Photo Credit: Screenshot, Isracoin official website
Isracoin is the latest digital currency to hit the alternative money market in Israel.

Israel has decided to cash in on the international Internet virtual money craze that is sweeping the planet and created its own “cryptocurrency” – the Isracoin (ISR) – launched last week by not one, but rather six different developers, all active in social movements.

According to a report posted on the Forex Minute website, the digital money thing is not a new concept and it began as a movement to avoid corrupt financial regulations and the “chokehold of banks and politicians.”

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For example, the Isracoin.org website explains that although the Jewish State ranks globally as the 39th largest economy out of 190 nations in the world, only 20 families control most of the industry in the country. Five banks control 93 percent of the banking assets in Israel.

Now a new trend has begun – that of “nation-based cryptocurrencies,” the Forex Minute site reports. Iceland initiated the movement with the world’s first national digital currency, the Auroracoin, followed by Spain’s Spaincoin. Cyprus and independent Lakota were next in line, each with its own currency.

However, unlike the Bitcoin, these currencies are not sold. Instead, their creators distribute them “in order to create a national network that recognize and use them in the place of conventional and regulated currencies,” according to the report.

In Israel, Isracoin is based on scrypt and is 10% pre-mined. The premined coins will be distributed to Israeli businesses on May 6th at midnight and to individuals in the general population on June 6 at midnight.

The Isracoin announced that the first 50,000 businesses to express interest will each receive 500 Isracoins as a way to jump start the project.  A similar “airdrop” of 100 ISR per Israeli citizen “who is able to identify himself to the satisfaction of the system” will be distributed to up to 2,850,000 people in the second stage of the project. The number represents some 50 percent of those above age 17 in Israel, developers say on the Isracoin website.

The only question for the “Start Up Nation” now is whether the Isracoin will prove to be fierce competition for the Bitcoin or whether co-existence will grow to provide a unique new model for peace in the Middle East.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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