Last weekend a team of experts from NNN, Deloitte and Bitonic gathered at Lowlands Popfestival to explore the opportunities for a local ECO coin implementation. The ECO coin is an alternative currency that aims to give people an economical incentive, rather than only moral, to add value to their environment. A festival is a perfect local setting to test-drive the concept. The idea is to link the ECO coin to the plastic cups scattered around the venue: one coin for every cup.

Turning plastic cups into coins is not new. Some years ago the festival had a system in place that allowed people to trade ten cups for one Lowlands coupon to buy drinks. Unfortunately, this system attracted professional cup gatherers to the festival, who earned three months of income in just one weekend. As these cup parasites disturbed regular visitors of the festivals, the system was abolished.

The challenge for the ECO coin team is to provide people with an economical incentive to hand cups in, but avoid a complete monetization that attracts professional cup gatherers. Having an alternative ECO coin, that cannot be traded for Euros, but can be used to obtain levels of V.E.P. (Very Ecological Person) access within the festival could do the trick.

Furthermore, the team concluded the ECO coin is best implemented digitally to avoid further pollution and material usage – the drink coupons at the festival are still made of old fashioned analogue plastic. The digital wallet can be connected to a personalized festival bracelet, to provide the festival visitors with a seamless experience. Technically this makes it possible to hand some cups in, scan your bracelet and increase your V.E.P. level, gaining access to all kinds of perks, such as special areas or meet & greet with bands.

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