Kurrenci Is Money For The Web… With A Twist

Sometimes an idea is so out there that it’s hard to even explain clearly without sounding like a crazy person. Kurrenci is one of those ideas.

Kurrenci is money for the Internet. You “buy” Kurrenci (or earn it through browsing and other interactions) and then you can use it at various locations on the Web, including ecommerce sites, gaming services, and peer-to-peer payments.

Now one of the best things about currency exchange is arbitrage. Here’s where that comes in. Look at the list below. Each of those are exchange rates. But like mini-Pyongyangs, each website is in control of its own exchange rate. Parity can be 1 to 1 to the dollar or Amazon can offer 1.25, essentially offering a considerable discount on everything they sell. Kurrenci takes a small percentage of these “discounts” as payment for customer discovery.

“We came to this by thinking about the problems that currently exist as they relate to money on the Internet. From the merchant’s perspective, it has become increasingly difficult and expensive to acquire a customer. They are forced to resort to marketplaces and affiliates that only move product and don’t bring lasting customers. From the shopper’s perceptive, the coupon and discount mechanisms have become so fragmented that it is overwhelming,” said CEO Nathan Hecht. In other words this is a coupon that applies to everything on a site and, more important, is accepted everywhere on the Internet.

Wild, huh?


The site is launching tomorrow and the team is working out of a warehouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They’re running off of $1 million in seed money put up by Hecht and they are working on Series A funding for this summer.

So what about all the Floozes and Beans and Nublets? Didn’t those guys try this? Yes and no. Obviously this thing is a bit different in that you’re actually offering a discount rather than a virtual currency and it’s pegged to the whims of ecommerce. It’s also going to be useful to more than just paranoid Gold Bug conspiracists.

“What differentiates us from the digital currencies of the late 90s and early 2000s is aside from the maturation of the Internet, we are always taking into account the needs of all stakeholders in the Internet economy – e-commerce merchants, online shoppers, gamers etc,” said Hecht.

“We have developed a currency for the Internet – this is new money! No more coupons. No more spam. Just simple, universal money that people can spend however they want and always get a better value.”

The entire project obviously requires quite a bit of buy-in from some major merchants. I doubt Amazon will break their leg trying to get to the phone when Hecht calls offering a virtual currency for the Internet, but stranger things have happened. Luckily, these guys admit that this isn’t going to replace the Japanese Yen or the Klingon Darsek. This stuff exists entirely online and most retailers will treat it as part of their promotional scheme rather than coupons. We also need to remember that coupons and discounts are actually display ads. They entice consumers to roll into an online store. Kurrenci, on the other hand, is a bit more of an investment. At the very least it requires you to tie up your cash.

Sometimes you get lucky. We’ll see how these guys fare.

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