Polish town adopts stablecoin for local commerce

The Polish town of Mińsk Mazowiecki is launching a stablecoin that users can spend at local businesses. The so-called MinsCoin debuted alongside UrbanChange, a platform that launches USDC-backed stablecoins meant for local use in cities.

MinsCoin will offer a new method for people to engage with local businesses and community projects. The community-level digital currency in Mińsk Mazowiecki could provide insights into how such technologies can impact social interactions, economic participation and community solidarity.

UrbanChange co-founder Michael Mazur told Blockworks that up to 10 businesses in Mińsk Mazowiecki would support MinsCoin at launch, and he expects “many more” to join in the future. In a press release, UrbanChange said the currency is meant as a “shopper-friendly money” that will circulate locally in Mińsk Mazowiecki.

Israel-based Colu Technologies is the core contributor to UrbanChange. Colu has built apps for similar programs in several US cities. Residents of Houston can earn H-Points, Boston gives out Boston points, and Utica, NY has Halfmoons, to name a few. The Polish deployment is UrbanChange’s first in Europe, and the platform said it has plans to launch coins in other European cities as well as Jerusalem.

Interested communities can launch one of UrbanChange’s so-called LocalCoins by fronting 5,000 of the project’s UCT token, according to the project’s white paper.

Individuals can earn LocalCoins by taking part in initiatives meant to achieve some kind of desired social or economic end. Cities that want to promote healthy lifestyles or public transportation could give out LocalCoins for walking or taking the bus, for example.

Whitelisted businesses can receive payment in LocalCoins, and they can increase circulation of the tokens by transacting with other whitelisted businesses using the LocalCoin, the white paper says.

“We’re building an innovative blockchain hub in Mińsk Mazowiecki,” the city’s mayor Marcin Jakubowski said in a press release. “UrbanChange is a major part of our plans, with its ability to engage our community and reach our goals in the fields of sustainability, health and wellbeing, and social activism.

MinsCoin and other UrbanChange stablecoins are made possible by several Web3 partnerships, including ones with USDC, the Algorand blockchain and wallet-as-a-service provider Magic.

Mazur also told Blockworks that the protocol’s development roadmap includes plans for deployment on Ethereum layer-2 solutions, like Base.

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