Santa Coloma launches local currency Grama

“I already have Wi-Fi in my shop, everything is ready to start receiving payments in the Grama currency,” says Cristina Meya, owner of the fruit store Horta Meya in Santa Coloma de Gramenet. On January 13th, the first 6.000 Gramas ( the name of the social currency in Santa Coloma), started circulating throughout the city.

The City Council aims at public money such as subsidies and salaries of public officials having an impact on local commerce. Cristina is now able to receive her payments in cash or  with a regular bankcard (business as usual) or through a mobile app: “The client simply makes a transfer of Gramas to my account”.

The Grama is not the first social currency of Catalonia, but it is the first currency to be established in a city with more than 117,000 inhabitants. In addition, Santa Coloma is the first city council that channels public spending through a social currency. The Grama, which has a 1 to 1 value to the euro, is not a physical currency. It is managed with an application that allows transfers from one user’s account to another user’s account using Internet and mobile phones.

The reference for the Grama is the Bristol Pound, which was conceived in the English city of Bristol in 2012.

This article was published in newspaper El País on the 30th of January 2017. Click here for the original article in Spanish.

The Santa Coloma project is part of the Digipay4Growth programme, coordinated by STRO: innovative digital currency projects in Bristol, Sardinia, Catalonia and the Netherlands.