IBM is helping small business owners in Kenya achieve their dreams by providing loans to them. Food sellers in Kenya can now get loans at a very low interest rate through the support IBM is giving to a microfinance project using a Hyperledger blockchain. Bridget van Kralingen, the Senior Vice President in charge of Platforms & Blockchain at IBM explained the company’s dream to make microfinance more available in the developing countries saying, “Forty percent of the world’s population is unbanked,” she said. “The fastest way to get them out of poverty is to help them start a business.”
IBM is now supporting a micro finance project started by Twiga, a food-distribution logistics firm in Kenya with an aim to include more food stall proprietors into their logistics network. Twiga aimed to offer these businesses get more access to products by offering the food sellers micro-loan. Grant Brooke, co-founder of Twiga says, “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.”
Also, IBM scientists would use the data and machine learning obtained from the food stall operators’ cell phones to establish credit ratings for them. Isaac Markus, a researcher working at IBM Research in Kenya explains, “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.” The project will run on the Hyperledger private blockchain this means that lending will be transparent and efficient. Already, IBM has already conducted an 8-week pilot of the project which was a success last year. From the pilot, 220 food kiosk proprietors were given loans of around $30 that enabled them to increase their order sizes by 30%. The interest rate was about 1 or 2% respectively and repayable within 4 days. The project will make loan taking faster and devoid of bulky paper work since it provides a mobile based solution. Loans could be requested for by SMS which would largely aid the illiterate population and those that are unbanked. Also, IBM has plans to expand the project before the end of the year to other small- and medium-sized businesses across Africa.
What do you think about the Loan project IBM is building with Twiga? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below.
Image credit: shutterstock
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Cryptocurrency Market Bring Smiles as Prices Bounces Back After Libra Hearing in DC
Cryptocurrency market has bounced back after experiencing significant drop from the height it had reached with Bitcoin now trading at $10500+. An increase of over $1000 from its low.
Cryptocurrency market is filled with momentary ups and down and those in the space are no strangers to this behaviour.
During the Facebook Libra hearing in DC where the Libra project was scrutinized by the US senators, market as usual responded to the hearing with a dump with Bitcoin dropping as low as $9400. Ethereum the largest cryptocurrency went as low as $200 after touching $300+. All cryptocurrency saw great loss. Litecoin went down to $80.
As the hearing concludes, market has responded with a rise in cryptocurrency marketcap. Bitcoin is currently trading at $10525 a significant increase considering it dropped to as low as $9400+. At current total market capitalization is $286 billion dollars with Bitcoin holding 65.8% market dominance.
Ethereum is currently enjoying a $24+ increase as it stands at $224.67 with a market capitalization of $9.4 billion. It reports a 4.7% gain. Litecoin now trades at $99.92 enjoying a 9.62% increase. All top 10 cryptocurrencies are enjoying gains as Tron reports the highest among them all at 11% gain.
Bitcoin SV currently trades at a 10.64% increase which positioned it at $135. Bitcoin Cash is currently trading at $313 with a 5.4% gain while EOS now trade over $4 with its $2.389 billion. XRP reports a meager 1.81% gain. The least apart from the Stablecoin Tether which is trading a cent above a dollar with a 0.31% gain.
The growth in crypto market could be attributed to the exposure which Bitcoin and the whole crypto market/industry has received in via the comments of top US officials including the President of the United States and the Libra hearing which held in DC.
As the Libra representative appeared before the US Senators, several interesting issues were brought up which has exposed millions of Americans and the global community to what Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is. Going forward, crypto will enjoy mass exposure as it gets into daily discussions and politics.
As Libra and crypto has become a hot topic in the US, it could be expected that the forth coming US elections will be a platform to discuss Crypto. Something which Crypto advocate, cybersecurity expert and Presidential aspirant John McAfee has already informed us.
US Treasury believes Libra could be used for Money Laundering or Financing Terrorism
The 77th Secretary of the US Treasury had in a Press Conference held in the White House made known government position on the Facebook attempt into cryptocurrency. In the Conference, the Secretary expressed the concerns over Facebook Libra and Calibra saying it could be used for money laundering or financing of terrorism.
Facebook has since last year 2018 been preparing for its move into cryptocurrency by hiring engineers, a move after it had place a ban on crypto ads a year before. In June 2019, the social media giant released its white paper outline its goal to build a new financial system using the blockchain with massive corporations ranging acting as validators.
The attempt to create its “globalcoin” attracted backlash from the crypto community and as well as countries of the world which say the move as a threat to their local currency. Chiefly amongst the latest move by a foreign nation is the India’s decision to have nothing to do with Libra within its sovereign borders.
Facebook upon releasing the Libra white paper received a correspondence from the US Congress signed by Maxine Waters amongst others asking it to halt Libra or risk the emergence of a new Swiss financial system that is too big to fail. Congress requested Facebook to appear before it. The date is set for July 16, however, and top US officials are expressing their position on the Libra and its fate appears hanging.
The 45th Leader of the free world has few days ago said the Facebook Libra will have “little standing”. A comment which US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin credited as the President’s personal opinion and not that of the State. However, in the Press Conference today, the Secretary said the Treasury has very serious concerns Libra could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism.
“……..the overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.” – Steve Mnuchin
And as cryptocurrencies has been exploited by many players to facilitate illegal activities such as cybercrime, tax evasion, illicit drugs, human trafficking, While the US government welcomes innovations that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services, Libra poses a threat to the financial stability and integrity of the US financial system.
Facebook is currently trading as at press time at $203 showing a closing loss of 0.47% after opening at $204 and reaching a height of $205.53 today.
Crypto Believers are Fools, No Country Will Allow Unregulated Crypto – Nouriel Roubini
The famous anti-crypto economist Nouriel Roubini has stated he agrees with President Donald Trump on his comment on Crypto. Though he said this is the 1st time he ever agreed with the 45th President of the US.
In a tweet, the crypto skeptic pointed out that no country will not even the United States will allow the Wild West scams of unregulated crypto with no AML/KYC. His position on cryptocurrency known globally by crypt enthusiast however, this latest tweet is coming as a reply to the comment by the US President on crypto and the Facebook Libra. He also took a swipe on Facebook by saying countries will not allow firms to be a bank or money servicers with no banking license or regulations.
1st time I agree with Trump: no country, not even USA skeptical of excessive regs, will allow the wild west scams of unregulated crypto with no AML/KYC, being a bank or money servicer with no bank license/regs. Get used to it u crypto fools/scammers. Start to comply or disappear! https://t.co/2up9lIuiRu
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) July 12, 2019
The Economist has openly expressed his disdain for all things cryptocurrrency by calling it shitcoin, scams etc at several times. In a post on Twitter, he targeted Ethereum calling the ICO which the second largest cryptocurrency has “just a scam”. He went further to say the ICO was aimed at filling the pockets of a small group of insiders including Vitalik Buterin. The sale was not a fair one and that Crypto is the mother of all scams.
The only way to be “safe” in crypto is to go back to the Stone Age. He took another swipe at Crypto security. Poking the idea behind Cold Storage and Paper Wallets, he pointed put that the idea of cold storage and paper wallet is exactly like the Stone Age and that crypto is taking us there. “Write your private key on a piece of paper and hide it in a mattress and hope you aren’t victim of a crypto robber or of paper eating rats” he said.
Recently Roubini has been in cross-hairs with the Founder of BitMEX Authur Hayes over a Talk they had which he claims the BitMEX CEO is hiding the recordings where he said he beat the Margin Trading Exchange Boss. He called out the CEO calling the Margin Trading exchange a scamshop. Continuing, he said Regulators and Law Enforcement authorities will start to take action on the Exchange hopefully.
He attacked the security of the cryptocurrency industry by saying no exchange is secure as there are hacks everywhere. This was a reply to the Japanese exchange Bitpoint which was recently hacked and resulted in the loss of over $20 million. He further claimed that “No one is using the DEX as they have no liquidity or transactions AND are hackable too!”.
The stand of the Nouriel Roubini, a Coindesk Most Influential Award winner is no new thing in crypto and he has come again and again under attack from Crypto Enthusiast. He is an Author, Professor and CEO of Roubini Macro Associates.
Japan’s LIQUID Exchange Announces Telegram Digital Token Public Sale
Japan’s top cryptocurrency exchange Liquid has announced the upcoming Public Sale launch of Telegram digital asset token for the (Telegram Open Network).
As reported by Finance Magnates, this development is made possible by Liquid’s recent partnership with Gram Asia, the largest holder of the native token of TON blockchain in Asia. Public Sale for the TON token will commence by 10th of July 8 am UTC and is open to accredited LIQUID Exchange users. Interested participants in the public sale are also expected to have enough funds in their accounts.
Excited Mike Kayamori, co-founder and CEO of Liquid, “We are excited to be partnering with Gram Asia to launch the Gram token sale, which is wonderful news to our community who are native users of Telegram. We share the vision for a more secure and open value transfer system in order to enable the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.” said.
It should be noted Telegram organized a private sale in 2017 when it announced plans to launch its own Blockchain and native token via the no longer popular ICO. It raised a total of $1.7 billion via private sale as at March 2018 making it the second largest amount raised through ICO second only to Block.one’s EOSIO which still ranks tops after raising over $4 billion.
“The TON Blockchain infrastructure can help enhance Telegram’s current capabilities as a peer to peer network of value, with the launch of their cryptocurrency light wallets for Telegram’s highly engaged user base,” Kayamori continued.
As TON is expected on its own Blockchain, Liquid Exchange will make provision for integration of the TON compatible wallet where investors are expected to receive TON tokens upon the launch of TON Mainnet which is expected to go live by October 2019. As Japan’s first FSA licensed global exchange, it assures its users of an unconditional refund should the initial plans not follow through by the TON Team.
“As the first Japan FSA licensed global exchange, Liquid has demonstrated strong governance capabilities for protecting its users; therefore, I firmly believe Liquid is the right partner to launch this historic token sale. We are excited to invite all believers in Telegram’s vision, globally and in Asia, to build on top of TON, leveraging the critical mass of Telegram’s user base.” Dongbeom Kim, founder and CEO of Gram Asia, said.
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