to be honest - I wasnt sure actually how it would work! I was just interested in it as a concept/if it could be workable. I agree with you that you wouldnt want the money really to be ‘locked away’ maybe its just really a way of messaging or ‘rewarding’ ‘good’ behaviour.
e.g. maybe based upon spending analysis, monzo knows that i spend x a month on my vending machine at work (this is actually an identifyable merchant at my work) or on taxis e.g. uber. My goal is to decrease those spends. In that case it could be that because I typically spend X £ on that merchant a month, whenever I actively avoid doing so I could tell Monzo and it says “congratulations, you have saved Y” - the balance/payment is actually all virtual, it is just showing that i didnt spend so much of the X that I normally did. Another way of approaching this could be monzo saying, you normally spend such an amount per day, try and beat that and then congratulating you for not (nudge behaviour)
In those two examples, the spend was 100% of the item at a particular merchant. If it was more opaque (e.g. cigarettes) I wonder whether actually people normally get cigarettes from particular merchants? If so, there could be some setup that says what are you trying to decrease, where do you normally buy from, etc etc and identify the merchants/spend in that fashion.
Anyway, in summary i still dont really know how this would work, I just thought it was an interesting idea and wondered if technology could help ‘flip this around’ (help people see that the equivalent of avoiding a spend is being paid more)