E-commerce: is Glasgow about to embrace digital currency?

THOUSANDS of Glasgow commuters have bought into the Subway Smartcard scheme introduced by SPT.

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Bosses have hailed the first phase of the project a success, with 6,000 registrations for the card, which has replaced paper tickets, since it was launched three months ago.

Now SPT hopes to continue to use technology to revolutionise the way we pay for travel, including park and ride tickets, and have floated the idea of extending it to other retailers, including newsagent's and coffee shops.

The project is clear evidence that Glaswegians are joining the e-currency revolution, and comes on top of a city café becoming the first in Scotland to introduce the internet-based digital currency system Bitcoin.

SPT say there are lots of extra dimensions to the Smartcard and features to be added, including the ability to top up the card online or on the move through an app.

They also want to incorporate the subway's park and ride scheme onto the card to make it easier for customers who currently have to purchase two separate tickets.

SPT say they also are talking to other travel operators about the possibility of linking up journeys between rail, bus, train and subway.

The technology could also be used to buy everyday items such as a newspaper or a cup of coffee.

A spokeswoman said: "The Smartcard is still in its infancy but the feedback has been positive. We will have more announcements to make in the coming months."

In Shawlands, the Brooklyn Café claims to be the first in the country to take-up Bitcoin. Manager Jonny McDonald was a fan of Bitcoin and decided to introduce the e-currency to the business in a bid to get more people online.

He said: "If Bitcoin is to succeed, there needs to be a lot more people using it for it to work. Being in the restaurant trade, I thought it was only fair for me to do my bit to support Bitcoin.

"I want to convince other businesses nearby to use Bitcoin and hopefully make this street become the first in the world with several businesses using this type of currency."

The advantages to customers using the e-currency depends on the exchange rate and how much they originally paid for their Bitcoin.

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