Colu Develops Digital Cash Specifically For East London
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where the family goes to Itchy & Scratchy Land, and Homer gets duped into buying a stack of Itchy & Scratchy Money? It was money geared toward the theme park itself, but after buying $1100 worth at the gate, Homer discovered it was effectively worthless. That, hopefully, will not be the fate of visitors to East London, who buy into Colu’s Local Pound, East London, a digital currency geared toward the area’s businesses.
The Local Pound, East London is Colu’s second currency, and it’s designed to work alongside the more standard Pound Sterling. Essentially, the Local Pound, East London is designed to work like what amounts to local scrip, but built around the open source blockchain infrastructure that many digital currencies are based on, including bitcoin itself.
Since digital payments are a growing trend in the entire UK, Colu looks to take advantage of this trend as a means to both call further attention to digital currency like this as well as the East London region itself. With Local Pound, East London only really usable in East London, the end result is a closed-loop economy that has been shown to have some benefits for those involved in it. It’s a way to fight back against the growing encroachment of large brands, big box stores and more.
It’s easy to think that this is a disastrous idea that will go nowhere rapidly. Given that the Local Pound, East London really only has value in East London, it’s too limited to gain much ground, particularly with visitors and tourists. While locals have been taking to it—reports suggest over 16,000 users use the Colu app daily—the overall limited appeal will keep this from being a particularly big deal.
Colu has also launched similar activities in Israel and Barbados, suggesting that there’s at least some appeal here for a thoroughly localized scrip currency. It’s enough to make one wonder, in fact, if this could be a big deal in Greece, where cash is in short supply. Still, it’s clearly working on at least some level, and though it may sound crazy, Colu’s certainly found a following.