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Viladecans develops own currency to boost the local economy

What is more, Vilawatt only works for companies committed to sustainable development

  • April 11, 2020 17:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium vilawatt currency
Source: Vilawatt project / Urban Innovative Actions

Viladecans is testing an innovative way to give a boost to its local economy while stimulating citizens and companies to commit to the principles of sustainable development. Its rather interesting creation – the Vilawatt social currency – is facing a bright future in an increasingly digitalised world, according to its creators.

European funding for local innovations

Vilawatt project has been developed as part of an EU-funded project through the Urban Innovative Actions mechanism. The project’s objective: to establish a new joint structure formed by citizenship, companies and the City Council and create an integrated energy operator for more efficient energy management.

Now, ViIlawatt does not exist in isolation from the project and it does not replace the euro but is rather complementary to it. It is focused on environmental protection and energy transition.

The currency was developed with an online banking application – Cyclos payment software. The electronic money is managed by an electronic money entity, secured by the Bank of Spain. One Vilawatt is exchangeable for one euro and has the ambition to become for use at the public administration – to pay taxes, fees and other services.

Why local currency?

Vilawatt’s existence in the Catalan city of Viladecans is motivated by four main objectives:

  • Stimulate the local economy: its authors want to get the currency to circulate around the community and limit the capital flow leaving the city boundaries. This has the potential to multiply the economic effect of the currency, they believe.
  • Social value and energy sustainability: only those businesses that adopt certain sustainability criteria can acquire vilawatts. Therefore, if a business owns some, it signals to its clients and other businesses that it is committed to protecting the environment.
  • Environmental protection: among others, the project wants to make the economy circulate at the local level, which means fewer emissions and reduced ecological footprint.
  • Finally, Vilawatt wants to inspire trade policies, such as special discounts for using the currency and eventually – increased turnover for those businesses that are using it.

The currency has already started operating and users can sign up to the platform and begin making economic transactions in vilawatts. For the future, the project authors are planning to test how the digital wallet works with blockchain technology.

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