Over 50 000 residents in Bulawayo have been using a local digital currency called “SPURT” as a solution to lack of hard cash, an interesting case of how communities have adopted cryptocurrencies, CITE has learnt.
This revelation was made at an Abundance Festival held outside the Bulawayo City Hall car park, Friday by Sound Prosperity Zimbabwe, a business organisation.
The festival also attracted city mayor, Solomon Mguni who toured the stalls with Ward 1 councillor, Mlandu Ncube.
In an interview with CITE, Public Relations Officer for Sound Prosperity, Bekezala Dube, said SPURT was a digital token that could be used by local communities.
“The idea was initiated in 2016 and now we have over 50 000 people partaking in SPURT and the festival is part of our ideas, were people can be able to exchange goods or services by using this token,” he said adding that it could encourage people to adopt cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Dube noted that the name of this currency was inspired by a spurt of energy, where people increased their efforts to survive in light of the economic hardships.
“People can access or earn SPURT by working in a community and instead of accepting money, they favour this digital token. SPURT is an incentive for working for the community and pushed by Sound Prosperity, which is not a humanitarian organisation for charity but is business-oriented to uplift the financially challenged to develop themselves,” he added.
The spokesperson added that SPURT was also a way of fundraising to generate resources in order to have more businesses enterprises but what was more important was the trust placed in the currency.
“SPURT is money and money has value due to the trust placed in it. The local ZimDollar currency is weak because people don’t trust it. If people decide to use leaves and trust in its value and say these leaves are equivalent to a dollar there will be no challenges. In that same vein, SPURT as money works by agreement and if we trust that money and we like it, we can use it,” Dube explained.
He claimed that SPURT is an asset-based commodity and is equal to the US dollar.
“We are teaching people to use it, in the same way, they will use the US dollar. Anybody who accepts SPURT from the community can exchange it for SPURT Plus, which is another currency that has more value. SPURT Plus can be exchanged for US$4,” said the spokesperson.
Dube added that SPURT was part of financial technology and premised its use on that the government in its monetary policy had accepted digital currencies or cryptocurrencies, classifying them as digital assets.
“We have almost a billion SPURTS in Bulawayo with the over 50 000 subscribers I mentioned. The money is not kept in a bank but it is internet money stored in e-wallets. This is our solution to how people can transact locally without hard cash and test cryptocurrencies,” he said.
The city mayor said it was encouraging to see people devising methods on how they can assist themselves in light of the economic hardships.
“If people want to work within the city, we have to see what’s happening and what they have to offer in terms of contributing to the economy of Bulawayo. These people are doing own projects but what is lacking is to commercialise what they are doing. However, it is pleasing to note residents are engaged in self-help projects and this is why we came to see what these people are doing to alleviate themselves from unemployment,” he said.