At the launch event and on the Brightoneers discussion board there's been some interest in the idea of using smartcard technology to create alternative currencies and other money systems in the city.
There are a huge number of possibilities. For example, local employers could partly pay employees in a local currency on a smartcard which can be spent in other local businesses, thus keeping more money flowing around the local economy and not disappearing into multinational corporate profits. Local retailers and other businesses could also use the card to create their own pre-pay, loyalty, cashback or other imaginative schemes. How about an alternative to the Starbucks pre-pay card that can be used in Brighton's independent coffee shops? You get the general jist. The idea is to build a platform on which anyone can build their own applications and schemes which all sit on one card. The card itself could be a staff identity or club membership card, or branded by individual business but still be compatible with all of the schemes in the city.
Daniel Webb is the man locally at the centre of all of this and has already met a lot people who have been working on similar ideas in the past. We are keen to get a pilot scheme up and running over the coming months. The idea is to build this out organically based on the needs of people and local businesses rather than being a top-down effort which we know has seen limited success in other partys of the country.
If you're interested in the idea then please come along to the meetup. Perhaps you're a local employer or a retailer who might like to participate in a pilot, or maybe you're just good at coming up with cool ideas. We'd love your help to start moving towards a plan for a pilot.
Can't make it? Join the discussion and stay up-to-date as the pilot is developed here: http://www.meetup.com/The-Brightoneers/messages/boards/thread/30085252