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Blockchain Technology

How CryptoCribs Could Economically Empower Africans

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CryptoCribs
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Decentralised cryptocurrencies have gained a substantial amount of popularity among investors due to their high-profit potential in the past twelve months. However, the real power of the decentralised economy is that it can empower individuals in many never before seen ways by disintermediating central authorities.

An excellent example of a use case for decentralised digital currencies is the cryptocurrency-powered home sharing platform CryptoCribs, which enables homeowners to rent out spare rooms and apartments in exchange for cryptocurrency.

What is CryptoCribs?

CryptoCribsCryptoCribs combines the peer-to-peer element of the sharing economy with decentralised digital currencies to build the first “purely peer-to-peer electronic short-term rental system allowing rental payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through financial and reputational intermediaries like Airbnb.”

“The CryptoCribs project has the mission of liberating rental markets, empowering individuals and building a strong community. To achieve this mission, we want to break up the different intermediation layers in a step-by-step process. While CryptoCribs plans to act as an intermediary initially, our intention is to progressively disintermediate ourselves,” the startup states in its whitepaper.

The house sharing platform currently offers several different locations, including listings in South Africa, and there is a review system in place so that hosts and travellers can view each other’s reviews. The platform has all the traits of an Airbnb for cryptocurrency users, which provides the hosts in different countries with a new source of revenue that is not controlled by a company that takes a share of the rental profits.

CryptoCribs’ Potential in Africa

In Africa, renting out spare rooms or apartments on CryptoCribs could become a new way of financially empowering the local population. The fact that CryptoCribs hosts are being in cryptocurrency directly means that no money is lost to the sharing economy platform nor is the value of the payments affected by fluctuations in the local currency. In light of the volatility of certain African currencies, this is a major selling point for choosing CryptoCribs over Airbnb as a host. 

Moreover, the intangible nature of digital currencies means that a government cannot physically remove the wealth of a citizen. This paradigm shift is a monumental step forward in the social contract, providing an additional layer of financial security to individuals. This enables hosts to confidently use bitcoin without the fear that the actions of their government will interfere with their wealth acquisition. 

The Many Benefits of CryptoCribs

Recognition at a Universal Level

Many bitcoin users are travelling the world, which has led to a rising demand for bitcoin-accepting services in the travel industry. CryptoCribs is, therefore, a welcomed addition to cryptocurrency-accepting accommodation.

Moreover, since cryptocurrency is not bound by the exchange rates, interest rates, transaction charges or other charges of any country, it can be used at an international level without experiencing any difficulties. This can potentially save a lot of money for both travellers and businesses.

The Elimination of Fraud

Cryptocurrencies cannot be counterfeited or reversed arbitrarily by the sender as is the case with credit card charge-backs. Africa loses billions from fraud every year, which drastically impacts the economy and hinders growth. However, through the use of cryptocurrencies instead of traditional payment methods, the chance of fraud is greatly reduced to the benefit of both the host and the renter. 

Accessibility

CryptoCribs can financially empower even those without access to bank accounts. There are approximately 2.2 billion individuals with access to the Internet or mobile phones who do not currently have access to a bank account. These people are primed for the use of digital currencies and they could start hosting immediately as they do not require a bank account or a Paypal account like it is the case for Airbnb. 

If you have a spare room or apartments you can rent out, you should consider CryptoCribs as it could provide you with a new source of income where you receive the entirety of the rental income and you alone have control over the payments made in cryptocurrency.

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Blockchain Technology

IBM and Twiga Foods Partner to Offer a Blockchain-Enabled Microcredit Solution

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Blockchain-enabled Microcredit

IBM Research in partnership with Twiga Foods announced a new microcredit solution that is now ready for rollout following an eight-week pilot. The pilot saw the two companies utilise the blockchain-based financing system to process 220 loans to recipients with the average lending amount of approximately $30 per recipient. The loans were for four to eight days with a one and two percent interest rate respectively.

The solution came about when Twiga Foods – a mobile-based supply platform for Africa’s retail outlets, kiosks, and market stalls – was looking to expand its logistics services into a total market ecosystem by adding financial services for its customers.

Grant Brooke, Twiga Foods Co-Founder said, “Previously, we were focused on helping farmers distribute bananas, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to 2,600 kiosks across Kenya, but we soon realized that we could help them sell even more produce with access to working capital. It’s simple, if the food vendors can sell more, we can distribute more, growing both of our businesses.”

Twiga Foods begun working with IBM Research in Nairobi late last year to establish a blockchain-enabled finance lending platform that could foretell a vendor’s credit score. Isaac Markus, a researcher on the inclusive financial services group at IBM Research in Kenya, said: “We analysed purchase records from a mobile device and then apply machine learning algorithms to predict creditworthiness, in turn giving lenders the confidence they need to provide microloans to small businesses. Once the credit score is determined, we used a blockchain, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, to manage the entire lending process from application to receiving offers to accepting the terms to repayment.”

Benefits of the Blockchain-based Microlending Platform

With the blockchain, the lending process is transparent to all parties involved. Blockchains are immutable which helps in reducing fraud since no one person can add to the blockchain without agreement from the entire network. Also, blockchains can make use of smart contracts that are executable in real-time, therefore, reducing the time it takes for loans to be manually processed and issued. The technology will also help address the financial woes that informal and small businesses encounter when looking for cash to re-invest in their businesses.

The eight-week pilot saw the loan order size increase by 30 percent with each retailer having an average of a six percent increase in their profit. All 220 loans were executed through mobile phones and deposited directly towards the businesses’ working capital. If a retailer had an order delivered, they would then get an SMS with loan options that they could use to finance the order. The retailer would then respond to the SMS confirming the loan option they wanted.

“We had several iterations of the platform based on feedback from the retailers. The SMS-based solution provided an effective channel for a diverse set of users, some with limited IT literacy, to access financing for their orders,” stated Andrew Kinai, the lead software engineer on the project at IBM Research.

Following the successful pilot phase, the platform will first be rolled out to traders in Nairobi and then target SMEs across Africa by the end of 2018 with expansion into new sectors.

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Blockchain Technology

IBITx Launches New African Brand to Focus on Blockchain Incubation

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IBITx

IBITX Software Inc., a cryptocurrency exchange service and crowdsale software provider, has launched its new African brand called AFRIBITx.com. The company aims to position itself as an incubator for the development of blockchain concepts and companies in Africa.

A New Blockchain Incubator for Africa

IBITx is a digital currency exchange that matches investors with token sales on a single platform for ‘offerings’ as well as a free market trading system for all aftermarket cryptocurrency purchases and sales.

In a company press release, IBITx CEO Rose Marie D. Araos said:

“Our intention is to launch in partnership with a financial service provider a regulated environment in at least 2-8 African countries to start ideally by June 2018. The system’s skeletal structure is available for testing, however, we are still endeavouring to negotiate with regulated brokers and regulatory organisations as to which country will house the first African blockchain incubator, exchange, and crowdsale system.”

The new brand, AFRIBITx aims to become the exchange, crowdsale, and blockchain incubator brand for Africa. IBITx Software will harness its talent pool of blockchain developers in Philippines, India and South Africa with the objective of developing cryptocurrencies and decentralised technologies across the African continent.

The company also plans to put in place revenue sharing partnerships with local brokers, which will see them handle management and custody of the various local markets.

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Blockchain Technology

South African Startup Vio Digital Launches Blockchain-Powered Money Transfer App

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Vio Digital

Vio Digital, a South African fintech startup, is launching an Ethereum blockchain-powered money transfer app that will go live in May 2018.

Vio Digital is offering a new form of international money transfer that enables people to transfer money from anywhere in the world with zero transfer and exchange fees. Moreover, Vio Digital has not set a foreign exchange markup, which translates to affordable money transfers for users. Vio Digital, therefore, eliminates the price barrier that Africans in the diaspora face when sending money back home.

“For people sending money home to their families, additional processing and admin costs can be crippling. Our app uses technology to give people safer and more convenient ways to move their money. Technology like the blockchain means we can take cost out of the system to give people cheaper ways to move their money,” Praga Govender, CEO and founder of Vio Digital, stated.

Vio Digital held its initial coin offering from February 19 to 2 March 2, 2018, where the startup managed to raise approximately $1.2 million in ETH.

How Does the App Work?

The startup’s app is currently available in the Google Play Store and will initially be available in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon. To use the app all you need to do is download it and register your account by completing the KYC process. You will then receive a Vio wallet address, which you will use to make money transfers.

The next step is topping up your wallet by buying Vio tokens using Visa or Mastercard. Once you have done that, you can send or receive money. To cash out, convert the Vio tokens into your local currency and then transfer the amount to your linked Visa Debit card through Visa Direct. The Vio app also features a transaction history to keep track of your transfers, exchanges, and top-ups.

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