Laval backs away from digital currencies as a tool for economic growth

Idea was first proposed in 2020, before the pandemic shook up the economy

Have you ever considered investing some of your time and energy in any of the dozens of digital currencies that have sprung up like so many mushrooms in the global economy in recent years?

The City of Laval has given it a bit of thought, although economic development officials working in conjunction with the municipality seem to have decided to forego the opportunity.

Which ought not be too surprising, considering the turbulence and volatility which have characterized the performance of digital currencies over the past year.

City’s ‘buy local’ initiative

Two years ago, when the City of Laval had first begun taking measures to counter the economic flack resulting from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, among the programs announced was a “buy local” initiative that local merchants and businesses were encouraged to support through subscription.

The program was accompanied by a perk for merchants’ customers called Freebees, which had already enjoyed some success in other regions of Quebec in the previous years.

City has withdrawn from Freebees retail perks program

Freebies program cancelled

Among other things, the program would have allowed business owners in the Laval region an additional option: to support the creation of a local digital currency as a tool to help generate customer loyalty, while stimulating the Laval economy at the same time.

According to Lidia Divry, director-general of the economic development corporation Laval économique, businesses and merchants in Laval have shown relatively little interest in the creation of a local digital currency as an economic stimulus. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

Last week during a visit by delegated Quebec Minister for the Economy Lucie Lecours to announce new provincial funding for Laval’s ongoing post-Covid recovery, Lidia Divry, director-general of the economic development corporation, Laval économique, acknowledged that the city has distanced itself from Freebees.

Merchants weren’t interested

“We stopped it because it was launched at the same time as there were closings on account of [sanitary measure] decrees made by the provincial government,” she said during a brief interview last week with The Laval News.

Although some other aspects of the Freebees program generated a degree of interest from businesses and merchants in Laval, Divry said they showed no enthusiasm for the idea of a digital currency. But at the same time, she didn’t disagree that the turbulence afflicting crypto and digital currencies probably has been a factor as well.