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US Blockchain firm eyes mobile money crypto opportunity in Kenya

Kenya , 22 Aug 2018

US Blockchain firm eyes mobile money crypto opportunity in Kenya

US-based Blockchain and payments company Celo is looking closely at Kenya's mobile money ecosystem and the viability of implementing a similar crypto-based system for financial inclusion.

Speaking at the iHub Entrepreneurship Forum, Anca Bogdana, go-to-market lead at Celo, said that the system will map phone numbers to wallet addresses through the company's identity protocol.

Celo's Blockchain initiative will be pegged on fiat currencies such as the dollar to ensure stability of their coin as opposed to using Bitcoin, which has high fluctuation in the market.

The platform could be used to buy goods and pay for services, but also send money from one user to the other. The transaction history will then be placed on top of a Blockchain platform to aid in aggregating users' credit scores.

The company hopes to engage regulators in the targeted developing countries to pilot some of its products and to encourage innovators to build custom solutions on top on its Blockchain platform.

Venessa Slavich, the head of community at Celo said that they aim to bridge the financial inclusion gap in developing countries where 1.7 billion people have no access to bank accounts, and 1.1 billion to do not have any form of identification.

The company wants to pilot the system in 2019 in developing regions.

Meanwhile, Dr Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of the AI and Blockchain taskforce, set up by government in February 2018, has confirmed that the unit will introduce a roadmap for deliberation among the local developer community in September 2018.

Authorities are considering implementing a digital citizen database to serve as "bedrock" for more widespread application of Blockchain and AI, among other technologies.

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