LISTEN: How local digital currencies could prop up cities’ corner stores – The Times of Israel

LISTEN: How local digital currencies could prop up cities’ corner stores – The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel is pleased to host the seventh and last episode of a series of special edition talks on Israeli startups, as part of Firewall, a podcast about tech, culture and politics hosted by Bradley Tusk.

In this episode, Tusk, the CEO of Tusk Ventures, and Michael Eisenberg of Israel’s Aleph VC talk to Amos Meiri, co-founder & CEO of Colu Techonologies Ltd., an startup that developed a digital wallet to enable payments at registered businesses via smartphones. They are joined by Daniel Tsiddon, former deputy general manager of Bank Leumi and founder and general partner in Viola FinTech fund.

They talk about the regulatory, economic, and political implications of Colu’s  cryptocurrency, which is in use in Tel Aviv — where a quarter of the residents use the app — and in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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In Tel Aviv, consumers who engage in five transactions worth at least NIS 20 ($5.6) apiece at local businesses using the Colu app get a reward of 25 digital coins within the app. These coins are worth approximately NIS 25, and are to be used at registered stores in Tel Aviv. The aim is to support local businesses, help tackle the cost of living and make residents more involved in city life.

The podcast participants also discuss how Colu could help cities hedge against the pervasiveness of e-commerce giants Amazon and Netflix, which encourage people to stay at home and order products or watch TV rather than going out and experiencing the best of what cities have to offer.

In his Firewall podcasts, Tusk talks tech, startups, politics and regulation with a different guest each week. The Times of Israel is hosting the podcast’s special edition on Israel, which explores the world of Israeli startups in seven episodes.

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