Sound as a pound for Liverpool currency

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The Colu app being used to spend Liverpool Local Pounds © Colu

Liverpool’s very own currency is now in circulation as independent traders aim to challenge larger multinational companies and globalisation by signing up to the scheme.

The new all-digital form of tender, dubbed the Liverpool Local Pound (LLP), is rapidly growing with 25 businesses signing up to pay the £20 per month to use the service.

Colu, the company behind the project, believes that way of exchanging money “encourages sustainable and equitable economic growth while supporting local businesses”.

With no notes or coinage, users must download the Colu app to be able to access the form of tender. Once signed-up users are given seven free LLPs – equivalent to £7.

Since its introduction in January, 4,000 users have started using the LLP and Colu claims that the currency is used every 5-10 minutes.

Maya Grossman, Director of Marketing, states that the company is looking to continue to help the growth of the LLP. She told JMU Journalism: “We are constantly adding more businesses and increasing variety to allow more choices for users. We are also working on increasing our exposure so we can reach more people and spread the word about this initiative.”

Colu believes that firms will continue to adopt it as they improve the features available on the app. Maya said: “We will soon allow business to business transactions that will remove friction and save money for the business owners.”

YouTube: Colu

Based in Israel, the company initially set up two local currencies in Tel Aviv before deciding to tackle the UK market.

Colu was then contacted by Independent Liverpool, who themselves aim to encourage the growth of small businesses by “igniting the fire for Liverpool independence”.

Independent Liverpool co-founder, David Williams, says that they had been trying to initiate a local currency since they started four years ago.

He told JMU Journalism: “We knew there was a Scouse pound that started around the time Liverpool was awarded Capital of Culture but apparently it didn’t last very long.

The Liverpool Local Pound being advertised in a shop. Pic © Colu

“We see everything we’ve done in the last four years as encouraging a local economy and currency and Colu had the technology and resources to make it real.”

After the approach from Independent Liverpool, Colu chose Liverpool as the UK’s first location, apparently due to the size of the city and the connection it shares with its locals.

But how has the city taken to it? “Incredibly well,” says David. “It is Liverpool after all, which for us is the perfect oasis of risk takers and people willing to support local people.

“Getting people to download it is hard but getting them to keep using it to the point in which it is part of their everyday life is harder but believe we can do that.”

About Andrew Livingston, JMU Journalism