Just over a year after Scotland rejected independence from the UK in a national referendum, thereby retaining the pound sterling as its currency, a member of parliament for the Scottish National Party (SNP) has called for his country to begin experimenting with digital currency. George Kerevan, MP for East Lothian, said that a bitcoin-like currency could help overcome Scotland's reliance on the pound.
Kerevan, who also serves on the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, made the comments during an event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen this week. His proposal centres around a recently published report by the New Economics Foundation that suggested a new digital currency called the ScotPound could be introduced by the Scottish Parliament.
The report claimed that a new currency and payment system would provide a number of new social and economic benefits to Scotland, while still operating alongside sterling. The ScotPound proposal stated that a 250 ScotPound dividend would be given to each Scottish citizen, similar to Aurora "airdrop" that saw citizens of Iceland receive sums of an unofficial national cryptocurrency.
"I am absolutely in favour of experimenting," Kerevan told Buzzfeed News. "If you wish to persuade people there are alternatives to using sterling, one way of doing that, rather than having an intellectual debate, is to show people.
"What we need to do now is have a debate, a discussion, on what the alternative [to the pound] is. Whether that's a separate currency, sterlingisation, keeping the pound but doing our own thing - it has to begin with a discussion. That debate is beginning to happen."
According to some economists, Scotland would provide a perfect testing ground for a new digital currency and it is not the first time that a national digital currency has been proposed for the country. In the build up to last year's referendum, an unofficial national cryptocurrency called Scotcoin made waves after its creators said it could replace the pound.
"I think cryptocurrencies will prove invaluable in the future, especially following impending issues with respect to the existing system," Scotcoin founder Derek Nisbet told IBTimes UK. "For those that are aware, they are 100% behind initiatives like scotcoin but there is still a long way to go to gain awareness with the mainstream."