San Francisco’s Kiva and Sierra Leone Government Launches Africa’s First Blockchain-Based Online Credit Platform

A San Francisco based Kiva -a non-profit organization has used blockchain technology to design an online Identification database platform in Sierra Leone. This blockchain platform will allow its people who are struggling to receive loans to show their credit record.

On 21st August, crowd funder Kiva along with the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio introduced the blockchain-powered system in the capital city Freetown. The president Bio believes the blockchain platform will attract more people of the country towards the financial platform, according to Reuters.

Sierra Leone becomes the foremost African nation to launch an online credit platform powered by blockchain technology.

The blockchain platform will make use of biometric record such as fingerprints so as to access the credit record of citizens in Sierra Leone. The biometric information of citizens was earlier collected by the government of Sierra Leone to print voter identification cards.

Under the new platform, a person considering taking a loan will get a digital wallet. The transaction details will be recorded on blockchain platform to protect user data and avoid tampering of data. The digital wallet app will be offered via an application and its associates will offer Wi-Fi-hotspots to guarantee that individuals have internet access.

As per the Information Ministry report in the country, more than 85 percent of the nation’s population doesn’t have access to the internet. The central bank of Sierra Leone mentions that more than $75 percent of the population in the country, not connected to the banks. Residents mostly depend on un-official institutions, for instance community banks, but such institution hardly shares credit data and mostly charge high-interest rates.

President Bio, for the first time, unveiled that the government was working over the blockchain platform with Kiva at the United Nations General Assembly’s 73rd Session, in 2018.

President Bio addressed in Freetown that this imaginary measure here today ensures that citizens of the country are not sidelined from the global digital economy.

Further, the President mentioned that the government is seeking to have all banks and micro-finance organizations within the country to use the blockchain platform by the end of 2019.

The blockchain platform will allow creditors to find credit records of citizens by using fingerprints and other biometric information collected by the government.

Kivas’s Strategy Vice President, Schan Duff mentioned,

“A national identity program here would provide the foundation for the growth of a robust financial services ecosystem.”

Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation head, David Sengeh informed Reuters through the phone,

“Lack of identification, or an inability to verify that identification for credit purposes, increases the cost of business for everyone.” 

Further, he said, a nationwide system indicates that institutions, companies, and anybody can validate what I’m saying about my loan record is correct. Anybody can forge a driver’s license, but not such a system.

David Sengeh mentioned, Now, borrowers can walk in, because Sierra Leone’s government has already completed most of the work across digital ID, borrowers can thumbprint and use voter ID card.

With the protocol technology of Kiva, we can check KYC within two seconds that usually use to take two weeks.

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