Two residents of Angers dream of seeing a local cryptocurrency in Anjou, Angecoin, flourish. How would this citizens’ initiative work and what would it imply for its potential future users?
While one is an accountant and the other an engineer, the two friends share the desire to develop a local cryptocurrency in Angers. Together they find that state aid does not always reach the intended beneficiaries.
A complementary local currency (MLC) is a currency that can be used in a restricted territory and complementary to the legal tender currency (here the euro).
The MLCs have existed since the Middle Ages on French territory without bearing their name. There were indeed recognized currencies, which supplemented the royal currency.
In the Merovingian and Carolingian times in particular, the bishops seemed to have the right to have coins minted in their name. They have been given the name of “episcopal money”.
Like the euro in the zone of the same name, at that time they were legal tender. That is to say, they had to be accepted “by force” on the concerned bishopric.
We also recognize the existence in Angers of a coinage workshop under Charlemagne. Other evidence also shows the issue in Angers of triens (coin worth a third of a penny) and Angers deniers.
Deniers d’Angers – Source: Monnaie d’Antan
A cryptocurrency inspired by a local alternative
Angers already has a local currency: the Muse. It exists in the form of tickets ranging from 0.50 to 50 Muses according to the principle of 1 Muse = 1 €.
However, the Angevin MLC is melting. That is, its value depreciates at a fixed interval. Each year, the owners of banknotes devalued up to 2% per year, add paid stamps to the banknotes. This mechanism makes it possible to compensate for the devaluation, while keeping a note of the same face value. Other partner associations benefit from the revenues thus generated.
This mechanism makes it possible to strengthen the associative network of the territory and to avoid hoarding. To hoard is to immobilize wealth without having the will to spend it or make investments.
The Muse losing value every year, economic agents prefer to circulate it as quickly as possible without letting it sleep. It therefore fuels the local economy.
The muse. Source: MLCC
La Muse d’Angers – Source: MLCC
This operation is that of most local currencies which struggle to offer solutions that are easier to use and in tune with the times. They too often come up against the growing digitization of our cities and do not really succeed in establishing themselves as an attractive complement to the euro.
Even though MLCs exist in digital format like Eusko in the Basque Country, they do not offer as secure, decentralized and democratic potential as a blockchain-based solution.
How would the Angers cryptocurrency work: Angecoin?
Angecoin would likely adopt the characteristics of a euro-backed stablecoin. The citizens and traders of Maine-et-Loire could create their profile on a dedicated application.
A Know Your Customer (KYC) process would be put in place upon registration to certify the profiles as belonging to citizens of Maine-et-Loire. Transactions would be pseudonymized as on the Bitcoin network. However, the benefit of such operation would be negated by the need for a KYC. Angecoins should therefore be obtained through a donation to retain the full force of pseudonymity.
The two friends do not yet know if Angecoin will be a native cryptocurrency or a token issued on an existing network (like Ethereum for example), but the idea is to include traders and institutions in the operation as explained on their CryptoMS site.
Reduction and cashback systems at partner merchants would encourage citizens to use Angecoin.
Launching a local cryptocurrency on a blockchain would bring more decentralization. In addition, every decision relating to the evolution of Angecoin could be put to a vote from within the app, via a governance process. As the votes are certified thanks to the blockchain, this would have the effect of uniting citizens around the project and making it a powerful democratic tool for the city.