George Kerevan, a Member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party, has suggested the introduction the “ScotPound,” a digital currency like Bitcoin, which would help alleviate Scotland’s heavy reliance on the British pound. The idea first came from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), an independent economic think-tank.
Last year’s referendum on Scottish independence has kickstarted an intellectual debate on the currency along with Scotland’s relationship to it. Researchers Duncan McCann and Josh Ryan-Collins of in the NEF published in a proposal, which which states, “Scotland is perfectly placed to create a new digital currency and payment system,” and that “such a scheme could stimulate local economies, create a level playing field for small businesses, and support social justice for all its citizens.”
Neither Kerevan nor the NEF is suggesting that Scotland completely sever ties with the pound; rather, a “new payment system could operate alongside sterling and provide social and economic benefits that complement the continued use of the UK’s national currency.”
The document addresses the merits of a choice in currency: “Digital innovation has opened up exciting possibilities for new kinds of money and exchange,” and that “Scotland, like the rest of the UK, would benefit from a pluralist monetary system that includes forms of money not based on bank debt creation to mitigate the worst consequences of the current system and create a more diverse and resilient economy.”
NEF states many economical and social boosts could be gained from the introduction of ScotPound, all under £3 million and without adding to the UK deficit. ScotPound would initially be introduced with 1 billion ScotPound distributed to every Scottish citizen, similar to what “country” currencies like Auroracoin were trying to achieve in Iceland and its airdrop.
The potential benefits of implementing ScotPound are far-reaching. Besides increasing the purchasing power of every Scottish resident with virtually no downside to the existing financial infrastructure, local business would likely boom due to lower costs associated with payment systems. Furthermore, money would become socially inclusive, as it would be accessible to all with a phone or internet access.