When you think of small rural villages in the Ukraine, you probably don’t think of them being hubs of innovation. However, in one small village, everyone that lives there is now the owner of cryptocurrency, thanks to an initiative dreamt up by the head of the village council. Not only do they own the currency, they’re encouraged to move it through the local economy, using it to buy dairy products and meat.

Elizavetovka is tiny. Located in the steppe zone of the Black Sea on the northern seaboard, its major claim to fame is as one of the largest iron age settlements found in the Ukraine. During this period, the river and sea transport routes made it a natural centre and trading port for the whole of the region and beyond, and further on into the common era, the settlement thrived as an administrative and religious centre too.

It’s too soon to tell whether Maxim Golosnoy’s innovation will bring the village back up to its iron age glory days, but the council chairman was initially allowed to “carry out operations with cryptocurrency in the interests of the territorial community without attracting budgetary funds”. In short, he saw a way to boost the local budget – and the local economy – and ran with it.

The scheme isn’t just limited to one cryptocurrency either; villagers are able to buy goods and services within the village with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano. The original investment was approximately $500 into Cardano by Golosnoy, which fairly rapidly tripled in value. He then repaid himself, and divided the rest amongst the residents of the village. He notes that they’re in no hurry to cash out any time soon, however, as “they still do not understand either the principle of cryptocurrency or the benefits of it for themselves.”

He’s not planning on stopping there, either. Having invested his own funds as opposed to the village’s own budget, Golosnoy plans on making an appeal to Ukraine’s cabinet ministers, in the hopes that they will allow him to invest village budget money in future. He hopes that the success already demonstrated by Cardano’s rapid rise will convince them that even a relatively small amount of invested cryptocurrency can turn a profit very quickly, and make money for the village.

The village budget currently runs at a healthy surplus each year, and Golosnoy hopes to gain permission to invest at least some of this. Ukraine currently has no official legal policy on the status of cryptocurrencies, although this is likely to be established soon. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether Golosnoy will get the permissions he’s seeking, and what Ukraine’s position will be – Ukrainian villagers aren’t known for the computer skills for a start, let alone their enthusiasm for digital currencies.