The REC (Real Economy Currency) is Barcelona’s social currency, created as a pilot project in the 10 districts of the Eix Besòs area. It is a form of digital payment, complementary to the euro, whose main aim is to create an incentive for money to circulate in the area with a view to promoting the local economy and empowering the residents by strengthening social networks and improving their lives.
The project is being developed by Novact in partnership with commercial and social organisations in the Eix Besòs area and Barcelona City Council.
Under the B-MINCOME 1,000 families in the Eix Besòs area receive a subsidy as Municipal Inclusion Support, combined with active social policies. From May, 25% of this subsidy will be paid in social currency and this will be a way of putting the rec into circulation. Anyone who wishes to can join the network.
Introducing this new system for paying part of the subsidy is intended to ensure that the money is spent and remains in the area, in its shops and other establishments. The scheme will contribute to the economic and commercial vitality of the area and prevent traders from abandoning it.
Information sessions are being held for traders’ associations in the 10 districts of the Eix Besòs area to involve shops and markets in the project and encourage them to become affiliated. The aim is to begin with a total of 100 shops, businesses or stalls in municipal markets which will become part of the network and accept payment in RECs.
The project involves traders in the Zona Nord (Ciutat Meridiana, Vallbona and Torre Baró), Roquetes and Trinitat Nova, in Nou Barris; Trinitat Vella, Baró de Viver and Bon Pastor, in Sant Andreu, and Verneda-La Pau and Besòs-Maresme, in Sant Martí. The area has a population of 100,000, 7% of the total for the city, with income levels considerably below the average for Barcelona.
How will it work?
The REC promotes the real economy to serve local residents and businesses. It is a complementary form of payment to the euro, allowing transactions in a community between individuals, institutions and businesses that accept it.
It is a digital currency that can be used via the REC Barcelona mobile app or a card with a QR code to make instantaneous, easy and cost-free payments. To join the REC network you only need to download the app, register as a user (the app will be available in mid-May), and either start accepting payments in rec or exchange euros into it using a credit or debit card.
REC users can spend the currency in shops and organisations that accept it. Moreover, shops and organisations can buy from local suppliers. In this way the use of the REC will expand progressively, multiplying the benefits for the area.
Author: B-MINCOME project team