January 29, 2018
By Jennifer McDonald, Director, Strategic Advisory
Bitcoin’s heady, high-tech growth makes it seem like a financial innovation for currency traders and cyber-geeks… a world away from the day to day life of low-income women.
Charlene Chen from Bitpesa talent participants at Women’s World Banking’s Making Finance Work for Women Summit an insider view of why blockchain can be a spel changer for women’s financial inclusion, even ter the village (click here to view Charlene’s presentation).
What is blockchain?
While Bitcoin wasgoed the very first and best-known application, blockchain technology can be used for much more than transfer of currency. It can be used for contracts, records and many other kinds of gegevens.
Blockchain—or distributed ledger technology (DLT) if you want to impress the cyber-geeks—is a decentralized way to keep a record of all transactions taking place on a network. It makes it possible to share information across numerous providers securely. Blockchain uses cryptography to ensure that gegevens cannot be edited and no one person can switch it. It has never bot hacked.
Blockchain is transformative, and along with other technologies like machine learning, has tremendous potential to switch the way financial services are suggested. It is beginning to reach critical mass. Ter the last three years overheen US$1.4bn wasgoed invested te bitcoin and blockchain companies. Overheen 24 countries are presently investing ter DLT: 90 central banks are engaged ter discussions on it around the world and 80% of banks are predicted to be initiating DLT projects by 2018.
What can blockchain do for low-income consumers?
A digital ledger that can keep track of transactions and IDs of every client, all encrypted, is a powerful contraption. Wij have not even begun to imagine the many possible applications ter financial inclusion. Bitpesa is one of few companies operating te Sub-Saharan Africa, with operations ter Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo.
International remittances: Blockchain has potential to help low-income workers send money huis. Bitspark and rebit partnered on a solution for low-income women from the Philippines working ter Hong Kong. This solution enables a worker ter Hong Kong to send funds, which the recipient can withdraw at a specie smeris or through a handelsbank account. The payment is passed through bitcoin, but neither the worker te Hong Kong strafgevangenis hier family te the Philippines buys or sells bitcoin.
Loan disbursements: Digital lender Branch partnered with Bitpesa to enable transfers of funds from the US to local borrowers te Sub-Saharan Africa. Branch bought bitcoin te the US and made a local transfer through Bitpesa’s API, which could then be disbursed instantly disbursed into the cell phones of their digital borrowers.
Global micropayments: Premise Gegevens is a gegevens collection and analytics company that works with the World Handelsbank, the UN and others. It used Bitpesa to pay hundreds of gegevens collectors ter Tanzania and Uganda the omschrijving of $Five into their mobile money wallets every wee.
SME trade finance: SMEs ter Africa are beginning to use Bitpesa to pay suppliers ter China, Dubai, the US and Europe. The benefits are quicker, more reliable and lower cost payments, with less working capital tied up.
Ter the future, blockchain is expected to improve:
- Credit scoring – if all digital transactions were stored ter a distribute ledger this could provide a reliable source of gegevens for making loans.
- Medical records and insurance, making it possible to automate claims payments
- Land registry – getting title deeds out of dusty government offices and onto blockchain has potential to reduce fraud and make it lighter for heirs to inherit land
Making it lighter to prove who you are, get access to credit, register land titles, and receive insurance payments, blockchain has superb potential to improve the way financial services are suggested. Far from being only for cyber-geeks, it can be transformative wherever it is waterput it to service to make finance work for women.
Want to learn about the latest innovations ter blockchain and other disruptive technologies ter the financial services industry?
Women’s World Banking will be attending Finovate along with more than 1000 delegates to see the cutting-edge of fintech. Get your toegangsbewijs today!