Tel Aviv launches digital currency project during Eurovision

The month-long project will test the use of digital currency to support local businesses during a peak tourist event in the city.

May 19, 2019 08:32
1 minute read.
Using the Colu app

Using the Colu app. (photo credit: COLU)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Tel Aviv is testing a digital currency that can be used for local businesses with proceeds going to charity. The month-long pilot program started May 5 and will coincide with the Eurovision song contest events taking place in the city.

"Local currency rewards will be distributed to those making purchases at local businesses, through the Colu app," stated a press release. "Anyone who makes five transactions, each worth NIS 20 or more, will receive 25 coins in digital city currency within the app, worth approximately NIS 25 in total."
If successful, the program will be expanded to public transportation and other areas.

Tel Aviv's Resilience Unit, Business Licensing Division and the Tel Aviv Foundation joined together to create the pilot program.

Hila Oren, CEO of the Tel Aviv Foundation said the project "aims to establish an innovative model which both helps reduce the cost of living, while at the same time making an important contribution to the community. We chose to launch this pilot to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest, in order to help bring the benefits of such a high-profile international event to hundreds of local businesses, including those not in the city center."

She added that a percentage of the proceeds go towards “Children of Music” a project of the Lev Yafo Youth Center for youth at risk. 

The project is part of the 100 Resilient Cities program, which was created in 2013 by the American-based Rockefeller Foundation. “Tel Aviv-Yafo follows Belfast and four other 100RC member cities to formally pilot a local currency model that directly feeds into the city’s priorities for social returns,” said Lina Liakou, Managing Director for Europe and the Middle East at 100 Resilient Cities. 

Efrat Makin-Knafo, Tel Aviv's Chief Resilience Officer added, “I believe that every municipality must communicate creatively with city residents, to increase their involvement in city life and make them feel integral to its development. As a member of the 100 Resilient Cities network, we have chosen a local currency as one way to strengthen our urban resilience, which in practice means reducing the cost of living, increasing social responsibility, civic identity and strengthening the local economy.

Colu, which calls itself a digital wallet, raised &7 million in January. The Israeli-based start-up operates in four cities and it's app "encourages local payments, while rewarding positive actions with City Currency.," according to their website.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

 A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustrat
April 2, 2019
Bitcoin soars past $5,000, mystery buyer seen as catalyst