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  1. ITV Report

Bristol Pound's digital currency under threat

The company behind the Bristol Pound currency says it may have to stop offering its digital service beyond March 2020 if it can't secure further funding.

The Bristol Pound was first launched in 2012 as a way to keep money in the local economy, by spending it with independent traders. It is now the largest local currency scheme in the UK.

The Bristol Pound CIC is completely reliant on grant funding to maintain and invest in its current operations which - according to the company behind it - costs on average around £150,000 a year.

But it now says it recognises the need to create a new payment product fit for the new decade and is focusing development work on the next phase of the Bristol Pound project.

While that happens, the existing digital scheme will close down in March if funding is not found.

Credit: Bristol Pound CIC

In an ideal world, we would continue the current Bristol Pound digital currency until we have the new platform up and running, to maintain the momentum of our work.

– Diana Finch, Managing Director, Bristol Pound CIC

The Bristol Pound CIC says everything will continue to operate as normal until at least the end of March.

But if extra funding isn't secured by then, the accounts held by the Bristol Credit Union will start reverting to sterling.

Credit: Bristol Pound CIC

All money held in £B is safe, and the scheme will continue to operate as normal until at least the end of March. We will manage any winding down of the scheme carefully and continue to communicate openly with all our members.

– Diana Finch, Managing Director, Bristol Pound CIC