Israel-based blockchain startup Colu, known for creating digital, localized currencies, announced today the launch of its second currency in the UK – the ‘Local Pound, East London’. Complementing the British pound sterling, it provides locals with a digital, localized currency to facilitate a stronger, more sustainable local economy and community.
Colu offers peer-to-peer and customer-to-business app-based payment platforms facilitating digital financial transactions at local businesses, creating a closed-loop economy that is meant to bolster both the economic well-being and social fabric of the community. Its open-source technology protocol allows for direct exchanges of digital cash, facilitating a peer-to-peer economy.
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“Colu is about building communities from the wallet up, offering a way for locals to infuse their money with meaning by supporting local businesses — a win-win for everyone,” said Amos Meiri, CEO and co-founder of Colu. “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. By introducing the Local Pound, East London, we plan to change the way people think about money in the heart of the UK.”
Colu provides participating local businesses with a digital toolbox – vital business tools to help them compete with large retailers, including a business dashboard that replaces the need for point-of-sale systems. Since the launch of the Local Pound, Liverpool in late 2016, over 16,000 residents and businesses have begun using the Colu app daily, making purchases at businesses such as bars, restaurants, fitness clubs and beauty shops.
“I’m often asked why we chose to launch currencies in places like East London and Liverpool,” added Meiri. “It’s because these areas have a unique combination of intense community pride, trendy new businesses and a bustling tech scene, making them the perfect places to build a new digital, local economy.”
Colu is nearing 50,000 users worldwide, spending almost $1 million at small businesses through the app. A year ago it raised another $9.6 million in capital for its latest investment round.