Colu is changing the way we create and use money. The venture is generating unique local community currencies for cities and neighbourhoods around the world. The system works like using cash in a wallet – only the money is digital and payment is via a phone. Users can pay for goods instantly, and also transfer to friends, family and co-workers with no fees. This supports the “little guys” and helps to keep local economies and areas strong.  The technology even supports good deeds, with users earning pounds for recycling bottles, for instance.

How they’re disrupting

By creating a digital wallet app that supports shopping locally Colu is giving people the ability to exchange digital cash directly with one another, creating a new way of thinking about money that encourages sustainable and equitable economic growth while supporting local businesses. Why local currencies? Colu is using local currencies to get more people to shop local, eat local, buy local, and live local, thereby strengthening the local economy and keeping the control of money in everyone’s hands. They believe that change starts at the local level and spreads to the top. Colu is driving a global change in the economy and the meaning of money from the wallet up.

Colu’s open source technology allows for direct exchanges of digital cash, revolutionising the way money is transferred and creating a true peer-to-peer economy. Just as the internet created a way for people to transfer information directly to anyone in the world, blockchain technology is doing the same thing for digital currencies.

Disruption potential

There’s nothing to stop digital currencies being used by the 4.77 billion mobile phone owners worldwide as their first choice of payment.

Investments and future

The company has gained $12.1 million from Aleph, Spark Capital and the Digital Currency Group. Colu asserts that its idea is gaining traction with users and merchants, and that it is investing heavily in services to make the technology easier to use. Colu want to continue to grow the 5 communities they are currently operating, in Israel and the UK. In addition, the company plans to launch other local currencies in cities across the globe, including in Amsterdam and Silicon Valley, California.