Two key innovations feed into and set the scene for this article on digital currency options for an independent Scotland:
In short they both define a common, shared infrastructure that would facilitate a number of digital services used across Scotland’s digital economy, with the overlap being digital money – The Blockchain facilitates currencies like Bitcoin et al, what could be one of the methods utilized by the payments service.
The Common Weal offer a report that sets the overall national transformation such a platform could provide, in their report the Case for a Scottish Payments System.
Very importantly the report articulates a ‘target architecture’, an end goal for transformation efforts that realize significant benefits and cost savings for Scotland, achievable through replacing the commercial banks and credit card processors with a non-profit entity, meaning those vast profits are reinvested back into the social needs of the country.
A Scottish Digital Currency
To the point of this article it would also mean that:
“payment infrastructure was already in place in the event of a vote for independence. As the Scottish government would already have control of payments in the digital economy the switch-over from Sterling to a Scottish currency would be easier as the technology would be under the Scottish government’s control to allow this to happen.”
In his video blog Alastair Caithness, CEO of Ziyen Energy, a technology-driven company focused on the tokenization of energy infrastructure assets, explores this scenario.
He starts by highlighting how George Osborne had said the Scottish electorate would be unable to use the Pound and thus Scotland would have no currency at all, scaring many voters. Alastair disputes this, saying any one can choose to use any other currency, highlighting examples like Panama using the US Dollar.
From 3:20 he moves on to describing how since the 2014 vote the use of digital currencies has exploded, and it explains key concepts like ‘stablecoins‘ that could underpin a national scheme. He proposes Scotland could launch their own digital currency, the ‘ScotCoin’ (a project that already exists) and could be paid via this method for their key exports like water and energy, citing countries already doing this like Saudi Arabia.
This article only scratches the surface of the myriad of use cases that a common Blockchain platform could enable, a multitude of others are possible, but even with only those describing a wholesale transformation of Scotland’s democracy and government service delivery infrastructure, it is clear just how breathtakingly wide and deep this transformation could be.