Uruguay discovers a new use case for cryptocurrencies

Written by: Ali Raza
March 11, 2020
  • A beach resort in Uruguay has recently discovered a new use case for digital currencies.
  • The resort is giving away its new plasticoins in exchange for plastic remains, whether from homes or beaches.
  • The initiative was started by two environmental protectionists and crypto enthusiasts who wanted to help solve the country's pollution problem caused by tourism.

Digital currencies are known for their potential to replace fiat currencies and eliminate centralized money. However, while acting as a new form of money is their largest use case, it is certainly not the only one. New ones are being discovered all the time, and a beach resort in Uruguay had just discovered another one.

The beach resort, known as Piriapolis, recently started offering its visitors and citizens the ability to obtain digital currencies in exchange for plastic remains. The resort is giving 100-400 of so-called plasticoins in exchange for plastic weighing at least 1kg.

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In exchange for their plastic, people receive their new plasticoins on their smartphones, with the amount received depending on the nature of plastic. The coins can then be used for obtaining discounts and deals with selected retailers. This comes as a rather innovative and unique use for cryptocurrencies which has intrigued many around the world.

Fighting beach pollution with crypto

Uruguay’s interest in giving away crypto in exchange for plastic is hardly surprising, given that the beach-lined South American country has been rather popular with tourists, which led directly to heavy beach contamination. The country suffered from these issues for years, and when two environmental protectionists and crypto enthusiasts came up with the idea, the government was quick to act on it.

The individuals in question are Nicole Wyaus and Juan Rivero, who managed to convince the National Agency for Development (ANDE) to pilot a new crypto project, plasticoin.

The goal is rather clear — they wanted to encourage people to segregate their trash properly, and clean up the beaches while providing an interesting incentive for it. Due to the success of the initiative, plasticoins are set to go region-wide, with household plastic earning participants 100 plasticoins, while the plastic remains from the beaches will be valued at 200 plasticoins per kilogram. Finally, microplastics will attract the value of 400 plasticoins. The project is still rather new, as it was launched in January. However, it already received $5000 in government funding, and over 1,000 participants have joined in the past three weeks.

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