Scotcoin is Scotland's new digital currency. Scotcoin is based on Bitcoin, the world's best known digital (or crypto) currency, and like Bitcoin it can be used online and on smart-phones to make financial transactions. Scotcoin uses a form of digital ledger called The Blockchain, which requires no trusted third parties for exchange.
A bank uses a ledger to see how much money their customers have, and what is paid in and out. At the end of each day the ledgers all have to tally and every user's balance is apparent.
A blockchain is a public ledger of transactions, including cryptocurrency transactions, all verfied by a network of computers. This means that every single transaction is apparent, although they are all anonymised, so the only person that knows your balance is you. On top of this security, there are virtually no transaction charges - in fact the only cost cryptocurrencies like Scotcoin incur, is the electricty to power the computers around the world that process and verify transactions.
Yes, because money is anything that can be used as an exchange mechanism.
Over history, shells gem-stones and precious metals have been popular as money as they can be worn, making currency portable. Strange things used for money have included squirrel pelts, salt, tea but our favourite one is potato mashers. If you don't believe me and want to see more about the Bafia Potato Masher currency of Gabon, have a look here.
In the twentieth century, the large economies of the world released their currencies from 'The Gold Standard' which pegged the value of money in circulation to the physical entity of a centrally held stock of gold.
Now, we have a system know as 'fiat currency' - ('fiat' meaning 'let it be done' in Latin) in which centralised banks, such as The Bank of England and The Federal Reserve simply print more money whenever they and their resepctive governments feel it is needed. Many think this is dangerous as creating money on this scale can only lower its value. It also ties money creation to politics and since politics are influenced by lobbying, economic systems based on fiat currency are quite manipulable.
Unlike fiat currency, which can be created by changing a balance on a computer spreadsheet, there are an absolute amount of Scotcoin - one billion. Each Scotcoin is also divisible to eight decimal places. The total amount of Scotcoin will never change and will mean that Scotcoin's value will hold so long as it is used.
One of the reasons that fiat currency deflates (loses value) is that central banks are able to print more of it when governments feel it is needed. One outocme of this newly minted money is that government gets hold if it first, and are able to spend it while it still holds its value. But by the time this newly minted currency reaches the broader population, it has already started to lose its value.
One benefit of Scotcoin and similar blockchain-based money is that it reduces the need for banks and other financial institutions, as the blockchain verifies our transactions as having taken place. This means that a Scotcoin transaction is 'peer-to-peer', meaning there are no middle institutions such as banks.
You can consider a peer-to-peer transaction as being just like my giving you cash. If I give you a £10 note, no intermediary takes a cut. Further, I cannot get the note back without asking for you to return it. It is that simple.
Scotcoin is also versatile. To use other digital payment systems we must be online and have a credit card. In contrast Scotcoin can be sent offline via email or even SMS on a Nokia dumb-phone. For this reason, cryptocurrency promises a global and decentralised money system.
This can be of enormous benefit for people in developing countries. At the present time, cryptocurrency like Scotcoin has helped and even been awarded to asylum seekers in Europe, as usually they cannot access banking.
It's amazing how fast things move, but cryptocurrencies like Scotcoin make PayPal look pretty antiquated.
Like Bitcoin, a Scotcoin transcation exists virtually without fees. For example, a recent screenshot we've seen showed the fees incurred when selling 60 items on Ebay for €1 a piece. Of the €60.50 amount worth of payments received to the seller, PayPal’s cut was €17.59. Had a cryptocurrency like Scotcoin been used, the transactions fee would have been about €0.005.
Further, PayPal is linked to fiat currencies such as the GBP and the US dollar, which will continue to lose value over time. On top of that cryptocurrencies like Scotcoin are more private, not so much because they offer a degree of anonymity, but because there is not a burdensome collecting of name, address, phone number, bank account numbers and other sensitive data. Although PayPal has never been significantly hacked, the Blockchain cannot be hacked.
To use Scotcoin, you need to have a cryptocurrency 'wallet'. A 'wallet' is the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank account. It allows you to receive cryptyocurrency like Scotcoins, store them, and then send them to others. Your wallet can be online, or it can be stored on your own computer, or it can be a combination of both.
To use Scotcoin, there are a few wallets to chose from and there are links to those in this page (right). The process of setting up a wallet is easy.
Check out our (forthcoming!) videos on how to set up a Scotcoin wallet - we think it's simple, and nothing to be afraid of!
Although Bitcoin is secure the media and politicians seem to be telling us that it is not, and how Bitcoin in particular has been linked to several sensational cases.
To prove that cryptocurrency is safe, the great news is that some financial institutions are now using cryptocurrency like Scotcoin to cut down on their own internal transactions. Note however, these financial institutions are still charging their customers the full whack!
Nearly 10% of the UK and US economies are now based on financial services (compare to about 2.5% in 1950). This is worth mentioning as it indicates how much that industry may have to lose if cryptocurrency such as Scotcoin were to come into use. This explains some of what we hear about Scotcoin, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Although you may hear that cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous, this is not strictly true. In fact, law enforcement has traced Bitcoin transactions which have allowed them to close down the online illegal drugs market 'The Silk Road' and similar investigations have allowed the same technology to identify global and local pornography rings.
It is worth remembering that cash (the method of payment that criminals always prefer) is even more anonymous than cryptocurrency like Scotcoin, and much more expensive to trace. However, nobody is arguing that we ban cash.
The Scottish Design Exchange (SDX) has allowed individuals, new companies and smaller local companies access to retail on a level playing field. Our fashion designers, artists, producers, musicians and publishers face a retail environment which is geared towards large scale operations, using expensive distribution networks which are often controlled by monopolies to which they may have no access.
In this way, The SDX shop in Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh has put small and young Scottish businesses on par with the global and national firms which also retail there.
We feel that Scotcoin can be be a part of our development as it allows the businesses in the Exchange even more financial freedom. Despite the fact that cryptocurrecny is a new idea, it will one day be the world's principle method of monetary exchange and we would like to show in practice how this can work to everybody's benefit.
We are therefore offering our SDX designers and other businesses Scotcoin in the hope that this might stimulate interest in the currency among buyers.
Customers will be able to make a part of their purchase in Scotcoin, or be awarded Scotcoin as part of a purchase.
Scotcoin can be traded online and be exchanged for any fiat currency you wish. We're delighted to learn though, that a digital exchange (or 'cambio') will be open in Glasgow soon, and we aim to have a similar cryptocambio in the SDX also!
The term 'Scottish Design Exchange' or 'us' or 'we' refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is First Floor, Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JJ
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