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Interview: New network token to bolster local economies (Includes interview and first-hand account)

By creating specialized community tokens, Colu is set to provide users with the increased ability to shop local, eat local, buy local, and live local, strengthening the local economy through its digital wallet platform.

For this initiative, Colu has secured a substantial amount from several investors including Spark Ventures, Aleph Ventures, Professor Dan Ariely. Included among its board of advisors is Uber investor Bradley Tusk.

To gain an insight into the digital wallet concept and the application of blockchain technology, Digital Journal spoke with Colu’s Mark Smargon.

Digital Journal: Mark, what are the advantages of blockchain technology?

Mark Smargon: It provides a technical solution that allows for the first time to create consensus between parties that don’t trust each other – this “minor” technological improvement over legacy systems allows to create new organizational structures, new governance types, new business models and of course new asset classes, paving the way for the creation of the Internet-of-value .

DJ: Are there different advantages for businesses and consumers?

Smargon: Of course – end-users will not interact with the blockchain knowingly in the future but their existing behaviors through the digital products they engage with will transform over time – businesses will probably will feel the change before consumers as dis-intermediation through this technology will reduce costs for them allowing them to provide cheaper services for consumers so the economy will change as a result.

DJ: What’s special about Colu? How does it differ from competitors?

Smargon: There are a few diffrentiators, first, the technology. We’ve been working with blockchain technology since 2012, before it was so popular.

In addition our approach is different – we built the product first, got real users and now we are bringing in cryptocurrencies. We realized that it will be challenging to drive every day adoption of this new technology, so we decided to first build a simpler product, and work our way up. Last but not least, our desire to make a real change in the economy.

We are not trying to build a better mouse trap when it comes to digital wallets. We want to change the foundation of the monetary system to give people and communities more control over their own money and drive prosperity and wealth.

NFC Ring

NFC Ring
NFC Ring

DJ: Please explain about the CLN token. How does it differ from other tokens?

Smargon: The CLN (or Colu Local Network) is a payments platform that allows communities to issue their own community currency and modernize their payment infrastructure rapidly while incentivizing the community to participate.

The CLN token is the native currency of the Colu Local Network. It provides two main functionalities -it provides access to a payments network that allows entire local economies to move to digital forms of payment. And it provides liquidity for community currencies issued on the platform.

DJ: Which types of outlets will accept the tokens?

Smargon: Colu will announce exchanges it will work with after the token sale

DJ: What types of companies have invested in Colu?

Smargon: We currently have investments from leading VCs like Spark Capital and Aleph.

Paying for items with a cellphone

Purchasing goods with a phone with the NFC chip.
Courtesy Visa Canada

DJ: How have you addressed data security?

Smargon: Colu has been working in the blockchain space in the last 3 years and gathered knowledge and experience in private key management for blockchain technology – our app and network are secured by the highest standards.

DJ: What is your marketing strategy going forwards?

Smargon: To make the model work, we need to grow our communities. This is what we have been doing in the last 9 months and will continue doing through multiple channels online and offline. We have also implemented a referral program that is helping us spread the word about Colu.

DJ: What other types of technology do you think will be disrupting businesses over the next few years?

Smargon: All technologies that are related to the collection, management, and analysis of data whether it’s blockchain, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence etc… will have profound change on our society.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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