EnergyWallet: the next steps
People participated even when the budget was depleted. They answered questions probably hoping to get a reward after some time and they were right. Everyone who participated was rewarded with EWallet-points. Not everyone used their points at a hardware store and some users used the button to send the points back to the municipality. Unused points were called back after 7 months and redistributed to people that were waiting in line so they could exchange them at the hardware store and make their house more energy efficient as well. With 9.000 active wallets (houses) EnergyWallet has become the largest open governmental public services blockchain project of The Netherlands.
This has inspired the municipality of Heerlen to approach us for a similar project: a wallet to distribute “Vitality Money” to over a 1.000 of their employees. The idea behind it is that workers receive €200,- a year in social benefits which they can spend in their own municipality at selected retailers. They receive €50,- every 3 months and to stimulate them to spend the money we programmed an extra rule: you can take the newly deposited money with you into the next quarter but if you do not spend it in that quarter you will not receive a new deposit. So in practice we top up the wallet up to €100,- with a max deposit of €50,-. In this VitKnip project (like in the EnergyWallet project) you make several parties happy with the same Euro: the employee and the retailer. It is a great way to stimulate the local economy.
At the moment the Dutch Government is making arrangements to compensate lower income families for the enormous rise in energy prizes. There are several ways that municipalities are trying to get this money to the people who really need it. EnergyWallet is a tool which has also been considered: Region Parkstad (consisting of 7 municipalities in the south of The Netherlands) is currently in the process of setting up EnergyWallet to distribute €7 million to fight energy poverty.
The use cases for earmarked money are growing every day. The principles underlying the EnergyWallet will inspire other fields of application to also use blockchain.