Many of the world’s poor in developing countries — nearly 2 billion, according to the World Bank — struggle to lift themselves out of poverty simply because they don’t have a bank account or financial services.
This is a missed opportunity for the financial services industry that has traditionally focused on the rich and middle class. In fact, developing markets represent the next frontier for economic growth.
Mobile wallets can be an effective, alternative solution for unbanked people, but it’s costly and complicated for banks to develop digital financial services for new markets, as well as make them interoperable so that digital money can be exchanged as freely and fluidly as cash.
This lack of interoperability not only prevents financial growth for the impoverished, but also slows growth for local and national economies.
However, a new collaboration supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will change that. Ripple, in partnership with Dwolla, ModusBox, Software Group and Crosslake Technologies, with funding and support from the Gates Foundation, developed a new open-source software called Mojaloop for creating a real-time, interoperable payments platform on a national scale to reach the world’s poor with essential financial tools.
A New Interoperable System to Bring the Poor into the Global Economy
Leveraging the power of the Interledger Protocol (ILP), Mojaloop offers a way for financial providers, governments and mobile network operators to simplify and reduce the cost of developing inclusive payments platforms.
Mojaloop can be used to connect customers, merchants, banks, providers and government offices across a country’s economy — accelerating progress toward a truly inclusive economy.
The new software is a boon for the 90 percent of the world’s poor that don’t have bank accounts and are covered by different mobile signals.
Now, individuals in developing markets can send and receive payments on any Level One-enabled payment system and store the funds in a mobile wallet.
This revolutionary technology provides a bridge between mobile networks and financial providers in order to drive prosperity in local, national and regional economies — helping to create an Internet of Value.
Ripple’s Chief Technology Officer Stefan Thomas said, “Enabling the poor to make payments to anyone, anywhere, using a mobile wallet has implications beyond increased access to their domestic economies. It has the potential to bring millions into the fold of the global digital economy. We are honored to have been a part of this project.”
Kosta Peric, deputy director, Financial Services for the Poor, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, added, “We believe that everyone benefits from an economy that includes everyone. This software can help empower billions of new customers and drive massive economic growth in developing markets.”
“The open-source code we have created thanks to the contribution of Ripple, as well as Dwolla, ModusBox, Software Group and Crosslake Technologies, will give billions of people the opportunity to make and receive payments using their mobile wallets. It is our hope that they will be able to buy and sell goods and services in a way that is safe, transparent, affordable and instant,” Peric concluded.
Where Can Mobile Networks Access Mojaloop?
Mojaloop is free of charge and available to developers to use via GitHub. Ripple and the Gates Foundation encourage anyone who’s interested in Mojaloop to explore the software, use it to build or adapt products and services, or offer updates to the software.