In a bid to counteract the economic devastation from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lebrija City Council – a city located in Seville, Spain – have launched a stimulus-type initiative to allocate a total of €500,000 in a new virtual currency to local families and businesses.
As reported by Diario de Seville, the ‘Reactiva Lebrija Plan’ is a collaboration between the Lebrija City Council, the delegate of New Technologies, David Pérez and the presidents of the Apyme Lebrija Association, Miguel Marín, and of Merchants of the Plaza de Abasto, Pepe Navarro.
The scheme will see almost 600 families will receive between €20 ($24.50) and €200 ($244.96) of a new virtual currency ‘Elio’ – which is equal to a single Euro – to be spent in local businesses until the deadline of 31st March 2021.
The stimulus payment will be granted through the Elio mobile application, a platform where users will gain instructions on utility and usability, as well as an easy-access list of the 165 local businesses that currently accept the currency.
As a part of the scheme, 393 local businesses will also receive monetary relief of €400 each paid before the end of the year.
“The creation of this virtual currency will guarantee that the aid received reverts directly to local businesses.”
Covid-19 has provided the unfortunate, yet perfect opportunity to pilot test the real-world utility of virtual currencies. Individuals and businesses have been left without sustainable income, many facing legal action over faltered expenses.
Discussion have circulated in recent years about the upsides of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to negate the economic catastrophes such as the one we are currently experiencing. This hypothesis was spearheaded into the mainstream conversation by 2020 democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Just today, the United States House of Representatives passed the votes for a second stimulus check to support American households during the pandemic, with an expectation that the Senate will further increase from the $2,000 proposed.
Image of Lebrija from Visitar Seville site.