Luigi de Magistris has announced plans to launch a municipal cryptocurrency in a push for Southern autonomy. According to his long-winded September 2nd Facebook post, he believes that the autonomous digital currency will help put an end to discrimination against the region and free them from, what he believes to be, North-created debt.
His vision is to economically revive Naples with a more global economic approach. His goals extend beyond economic revival though and have not-so-subtle political implications. The mayor has made it clear that it is his desire to gain independence from the centralized Italian government.
There are no specifics yet detailing how and when this cryptocurrency campaign will launch. However, the Municipal Administration’s blockchain and cryptocurrency workgroup have been officially named and announced on Naples’ government web page.
Why seek autonomy from the North? de Magistris feels the Northern Italian government only operates with its own regional interests in mind and has designed the economy to favor its municipalities. He feels the North has victimized the municipality and ostracized Southerners. De Magistris views creating a local cryptocurrency as a way to avoid paying, what he considers Northern debt.
The people of Naples are not as fired up about the cryptocurrency plans and political autonomy as de Magistris though. They feel that focus should be on how to help restore their deteriorating city and that resources should not be fettered away on the mayor’s cryptocurrency and blockchain development dreams.
Naples’ economy is predicated mostly on tourism, and the mayor wants to use blockchain-based shareholding to create relevant and tokenized ecosystems within the city to support this industry.
Italy is not the first to announce a municipal cryptocurrency, idea of government based cryptocurrency or blockchain integration is not a new one. The Riyadh Municipality in Saudi Arabia recently teamed up with IBM to launch a blockchain project to transform government services. Similarly, Australia just signed a rather sizeable contract with IBM to create and deploy a national blockchain service. Currently, countries like Venezuela have already started using their national cryptocurrency backed by oil resources.
Local and national governments are planning to use blockchain technology to improve daily life for citizens and gain political autonomy (in the case of Venezuela at least). For now, all we know about Naples’ plans is what the mayor has posted on his Facebook page and the government website, which is not much. There are no announcements concerning how the cryptocurrency will be regulated or managed and there has yet to be a statement from the North in reaction to de Magistris’ claims about their anti-Southerner agenda.