A Czech town has launched a scheme whereby residents are being given money to spend in shops and cafes badly hit by COVID-19 lockdowns, in the form of digital vouchers being marketed as a special local currency, according to Reuters.
Up to 2,000 residents of Kyjov are each being given 400 crowns ($19) worth of “corrents”, a name blending the words for “coronavirus” and “currency”, to spend at 40 businesses including shoe shops, a pharmacy and a burger joint.
When they make a purchase under the scheme, participants pay for half of it with corrents and the other half with their own money.
The scheme is low-tech for consumers. They register online for a corrents account. When they make a purchase, all they need to do is either give their national ID card number to the business, or use a code delivered via a text message.
The business then sends a text message to the system, which automatically transfers the relevant quantity of corrents from the customer’s account to its own account. The business then get the corrents converted into crowns, usually the next day.
The country’s central bank classifies the Kyjov scheme as a local system of electronic discount vouchers, and therefore not a matter of concern for the monetary authority.
The Kyjov scheme is being funded to the tune of 800,000 crowns by a private individual who does not wish to be named.
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