Digital complementary currencies and public policies during the COVID-19 pandemic



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Formação, Crescimento e Transformação de Sistemas de Negócio, Organizacionais e Sócio-Econômicos

Lauro Gonzalez, Adrian Kemmer Cernev, Marcelo Henrique de Araujo, Eduardo H. Diniz



Revista de Administração Pública, v. 54, n. 4, pp. 1146-1160. Abstract: Basic income programs have been used worldwide as a tool to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Brazil, the implementation of federal emergency basic income initiatives faces a twofold challenge: money distribution logistics and eligibility criteria. This paper analyses the use of digital complementary currencies (DCC) to face these challenges. Complementary currencies have long existed in Brazil as part of community banks. The latter are institutions that operate at the local level and have better information regarding residents’ needs. We present the case of Mumbuca E-Dinheiro, a DCC adopted by the municipality of Maricá (RJ), and discuss how this initiative has enabled quick and safe cash distribution aimed at mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil. We suggest that, at present, basic emergency income could be distributed through the E-Dinheiro platform, starting with the municipalities in which it already operates and then expanding to others. Interoperability with other actors in the payment ecosystem and connections with local governments are additional actions to scale up the use of digital complementary currencies to combat the coronavirus crisis.

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