Liverpool has launched its own digital currency using technology from Israeli-based blockchain startup Colu.
The Liverpool Local Pound differs from other local currency units, such as those used in Brixton, Totnes and Bristol, by virtue of being an app-based service with transactions recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain network.
The new unit of exchange is being introduced by Independent Liverpool, a local group with a mission to support small independent retailers in the city. Merchants who take up the service are charged a monthly subscription of £25 on the promise that the currency will encourage repeat purchases and improved loyalty among local customers with feedback from individual spending patterns providing the basis for tailored discounting.
Colu, the Tel Aviv-based company behind the service, raised $9.6 million in June last year after refining its business model to focus on the use of digital currencies in local communities. The company has so far conducted trial runs in two Tel Aviv neighbourhoods and next month will launch a new local currency in East London.