For the past few years speculators have been making wild claims of how blockchain technology will revolutionize the world, whilst developers and entrepreneurs simultaneously created endless solutions to problems that never existed.
This shaped the unfortunate narrative that the technology only benefits speculators and those that partake in illegal activities. Mainly as blockchain never provided real tangible value to humanity – until it gave a lifeline for communities in Kenya.
Blockchain impacting Kenyan communities?
Five villages in Kenya had the opportunity of experiencing a complete restructure of their financial system, a revolution that drastically changed and innovated the way people and local businesses exchange value among each other.
xDai’s stable network enabled the creation of a new category of currencies, CICs – Community Inclusive Currencies.
This new digital currency can be used within a village to pay for local goods or services whilst saving traditional currencies for governmental or big corporation expenses. They are not meant to replace fiat currencies, but have the purpose empowering communities by:
- Creating jobs
- Developing social programs
- Supporting local trade
- Creating a decentralised banking structure
Blockchain makes it possible to safely and easily exchange value peer-to-peer without the need of any centralised structure.
The technology provides unparalleled value to those that live in places where such centralised structure is missing or unsupportive, a structure that is more than often unsupportive in remote Kenyan villages – making this country a perfect candidate for a “financial experiment”.
Kenya is one of the poorest countries in the world, a country that due to a lack of resources is often unable to support remote villages.
These villages traditionally have an incredibly strong sense of community, but unfortunately they have terrible employment rates with most 18-35 year being unemployed and with 50-80 percent of all jobs considered to be informal, without any contract and thus stability.
There is nonetheless a huge demand for casual jobs. Like fixing roads, painting houses and general maintenance that is necessary for the welfare of the village – however scarce resources are the main cause for these jobs to remain unfulfilled.
Many remote villages in Kenya share the same situation:
- Loads of people willing to work due to high unemployment
- Loads of available jobs that could benefit the community and overall village
- Missing resources to enable the creation of jobs.
Introducing a new currency?
In a scenario where you have people willing to work, jobs that need to be fulfilled but no resources to make it happen – introducing a community currency as opposed to printing more local fiat may be the missing ingredient to initiate a micro-economic recovery.
As a consequence the Grassroots Economic team created a new digital currency powered by xDai’s stable payment network.
How does it work?
As mentioned above Community Inclusive Currencies are not meant to replace fiat, but to co-exist together – an additional and parallel injection of capital within a small village economy.
The currency is accepted by local businesses and used to exchange value peer-to-peer, whilst traditional fiat currencies will be used to simply cover expenses for costs that originate outside of the village – big corporation and governmental expenses.
Additionally xDai’s technology makes it incredibly easy for users to safely and easily transact with digital currencies as:
- The wallet creation and registration takes between 15 and 2 minutes
- Transactions are validated between 2 minutes and 5 seconds
Banking services in Kenya are relatively slow and inefficient, especially when compared to western standards. Not to mention that a vast percentage of the population is unbanked – making Community Inclusive Currencies a huge upgrade and thus offer unprecedented value to those living in remote villages.
The structure that makes it viable is relatively simple:
Cool idea, but is it working?
The beautiful thing about this initiative is that sponsors and partners have no say on how the villages should manage their funds, it is up to them to develop and grow – projects only supply the tools to do it.
Unlike many initiatives this has been incredibly successful, and the impacts within the community have by far exceed everyone’s expectations.
More than 1200 businesses across 5 communities actively trade with Community Inclusive Currencies powered by xDai’s technology and as of February 2020:
- 3015 users made at least one trade
- 2,336,655 tokens traded for basic goods ( 23k )
- 1,514,155 tokens held by the community ( 15k )
In the first year alone, there has been a 10% increase in trade as well as:
- 77% Increase in trust
- 347% Increase in gifting
- 57% Increase in environmental activities
- 23% Increase in school attendance
- 25% Decrease in crime & corruption
- 20% of parents payed school fees with Community Inclusive Currencies
- +17% Jobs created
- +37% Sales revenue
- +78% Food Security
You and Blockchain can make the world a better place
Based on the results above it is clear that this initiative is positively impacting individuals, overall communities and their economy. Most importantly this initiative highlighted that (1) Traditional currency systems and (2) Structures provided by large institutions are not always best practice for all of those that are part of the economy.
Different circumstances and ways of life require different approaches, and this initiative powered by xDai shows there is a clear demand for innovation in developing countries.
Fortunately the Grassroots Economics initiative is not done yet and it is planning to expand is operation in order to empower a growing number of communities around the world.
Countless communities around the world could drastically improve their living standard by introducing this innovative technology and financial structure to their day-to-day life. It will not be an easy feat to achieve as a substantial amount of resources and manpower will be required to scale this initiative – but you can still help!
How can you help?
There are multiple ways in which you can help to support the Grassroots Economic initiative, like:
- Looking for a job – if you wish to actively engage with the rest of the team and local communities
- Donating – supports the initiative as well as back the circulating supply of Community Inclusive Currencies
- Work Study – volunteering, researching and being an intern with Grassroots Economics is a rewarding experience that can change the lives of people in need. You will be building a bridge between cultures and sharing your hope, enthusiasm, skills and dreams.
You can learn more about how you can get involved here