Orania, South Africa’s whites-only enclave, is preparing to digitise its own currency and take the electronic Ora into circulation come August this year.
Here’s a case of something from the past running headlong into the future – South Africa’s whites-only enclave, Orania, is preparing to digitise its own currency, the Ora.
The Ora was introduced in 2004 to promote local spending within Orania – though the ‘currency’ has been adopted by some 1400 people, it remains closer to a token or voucher system. Read: South African Parliament opens the new Cyber Crime Bill to public comment
The Ora itself is not sanctioned by the South African Reserve Bank, though residents can exchange South African Rands for the Ora at Orania’s ‘central bank’ at a rate of one-to-one.
By going digital, the intent is to reduce the transaction costs of the paper Ora – ENCA cites Dawie Roodt, chief economist at the Efficient Group, who offered that the enclave’s plans are to “digitise the existing physical ora and replace it with an electronic one… If you can reduce the cost of the transaction, you can boost economic activity quite substantially.”
Roodt clarified that physical Ora – paper vouchers – will continue to circulate next to the digital currency, though the latter will not have an expiry date.
The enclave plans to take the electronic Ora into circulation by mid-August this year – a move that will likely boost trade within the enclave and enlarge the profile of its own currency; though whether the move will have any effect on trade between the town and larger, multiracial and multicultural South Africa will be far more difficult to anticipate. Read: South Africa is set to get its own WhatsApp drama, Uk’shona Kwelanga
What are your thoughts on Orania’s intent to digitise its own currency? Be sure to let us know your opinions in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA