Barcelona Local Currency Use Case
- ATARCA aims to test anti-rivalry in Barcelona through the adoption of a responsible social currency in local communities. We consider the adoption of this currency anti-rival in itself: the more people that use it, the larger the amount of anti-rival transfer and sharing interactions occurring that accompany the currency transactions.
- In order to do this, NOVACT, the promoter of Barcelona’s social currency REC, will work together with Rezero, a foundation that encourages Zero Waste among local shops in the region of Catalonia, to enhance the REC technology to meet the needs of the Rezero network.
- This anti-rival approach to currency requires the participation of local stakeholders such as shop owners, local producers, consumers, and neighborhood associations. Because of the importance of the local community in this use case, we will utilize participatory design measures to develop tools that meet the needs of its users.
REC (Real Economy Currency)
- The REC (Real Economy Currency) is Barcelona’s social currency. It is a citizen exchange system complementary to the euro, allowing transactions in a community between individuals, institutions and businesses that accept it. The REC (Ɍ) is an exclusively digital currency and can be used with a mobile app.
- Social currencies favor local businesses, and the profits revert to the community. The main objective of the REC is to make it easier for money to remain in the area with the view of developing the local economy and relations between the local community and increasing the economic and social vitality of the districts:
- Money stays in the district and circulates locally
- Local trade is reinforced, and streets do not become deserted
- Networks involving residents, businesses and institutions are reinforced, creating social cohesion
- The social currency was created as part of the socially innovative B-MINCOME pilot project, in which part of public spending is channeled through the social currency in the Eix Besòs area. The REC is now expanding to other areas of the city, willing to become more broadly used.
- Rezero is a foundation that creates knowledge and promotes innovative ideas, regulations and projects so that both companies, public administrations and citizens can have the opportunity to enjoy a model of production and consumption towards Zero Waste, without toxic materials or products that are left without use.
- One of the projects is Comerç Verd, an initiative designed to identify and promote those local shops that sell environmentally friendly products. This network has shops in Catalonia and around 400 in Barcelona.