Interview: Coindesk – Bitcoin and Brixton£
While the Brixton Pound and bitcoin are both alternative currencies that don’t rely on the Bank of England, they attract users for different reasons.
“In reality, bitcoin tends to appeal to a very different crowd. Local currencies are all about building community ties, whereas bitcoin[…] is focused on preserving personal autonomy and personal wealth,” he said.
Leander Bindewald, a researcher on complementary currencies at the New Economics Foundation, also noted that because bitcoin and local currencies appeal to such different constituencies, the cryptocurrency hasn’t translated into gains for local units of exchange.
“Bitcoin’s big user community has never merged with a local community. [Local currencies] are intrinsically different from bitcoin,” he said.
For all the differences between something like bitcoin and the Brixton Pound, though, digital currencies may still be aiding the adoption of local currencies in an indirect way.
Bindewald believes bitcoin’s prominence has helped push questions about regulation to the forefront for policy makers. The spotlight may be on bitcoin, but some of it is reflecting onto local currencies too.
“Policy makers are realising that bitcoin is asking questions they can’t answer. In this case, it’s great because bitcoin is challenging the paradigm.”
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