Yeovil-headquartered care service provider, the Carlauren Group, has unveiled plans to create its own cryptocurrency, the C-Coin.
Care home residents will be able to buy C-Coins at £70 per coin, which is the price of one night in a Carlauren care home or resort, separate from the costs of care.
In an email to the BBC, the company said: “This breakthrough blockchain technology will provide all residents at Carlauren’s Lifestyle Resorts and Care Homes with a safe and secure currency, whilst also removing the worry that’s associated with carrying cash.”
Carlauren says the C-Coin will be unique because the group will always guarantee to buy them back at £63, which could mitigate much of the risk associated with investing in cryptocurrency.
C-Coins, the company says, would allow wealthy elderly people and their children to invest in their Carlauren room for the long-term, similar to a timeshare scheme, which would then be tradable as the coins can be sold on an exchange.
Carlauren’s chief executive, Sean Murray, told the BBC: “I wanted to crystallise the payment of the room for the foreseeable future.”
Murray said that the membership scheme would let residents who were paying between £1,250 and £1,500 a week buy their room with C-Coins, and it would then be an asset for their children after they passed away.
“We see an opportunity with family members that are obviously wisely aware of what’s happening in the crypto-market – that has an intrinsic value,” he said.
However, for C-Coin to have intrinsic value, it has to be open to external investors through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The company is releasing 500,000 coins, raising £35 million.
Rory Cellan-Jones, the technology correspondent for the BBC who initially reported on the scheme, expressed doubts over the offering noting that the company doesn’t appear to be very lucrative.
Furthermore, after inspecting the ICO White paper he noted “that guarantee that coins will be bought back at £63 is not set in stone – if Carlauren goes bust, your coins will be worthless.”
Cellan-Jones, who bought a coin as part of an experiment, found that few coins had been sold and that information on the Caelauren Coin Exchange was misleading over the instant profit a buyer could expect from the sale of a coin.
In his report he wrote: “When I contacted Sean Murray he explained that this £189.0017 market price would only be available once all 500,000 coins had been sold.
“That price had been calculated using a formula I confess I did not fully understand, but he agreed that the wording on the exchange website needed to be clearer.”