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Blockchain-based community currencies to launch in Kenya

Kenya , 25 Jun 2018

Blockchain-based community currencies to launch in Kenya

Decentralised network for digital currencies Bancor is launching a network of blockchain-based community currencies in Kenya, aimed at tackling poverty by encouraging commerce and peer-to-peer economic collaboration.

The pilot of the project - which enables Kenyan communities to create and manage their own digital tokens - will scale an existing regional network of paper-based community currencies operated by local non-profit Grassroots Economics, currently serving over 1,000 local businesses and 20 schools in Kenya.

The first pilots will launch in Kawangware and Kibera, the two largest slums in Kenya. Bancor is seeding the initial currencies by contributing capital generated from its US$153 million token sale in June 2017, and said the project marks the first time a local currency will function with market-based price discovery and convertibility into other cryptocurrencies.

Anyone will be able to buy and sell the new Kenyan currencies through the Bancor Network, using major credit cards or more than 100 cryptocurrencies, allowing users globally to support the local communities from afar.

The launch will be overseen from Nairobi by Bancor's new director of community currencies Will Ruddick, who also runs Grassroots Economics.

Ruddick and his team will utilise the Bancor Protocol to expand Grassroots' existing paper currency system into a blockchain-based network which aims to reduce poverty by empowering communities to create interest-free credit based on their productive capacity.

"Communities should be afforded the same privileges as nations to develop their own prospering economies with the stability of their own currencies," said Ruddick.

"We have seen the crypto world generate roughly US$300 billion for new currencies, and we believe the same mechanics can be applied to help communities create wealth on a local level through the use of blockchain-based community currencies that fill regional trade gaps, enable basic income and food security, and promote thriving local and interconnected global markets," said Galia Benartzi, co-founder of Bancor.

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