In a slightly controversial move, a group of six developers have come together to create Israel’s first digital currency, or bitcoin.

The monetary developers, which include Amnon Daphne, Omer Dahan, Guy Sheffer, Ron Gross and Dorom Omri, launched Isracoin (ISR) at the end of March, part of an international trend in Internet virtual money.

These types of “cryptocurrencies” have been popping up around the world recently as a response to financial regulations and controlling interests some see as corrupt. According to Forex Minute Portal, Iceland was one of the first countries to start a national digital currency — the Aurocoin — followed by Spaincoin, Aphroditecoin in Cyprus and the Lakota’s Mazacoin.

Bitcoin is a decentralized, virtual currency based online. Bitcoin, it should be noted, is not legal tender however, meaning no businesses have to accept it.

On the Isracoin website, the founders note that they hope the new currency will help “Israel, a major economy, [break] free from the financial chokehold of banks and politicians… Globally ranked 39th largest economy out of 190 countries, Israel has one of the highest levels of cen-tralization of wealth and assets, with about 20 families controlling most of the industry and 5 banks controlling a whopping 93 percent of banking assets in the country. Isracoin will help change that.”

The website also includes a countdown clock for when the first pre-mined Isracoins will be dis-tributed, beginning on May 6th. The first 50,000 businesses to express interest will each receive 500 Isracoins, according to The Jewish Press. Israeli citizens “able to identify [themselves] to the satisfaction of the system” will be eligible for their own 100 ISR in the second stage of the project.

Isracoin’s communications director, Amnon Dafni, confirmed to The Times of Israel that the currency’s founders hoped to be able to spread the benefits of virtual currency where others had failed in the past.

“The fact is that [Israelis] don’t use this wonderful technology in an application to advance the economy,” Dafni told The Times, adding that the technology is simple and as easy to figure out as “using email or a cellular device.”

Aware of security breaches associated with other bitcoin ventures, Dafni attempted to assuage any concerns about Isracoin stability.

“The Bitcoin platform is very, very secure,” Dafni told The Times. “We use the same technology, and our level of security is super, super, super high and it’s being inspected from every direction and angle.”

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