouchers by watching their short animated video.

By Mick Taylor, Co-Founder, Goodmoney

@DrMickTaylor @goodmoneyUK

Click here to find out about other events we’re running over the next couple of months for our members, and others, to understand more about how the Brighton Catapult Centre can help unlock opportunities for SMEs, big business, public sector and academia to collaborate and create new value for the Coast to Capital area.

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