As the UK rumbles towards its referendum on membership in the European Union, the controlling party in the Scottish Parliament, the nationalist SNP, is also moving towards a second referendum for Scotland to leave the UK should the result see the UK leave the EU.
One of the stumbling blocks for an independent Scotland has been the lack of its own currency. However, a potential solution is being put forward that would use cryptocurrency technology to provide the answer.
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Although the referendum for Scotland to leave the UK was only taken a year ago, the specter of a UK exit from the EU is coming closer as a national referendum on that issue is coming soon. Scotland previously chose to remain with the UK, but the vote was much closer than people realize. One of the main stumbling blocks for the Nationalist SNP party who headed the move for Scotland to become independent was that of a currency. Retaining monetary union with Britain was ruled out, and that left few unpalatable options for a fledgling independent Scotland.
However, work has continued with shaping the policies that could deliver a new, independent Scotland, and economists at the New Economic Foundation (NEF) are now suggesting that digital currency could be the answer. This proposal would make Scotland the first country in the world to create its own digital currency. But beyond the innovation of such an idea, what is the reasoning?
There are several benefits. First, it could be implemented in tandem with, and as a compliment to, the current use of GBP sterling. This means it is a solution that could be employed now to create a currency solution for possible independence at some point in the future should it be needed, rather than having to find a solution at the point of independence as was previously suggested. Secondly, it could be implemented quickly -between one and three years, according to many estimations - much faster than other solutions and with little penalty for the Scottish people at all.
It is an important step in cryptocurrency evolution that this is a serious proposal for an entire country. That it is being considered at all is just one more indication of the types of restrictions that traditional currency places on consumers, business, and government.