The Ubiquat company, headquartered in Citilab, develops the social currency of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Viladecans
The collaborative economy is a reality that is increasingly present in the post-crisis society. Volunteering, community relations or exchange are concepts that have been spreading, although they are not new. One of the initiatives incorporated into this trend is the social currency, which some municipalities are beginning to implement. Ubiquat, based in Citilab, is one of the pioneers in developing this system and is already working on projects in Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Viladecans, where it is currently under preliminary study.
What is the social currency?
The social or complementary currency is the instrument of a network of exchanges of goods and services, which can take various forms. It is an internal currency or means of voluntary acceptance exchange, which is used to promote social and / or commercial projects. The goal is usually to stimulate the economy and / or social relationships within a community.
The WIR, the oldest complementary currency in the world, was born to make the economy grow. It was created by a cooperative of SMEs in Switzerland, more than 80 years ago, and is still valid, with 60,000 affiliated companies. Companies use this currency to trade between them, thereby increasing liquidity and demand within the network of affiliated companies. It is a currency that corrects the mistakes of the traditional economic system, providing financing to SMEs when banks close the credit tap. That is, in times of crisis, which is when it is most needed.
Several studies have found that this complementary currency has had a macro-economic impact in Switzerland, and that could be the secret of the stability of the SME sector in that country. This same system or similar ones can be applied to any type of initiative, whether economic or not. In fact, for years now we use – even on a smaller scale – similar concepts, such as loyalty points for supermarkets or restaurant tickets.
Ubiquat has developed the social currency project that is being restored in Santa Coloma. Those responsible, Jaume Catarineu, Andreu Honzawa and Josep Fígols, have been working to create a project that is very much aimed at the promotion of local commerce. The city council has launched the Grama currency, with which citizens can pay to businesses in the city. In this case, on the contrary that in the WIR, the Gramas can be finished exchanging for euros.
In Viladecans there is also another initiative of local currency, in this case with an objective of energy saving. A new public-private collaboration energy operator will be created, made up of citizens, companies and city council, and the one that saves can be converted into Vilawatts, a local currency that can be used in local commerce or to invest In the energy efficiency of buildings or homes.
Ubiquat also gives technical support to the social currency “La Turuta” of Vilanova i la Geltrú, the first in Spain that has achieved the inclusion in the tax ordinances of the City Council payment of a part of the municipal taxes in social currency, in particular taxes related to the council of the environment.