How Peepl is rewriting local economics
By Leon and Zarino, Peepl co-founders
When we order food from a local business, riders, restaurants and customers pay fees to companies worth billions of dollars, based somewhere else.
When we order a cab from a global ride hailing company, a firm based in India, San Francisco, Tel Aviv or London takes a chunk.
When local firms want to advertise an event or a service online, they are probably paying between one and four firms to do so, all HQ’d in San Francisco.
It’s convenient, it works, the customer experience is great, and it does create employment opportunities which may not have existed without these firms ‘innovating’.
The problem is, the internet became a winner takes all game, and a few have already won. They have all the power, and they use it to stifle innovation, exclude competition, even manipulate and sway elections.
I mean, when the person that invented the World Wide Web describes his open-source creation as “Anti-Human”, you know there must be a strong case for change…
The web has failed instead of serving humanity. We ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.Tim Berners-Lee, speaking to Vanity Fair in 2018
Netflix’s CEO says his company’s biggest enemy is sleep.
I don’t know about you, but I like to sleep. It’s good for you. And when you sleep, you can dream of a different world – perhaps, one that shares the wealth created by the internet, keeps it inside communities, and re-distributes gains back into the communities, cities and places that most of us all live, work and play in.
We think one of the biggest reasons why communities, highstreets and everyday people are struggling, is because the internet, the way we access it, along with our attention, and all the wealth it has created, has been hijacked by 6 or so global conglomerates.
We need a fundamental shift in how wealth is created and shared.
We’re creating a system that cares about two things: creating, and retaining value in local communities.
Our networked apps, payments and rewards are all designed to create an open source network that generates and keeps wealth flowing around our local communities, your community.
Because 63p of every £1 spent at small or medium-sized businesses stays in the local economy, compared with just 40p at large businesses.
One way to keep money inside the local economy is through local currencies. We’ve seen them come and go all over the world, for the past 50 years – from Brixton, to Argentina, to Germany, to Sardinia.
More recently, some organisations have tried combining local currencies with mobile payments, making it easier and quicker to spend local. Three of us in Peepl’s founding team helped to grow one of the largest local digital currencies of this type in history—the VC-backed Colu—connecting over 750 local businesses across Liverpool and East London.
But putting local cash in an app isn’t enough.
We knew, with Peepl, we needed more than a digital wallet. We needed an ecosystem that not only rewards local spending but also incentivises local businesses to work together, for the common good. An ecosystem that enables its stakeholders to experiment with the way their value is shared and redistributed. And a technology stack that shares, rather than hides, its magic sauce.
That’s what we’ve built at Peepl. Transactions between customers and businesses earn 5-30% Peepl Rewards. Rewards can only be fully redeemed within the geographic region they were earned in – rewards taken out of the region pay a large amount of their reward back to local businesses and communities.
But more than this—being built on open source technology, and a layer of smart contracts that enables less than 1¢ transaction fees—our network is a living sandbox for businesses and local stakeholders to experiment with moving rewards around in interesting, interconnected and novel ways, increasing economic activity and opportunity.
The economy we’re building isn’t just about the here and now, though. It’s also about the future. We want to make sure local communities aren’t left behind when it comes to the next generation of financial products. When they transact on the Peepl network, citizens are building an anonymous, verifiable financial history that will eventually make it easy to interact with all sorts of (regulated) decentralised financial protocols, increasing access to finance and financial products & services in the future.
Oh, and did we mention we’re limiting capital gains? Yeah, that too.
If this sounds of interest to you, and consider yourself a leader, we would love to hear from you 👀
We need at least 1100 co-founding members of this network to achieve something different, something more open, something pro-human. Maybe you’re one of them.