The Big Interview: Temple Melville, chief executive of The Scotcoin Project CIC
Temple Melville is chief executive of The Scotcoin Project CIC, which says it promotes Scotcoin – “Scotland’s own ethical digital currency” – and helps to implement its use.
The Scotland-based businessman is a strong advocate both of the blockchain and decentralised currencies, and has been involved with Scotcoin since 2014, “helping to reposition it as an ethical [cryptocurrency] with a strong social and charity agenda” – and with its initial exchange offering set for the early part of 2022.
Mr Melville is billed as one of a handful of people in the UK certified as continuing professional development instructors for blockchain and the first in Scotland, and he gives talks to students, academics and industry professionals across the globe.
Additionally, his book Blockchain, Bitcoin and YOU is described as “a treasure trove of information for anyone with a curiosity about this new technology” by Fintech Scotland’s Stephen Ingledew.
Mr Melville – who was named after the village of Temple outside Edinburgh – attended the London School of Economics in the same era as Mick Jagger, adding accounting and marketing qualifications in later life, and a veteran of management consultancy.
Scotcoin describes itself as “Scotland’s first and only digital currency”. Can you give more details about what Scotcoin is and what its appeal is over other cryptocurrencies?
Scotcoin is a digital currency in the same way as Bitcoin or Ethereum. There are now more than 14,000 cryptocurrencies, so we have to have a use-case that appeals. That is why we have such a firm commitment to the charity sector and the desire to make all the people of Scotland better off. The use of Scotcoin within Scotland will, in my view, change the financial landscape for the better.
Regarding its clear mission to do good, why is that such a key priority, and how do you aim to achieve that?
It is critically important that we all do our utmost to help the disadvantaged, but equally in the wider world it is incumbent on us to “go green” and take the sustainable and circular-use paths. From the very start, we have concentrated on taking out waste and adding value.
A good example is a recent initiative we undertook where a manufacturer had tracksuits they were going to burn. We bought them for Scotcoin and were able to give them to [homelessness-focused charity] Emmaus in Glasgow. It was a win-win situation – the manufacturer didn’t have the cost of incineration and got value in Scotcoin, which they could use for their own added-value offerings or subsequently sell.
There are lots of things like this we could do and will do. We firmly believe that a generally available digital currency within a country such as Scotland is a major step forward in the digital world, offering huge possibilities. With more than 7,000 holders of Scotcoin, we already have a good basis for expansion.
Scotcoin is already being used in the Arlington Bar in Glasgow, the Scottish Design Exchange and has teamed up with social enterprise Greater Good Glass, while also eyeing property acquisition, for example. What is your outlook for more tie-ups, and how can Scotcoin help Scottish businesses?
There are lots of initiatives we are involved with, but I will mention just two. Firstly, we are the designated native token of Better Internet Search. They do away with all those annoying ads and emails after you have looked for something.
Secondly, we have a tie up with people called BBXuk.com. They have almost 500,000 members worldwide, and holders of Scotcoin will be able to buy their goods and services direct. As an example, it is possible for businesses to buy legal and accounting services, as well as marketing, accommodation, travel, mailing lists and lots of other things that could be useful to small and medium-sized enterprises. Even photocopiers!
What other esoteric things can you do with Scotcoin? You could buy a book from Leamington Press and watch as your roof is fixed by Asap Roofing, and have a film made of it too with Bad Pony Productions – all Scottish-based companies. I really like some of the weird combinations that might be possible!
You personally were an early adopter of crypto – how did you become interested in it, and convinced by its potential?
For my sins, amongst other things, I studied mathematics at university, and became very interested in cryptography [the study of secure communications techniques]. As an aside, one of the last things I learned there was about something called “sets.” These are the basis of computing. I was horrified to learn my nine-year-old grandson is already doing them!