ScotPound: Digital Money for the Common Good

Overview —

A Scottish Digital Currency and payments system, sitting alongside the pound sterling, that could support and boost the Scottish economy.


New Economics Foundation

Common Weal

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The question of currency loomed large in the Scottish independence referendum campaign. The fear of losing sterling was one of the decisive factors in the eventual result. But the debate lacked an informed analysis of what independence would mean for the pound, or what a new Scottish currency could look like.

This report outlines the creation of a new national digital currency, ScotPound, and free-at-point-of-use payment system, ScotPay, for Scotland. Our proposals draw on over two decades of research into top-down reform of existing national currency systems and bottom-up local and complementary currencies operated through an arm’s length public enterprise – BancaAlba.

The specification and design of the ScotPound currency, the ScotPay public interest payment system, and the arm’s length public enterprise operator BancaAlba set out in this report are not final blueprints. In highlighting the huge economic and social potential of financial innovation, we hope that Scotland’s people and political parties will debate and consider such a scheme, with or without another independence referendum.


― Immediate economy boost: We propose a 250 ScotPound (S£) dividend be given to each Scottish citizen, increasing the overall purchasing power within the economy. The injection of funds would not add to the UK deficit and we estimate the payment infrastructure of the system would be low cost – in the region of £3 million – all at a time of austerity.

― Lower costs for business: A new payment system – ScotPay – would provide the world’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit national payment system, enabling Scottish businesses to accept payment for goods and services without being charged fees by banks and global credit card firms.

― Socially inclusive: The currency would be available to all, with mobile phones the main instrument for making payment via text message or on an app. For those unable or unwilling to use the technology, a voice recognition system would also be implemented to ensure inclusion.

― Leading by example: The project would demonstrate that a new national currency can be created and implemented. Successful implementation could significantly reduce the chances that any future debates about independence would be unduly influenced by the fear of losing sterling.

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