Britain's Hull City Council is creating a bitcoin-like digital currency named 'HullCoin' to pay for people's voluntary work.
The move is in line with the city authority's plan to tackle poverty and boost the local economy. Struggling residents who carry out voluntary work will be paid HullCoins, which they can use to pay city taxes and rents. They may even buy fruits and vegetables with the coins.
Authorities are investigating the possibility of using the coins in high-street shops such as Asda.
The earnings in coins will not be taxed and will not affect any existing government benefits, as digital currencies are not treated as traditional currency in the country.
"The idea is that we'll provide it to people on low incomes for them to pay for things that they wouldn't otherwise be able to pay for, particularly food and fuel. It's a very different sort of project," Dave Shepherdson, the council's Financial Inclusion Support Officer, said.
HullCoin will be mined into existence and stored into a digital wallet just like other digital currencies. The city, which is using two Sapphire R9 290X graphic cards for mining, is expected to take about 10 to 12 weeks to mine enough coins to pay for the hardware, according to Shepherdson. The project will start once enough coins have been mined.
If the project becomes successful, the Council will act as a "digital bank of Hull." It will also allow the Council to provide other virtual currencies to its community.
HullCoin is formed as a hybrid of two other coins called FeatherCoin and Ven.