Have you heard the names of Amos Meiri, David Ring and Mark Smargon? They’ve worked on some cool projects together. You might know them from ColoredCoins.org, an open-source protocol enabling developers to augment bitcoin and have them represent other assets than strictly money. In 2014 they embarked on another adventure and founded Colu, an extension of their previous project that creates local currencies for small businesses to promote shopping locally.

While working on ColoredCoins.org, the founders noticed that more than 60% of the use cases for their technology were for local currencies. Seeing the gap in the market for secure solutions for local currency, they started Colu as a way for governments, businesses, and consumers to build stronger urban economies and tighter-knit communities through localised currencies.

Colu creates local currencies for smart economies using blockchain technology, inviting businesses and new members. It’s a mobile app for both merchants and customers that allows you to make safe digital transactions. It’s all pretty straightforward: digital cash works just like regular money, all you need is a mobile device and you can pay for anything you like to anyone who uses Colu. No payment fees, no fuss.

Why bother? Local currencies create connections between people and the merchants; it means you’re more likely to shop locally if there’s a local currency as it makes you feel more engaged in your local community. It’s beneficial for both the merchant and the customer; it helps local economies flourish by supporting independent businesses and local trade while at the same time it creates community and social capital.

“Colu isn’t simply looking to create a new way to pay, but actually a new way to think about money. By focusing on digital local currencies, Colu is working towards creating a paradigm shift from money as a source of competition and division to one of cooperation and community-building. While we offer P2P payments and a comprehensive solution for merchants, we also offer ways for people to discover, plug into, and support their local communities. With Colu’s unique discovery feature, users can quickly find participating merchants and pay them directly from the app, or with a quick scan of a QR code. And because the money is local and stays local, small businesses are supported with every purchase, the local economy grows stronger, and more jobs are created. Colu also offers partners the ability to encourage social action in local areas by rewarding good works. Colu is more than just a payment app, it’s a way to use money to bring people together.”

Colu’s local currencies allow for a more sustainable and robust local economic ecosystem. It helps to support small and medium-sized businesses, accelerating local economic growth and creating jobs, greatly impacting socioeconomic potential and adding value to each dollar that is reintroduced to the local market. All that while strengthening and supporting local businesses in favour of big companies. In short, Colu is making money more meaningful by building urban communities from the wallet up.
Colu has raised a total of $12.1 million spread across two rounds. It’s developing rapidly; it has a growing active user-base and increasing transaction volume.

Colu will be at ImpactCEE’s 2016 Fintech/Insurtech and Amos Meiri will be speaking.