Colu launches local digital currency for London
Colu, a blockchain-powered platform provider, has unveiled its second currency in the UK – the “Local Pound, East London”.
The firm’s idea is to provide people in East London with a digital, localised currency and so create a “closed-loop economy”.
It uses Colu’s digital wallet app, and individuals can pay from a smartphone. It is built on an open-source blockchain infrastructure, and Colu says it creates the digital equivalent of cash with the flexibility to handle transactions in real-time.
Amos Meiri, CEO and co-founder of Colu, says: “Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, and an investment in local businesses is really an investment in the residents of East London.”
I think you have grasped the idea by now, but Colu adds that when pounds are spent at a local business, more of the money is kept within the neighbourhood, “as opposed to chains that funnel larger portions of the profits outside of the city”. In our cosy cuddly fintech world, it’s not enough to simply launch a product or service – you have to take a swipe at the big players as well.
This launch follows on from late 2016, when it unveiled its Local Pound in Liverpool (UK). According to Colu, over 16,000 residents and businesses have begun using its app daily, making purchases at businesses such as bars, restaurants, fitness clubs and beauty shops.
The start-up has already created several digital, local currencies outside the UK, in places such as Israel, and has provided Barbados with the technology to create its own digital currency. The company says it is nearing 50,000 users worldwide, spending almost $1 million at small businesses through the app.
Colu was founded in 2014 and has received funding from venture firms Aleph and Spark Capital. It has offices in Tel Aviv and London.