Colu is a blockchain-based payments app that is championing localized economies by creating currencies that work in specific areas. The customer loads the app with a specified sum of money—so that it functions almost as a debit card—and can use it only at participating local merchants. In 2016, Colu created the “Liverpool local pound,” to be used exclusively in the English city, and has a similar currency in place in neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and nearby Jaffa (the Florentine shekel and the Pishpesh shekel, respectively). It also helped create a local currency in Barbados (the Barbadian digital dollar). In 2017, Colu plans to expand to 10 other locations. The startup aims to build communal ties, support local businesses, encourage neighborly interaction, and tighten the social fabric—creating what it calls a “true peer-to-peer economy.”
users: More than 10,000 users in Israel and the U.K.
headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel