Gates Foundation Launches Blockchain-based Mobile Payments Solution

By Joshua Althauser    October 20, 2017

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has launched the Mojaloop open-source payments software to provide an interoperability layer between financial institutions, payment providers, and other companies offering payment services to the poor and unbanked people around the world.

The mobile payments system employs the Interledger technology that was developed by distributed ledger technology (DLT) startup Ripple.

According to the foundation’s deputy director of financial services for the poor, Kosta Peric, the new software is aimed at resolving the issues with respect to the interoperability of digital payments. He also issued an invitation to players in the banking and payments industries to test the system.

“Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome. With Mojaloop, our technology partners have finally achieved a solution that can apply to any service, and we invite banks and the payments industry to explore and test this tool.”

Source: Gates Foundation Launches Blockchain-based Mobile Payments Solution

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IBM Blockchain Payments To Use Stellar In Major Partnership Deal – The Cointelegraph

By WIlliam Suberg    October 16, 2017

IBM and payments network KlickEx have announced Stellar as the backbone of its new “cross-border payments solution.”

In what it describes as the first use of public Blockchain technology “being used in production to facilitate cross-border payments in multiple integrated currency corridors,” IBM is already convening a group of big banking partners to further the initiative.

“Currently, cross-border payments take up to several days to clear,” Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb said in an accompanying blog post.

“This new implementation is poised to affect a profound change in the South Pacific region, and once fully scaled by IBM and its banking partners, could potentially change the way money is moved around the world.”

More at: IBM Blockchain Payments To Use Stellar In Major Partnership Deal – The Cointelegraph

UN Integrates IrisGuard’s Ethereum Payment Platform for Refugees – ETHNews.com

IrisGuard is revolutionizing the refugee experience by incorporating a biometrics payment system into UN camps.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has thrown millions of people into turmoil and displacement. Since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, many of those displaced have pursued sanctuary in other countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 13.5 million people require humanitarian aid. Of this number, the UNHCR estimates there are over five million registered Syrian refugees.

After those seeking asylum are registered through UNHCR, further assistance can be made available to them by other humanitarian organizations, like the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These groups provide international assistance instruments, such as refugee resettlementprograms, international remittance, healthcare services, microfinance, and more. These programs promote a better livelihood and advancement for those displaced. Unsurprisingly, many of them are being spearheaded by emerging technologies, including blockchain.

IrisGuard, a Jordan-based company that provides IT banking, humanitarian relief, and biometric camera systems, has been driving innovation with a new payment system that utilizes a private Ethereum blockchain to enable streamlined payment services. As per IrisGuard:

“The UNHCR has achieved financial inclusion for unbanked refugees and enabled them to efficiently receive international donor cash assistance directly on unattended bank ATM’s and food at checkout counters in supermarkets and nonfood items in camps; all while refugees are either unable or not allowed to open a bank account by law.”

More at: UN Integrates IrisGuard’s Ethereum Payment Platform for Refugees – ETHNews.com

Australian blockchain firm Living Room of Satoshi processes over $5M of real world bills in bitcoin – EconoTimes

Brisbane-based blockchain firm Living Room of Satoshi that created a service for Australian citizens to pay their household bills with bitcoin, reported that Australians have paid over $5 million of everyday household bills with the digital currency since its launch in 2014.

The announcement marks as a milestone for the online service Living Room of Satoshi that enables payment of any Australian bill using bitcoin; including phone bills, electricity bills, school fees, credit card and tax payments.

More at: Australian blockchain firm Living Room of Satoshi processes over $5M of real world bills in bitcoin – EconoTimes

Overseas Remittance is a $400 Billion Market, Can Bitcoin Dominate? – CryptoCoinsNews

FastCompany’s report revealed that overseas remittance totaled $429 billion in 2016. Some of the largest Remittance markets include China and the Philippines. Already, bitcoin startups have begun to dominate the remittance markets in the two countries, with the Philippines leading bitcoin remittance innovation.

Both domestic and international remittance is a massive market within the Philippines. Companies such as Lhuillier and Palawan operate thousands of branches throughout the country, with deeper market penetration in comparison to international remittance companies such as Western Union.

Since early 2016, bitcoin startups led by Coins.ph, a remittance and bitcoin payment service provider founded by CEO Ron Hose, began to threaten local remittance companies such as Lhuiller that have been dominant for decades. An appealing business model of Coins.ph was to enable a wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods suited for the needs of local recipients.

More at: Overseas Remittance is a $400 Billion Market, Can Bitcoin Dominate? – CryptoCoinsNews

The United Nations Just Launched Its First Large-Scale Ethereum Test – CoinDesk

Starting today, the United Nations (UN) will begin distributing funds to thousands of people in Jordan as part of a trial using the ethereum blockchain.

For the next month, cryptographically unique coupons representing an undisclosed number of Jordanian dinars will be sent to dozens of shops in five refugee camps across the nation. Then, instead of using a smartphone or a paper wallet to access the funds, recipients will rely on yet another emerging technology.

Eye-scanning hardware made by London-based IrisGuard, already in place to verify the identity of some of the 500,000 recipients currently receiving traditional aid, is being repurposed to grant access to coupons.

More at: The United Nations Just Launched Its First Large-Scale Ethereum Test – CoinDesk

Bitcoin Price at $500,000 by 2030: African Projection – The cointelegraph

Though not a new thesis that Bitcoin price could rise drastically – up to $500,000 in the next 13 years according to the first investor in Snapchat – based on what comes out of developing countries, an analysis of some figures and trends as they relate to Africa comes to mind.

Jeremy Liew and Blockchain Co-Founder Peter Smith hinged their outlook for an increased interest in Bitcoin on remittance, uncertainty and mobile penetration. These factors, especially remittance, have much to do with Africa, whose composition of developing countries have what will strengthen the rise and use of Bitcoin for several financial purposes in the coming years.

$4 bln a year
Remittance is gradually becoming a major boost for Bitcoin use in Africa – as well as in parts of Asia and Latin America. The advent of new services that use the digital currency for the purpose of sending money from one point to another has started eating into the roughly $4 bln per year cost that banks and other institutions make from international transfers to Africa.

As earlier reported, many countries in this region – and in Asia – have the most expensive transfer rates in the world as well as bureaucratic processes that make sending and receiving money to and from loved ones a little difficult. This is a major reason why the promotion of the ease of use that Bitcoin brings is essential.

Source: Bitcoin Price at $500,000 by 2030: African Projection – The cointelegraph