University & city government team up, announce creation of token they'll use to reward good citizens...

Vienna seriously loves blockchain! There's two big programs already announced, the first of them they're calling "digital food stamps" a program which differs from what you may associate those words with if you're from elsewhere, this is a benefit for government employees.

Using an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, they can spend the food tokens at 800+ locations that have agreed to accept them. 

That program is pretty straightforward, get tokens, spend tokens. The real interesting one is a collaboration with Vienna University of Economics and Business and city government.

Using a token they plan to call "The Vienna Coin" they hope to enable a whole new way for the city to interact with it's citizens.  Tokens could be given out to citizens for a variety of reasons - from riding their bike to work instead of driving, to reporting something that needs repair, even doing charity or volunteer work.

Making the token actually desirable to earn will revolve around insuring there's good places to spend them.  The Vienna-based Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics suggests things like paying for parking and movie tickets.

It's too early for the specifics, Shermin Voshmgir, the head of the Research Institute says:

“We are in a very early design phase in which we are considering together with the City of Vienna what such a Vienna token could look like. It’s about understanding how we can generate a token that adds value for the city.”

Another idea on the horizon is using blockchain to enable citizens to secure their data. "If an agency requires data, the citizen can decide to release it" allowing them to control what they provide to for things like insurance, banking, and health care.

It is my job to ask - once implemented how else could a system like this be used?  Are there any downsides?

Well, in China they have a blockchain-powered system capable of both giving reward 'points' and taking them away as a form of punishment.  If your score goes too low you're banned from things like public transportation.

Theoretically, any system that could be used to reward citizens could be used to more nefarious purposes.  But for now, that's just paranoia.

Author: Mark Pippen
London News Desk