Blockchain for other people

Blockchain isn’t just a technology for the rich, spoiled day traders of Bitcoin (see what I think of Bitcoin as an investment vessel here).

FastCompany published their list of 17 ideas that they believe will change the world. Among a strong field, one service stood out to me: Banqu. An American based company that seeks to use Blockchain to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people: the displaced, and the impoverished.

In developing nations, one thing that can keep people in poverty artificially (here understood as beyond the point where these people have some kind of resources that could improve their situation) is banking. In our privileged part of the world, banking is considered a commodity, like water, electricity, or transport. You need a bank account, you get one. Sure, you can fret over your credit score, and rage at your bank’s fees, but most citizens can get a bank account, and with that, have a place where a pay check can be deposited.

If you belong to one of the populations mentioned above, that may not be the case. Because proving that you are who you say you are, and that you are someone, shall we say “bankable”, can be next to impossible in countries where either records are spotty at best, or destroyed altogether by armed conflict. But through Banqu, these people would be able to build a digital, economic identity that is verified and incorruptible, stored in a dispersed Blockchain ledger.

And before you point out the flaw that the displaced and poor do not have digital media, we need to remember that even among least privileged nations in the world, digital tools such as rudimentary smartphones are becoming more and more the norm.

I can’t tell you that Banqu will succeed in their mission (though I am rooting for them!), but even if they don’t, they’ve achieved something very important in showing the world that Blockchain can do more than line the pockets of crypto-investors and consultants.

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