The maricoin, a play on words taken from a homophobic slur in Spanish, was recently launched in a week-long pilot test involving 10 businesses in Chueca, known as the LGBT+ neighborhood of Spain’s capital, Madrid. Maricoin’s backers are aiming for the virtual currency to start trading early next year, paving the way for it to be used as a means of payment at LGBT-friendly businesses and events worldwide.
“Since we move this economy, why shouldn’t our community profit from it, instead of banks, insurance companies or big corporations that often don’t help LGBT+ people?” said Co-founder Juan Belmonte.
The global LGBT+ market is huge, with research by Swiss bank Credit Suisse suggesting it would rank as the world’s fourth-largest economy, behind Japan but ahead of Germany in terms of purchasing power. Maricoin is backed by Miami-based venture capital firm Borderless Capital, and the initiative’s Chief Executive Francisco Alvarez said 8,000 people were already on a waiting list seeking to buy maricoins before the currency starts trading.