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Wales launches cryptocurrency in bid to boost SMEs

By Ashley Norris

Pilot for the ‘Celyn’ draws inspiration from Sardinian mutual credit scheme

Wales has become the latest region to experiment with launching a local cryptocurrency.

The Welsh Government has awarded Circular Economy Wales £100,000 from its £4 million Foundational Economy Challenge Fund to create the system. The cash will cover a consultation and pilot scheme in North Wales.

The planned currency, the Celyn, will be based on a mutual credit system developed in Sardinia, called the Sardex, mainly used by small and medium sized businesses. It will enable Welsh businesses to exchange services without using standard payments systems.

"Wales is similar to Sardinia in that SMEs make up 99 per cent of our businesses, so this has the potential to significantly boost our economy,'' Eifion Williams, CEO of Circular Economy Wales, said.

It is hoped that the Celyn could boost the country’s economy by £250 million over the next decade.

Dr Paolo Dini, research fellow at the London School of Economics, a founder of the Sardex, believes the Celyn will be a significant success.

“The Sardex has been replicated successfully in many parts of Italy, so it’s very exciting to be able to pilot this in Wales. This will be the first replication outside of Italy,” he told Business Cloud UK.

“I think the similar economic factors bode well, our challenge will be ensuring that businesses understand the benefits.”

Other regions that have adopted their own cryptocurrencies include Iceland, which has the Auroracoin, and the Russian Sibcoin. Busan, South Korea's second-most populous city, is also considering a local cryptocurrency.

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