The first application of the DISC platform is in the area of payments, making use of capabilities that allow individuals and merchants to transfer value without having to use existing high cost payments infrastructure.
The ‘govcoin project’ commenced in March 2016 and was designed to explore ways to use DLT and mobile devices as an alternative and more effective method for distribution to people on low incomes. A successful six month live running proof of concept was completed in November 2016. Within the environment of the Regulatory ‘Sandbox’ organised by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), DISC has now embarked on a more extensive testing programme.
Use of the DISC platform to provide smart money solutions, results in benefits accruing to all key parties in the flow of funds – government, users and merchants. Governments and companies benefit from more timely and accurate disbursement as well as lower costs. Users benefit from being able to manage and control spending more effectively and enjoy increased levels of financial inclusion and education. Merchants benefit from lower payment transaction fees. The benefit of these lower fees can be shared by merchants with users. All parties benefit from the network effects within a local community, for example, the ability to make the benefit pound ‘go further’.
Research conducted by Prof. M. Angela Sasse FREng, Department of Computer Science, UCL concluded, the “ first trial conducted with a small group of participants, was a success.”
In particular, “All participants said the ability to plan and track spending would be of significant value to them, and having that support on the phone was ideal.” Further, users really engaged – “they appropriated it: creating their own categories and targets.”
Head of Business Development
Neil is responsible for relationships with major institutional merchant groups including housing associations, power and water utilities and national and regional retail chains. These relationships represent the vast majority of ‘non-discretionary’ spending by participants and have a critical role to play in the success of the DISC programme.
Head of Operations
James is responsible for all operational aspects of the Govcoin project. This includes working with participants and local merchants in getting them set up with the Gniuva application as well as on-going customer support. James’ team will be strengthened with the addition of new staff DISC expands the work through Phase 2 of its progress.