Imagine a community with an alternative kind of currency, what would it look like? Last weekend Next Nature Network teamed up with DGTL Music Festival in Amsterdam to launch the ECO coin, a digital currency to reward people who actively contribute to a more sustainable world. Over 40.000 visitors attended the festival, turning our first grand experiment into a success.

The ECO Coin stand at DGTL Festival.

With a team of 200 volunteers, 200 students from NHTV Hogeschool in Breda and ten next nature experts, we kicked off the experiment to promote ecological value through currency. Visitors were invited to carry out 20 different sustainable actions on the festival terrain for which they were rewarded with ECO coins. Every ECO earned unlocked exclusive rewards and lifted the festival experience to new heights.

The ECO coin app in use.

Among the ECO quests, visitors gained the opportunity to get a glimpse of future nanotech products in the NANO Supermarket, turn plastic bottle caps into keychains, learn about new food cultures, upcycle plastic with a 3D printer, participate in a modular artwork, and even change their energy provider to top up their ECO coin balance.

NNN director Koert van Mensvoort earning ECOs by making pesto from weeds.

Besides earning some well deserved ECOs, it was the gesture itself that triggered many people to join the ECO movement. This proved that the progressive audience of the festival was well aware of the urgency to harmonize economy and ecology. “I don’t really need a reward, I just really like the environment” a visitor named Ben commented. “In the end, the direct reward should come from within,” his friend Alex added. Yet, some participants joined it just for the rewards. “Beers are always good” said visitor Constantin.

A visitor topping up his ECO balance through his RFID wristband.

In two days, people earned hundreds of ECOs, we spoke with thousands of people and, naturally, had an amazing time. More in-depth results will be shared in the coming days, including the announcement of the ECO coin Champion. Thanks to everyone who participated in this experiment and see you next time. The ECO coin is here to stay! Find out even more here.

Header Image Credit: Tom Doms