Cryptocurrency Scotcoin joins forces with ethical firms to launch 'alternative retail economy'

The company behind Scottish cryptocurrency Scotcoin is joining forces with ethical businesses to launch an “alternative retail economy” as the high street battles seismic change.

The Scottish Design Exchange (SDX) will be the first organisation to reward customers with Scotcoin for purchases at its retail outlets in Glasgow and Edinburgh and via its online store.

SDX, which operates as a social enterprise, is aiming to introduce enough of its peer-to-peer currency into circulation to provide a simpler and less expensive way of doing business for charities and third sector organisations and their customers.

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As well as SDX, the Scotcoin Project is poised to announce partnerships with a range of other community interest companies, including an ethical travel agent.

Lynzi Leroy, chief executive of SDX, which has distributed some £3.5 million to 300 artists since it was launched in 2015, said the partnership was a good fit because both companies share the same values.

On the launch day of the joint venture on July 31, design exchange customers will be given free Scotcoin for any purchase they make in-store or online. For every £25 customers spend, they will receive 500 Scotcoin to retain as an investment or to cash-in when the cryptocurrency is launched on one of the main exchanges.

Temple Melville, director of Scotcoin Project CIC, said: “We are delighted to have SDX on board as our first partnered community interest company. In the coming weeks and months, we will announce many more.

“Our mission is to have as many people as possible holding Scotcoin, in preparation for it becoming routinely transactable.

“Digital currencies are empowering to people who don’t necessarily have very much. There is more liquidity, so you don’t need to have £100 on your bank statement; there is no inflation as such – if anything, they are mildly deflationary which means they become worth more rather than less.”

Lynzi Leroy, chief executive of SDX, which has distributed some £3.5 million to 300 artists since it was launched in 2015, said the partnership was a good fit because both companies share the same values.

“As social enterprises, we are committed to empowering people within their communities and we’re confident that, together, we can do so much more,” she added.

“We’re focused on helping Scotcoin get more of the cryptocurrency into circulation because, the more it is bought and used, the greater is the value to users.

“We are also delighted about the sponsorship of one of our young artists. We have some highly talented people who sell through our outlets but few if any have had business training and they often need help to commercialise their products.

“Having a successful company supporting them until they find their feet is a tremendous boon and could really see things take off for them.”

Unlike most art galleries, SDX does not charge commission on items sold. Tenants pay a fixed fee to rent space.

The venture recently opened a new gallery on Edinburgh’s George Street, having moved from the exchange’s launch store in Ocean Terminal, Leith. The new store, which covers more than 650 square metres of retail space, provides an opportunity to showcase the work of up to 180 artists – compared with 120 at Ocean Terminal.

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