San Francisco-based non-profit Kiva, a company that crowdfunds loans for financial inclusion, has launched a blockchain platform for credit history with the government of Sierra Leone.
According to a Reuters report on Aug. 21, Kiva and President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio jointly launched the blockchain initiative in the country’s capital.
The platform will use biometric data collected by the government, such as fingerprints, in order to access the credit history of citizens in the country. This will purportedly give a way for lenders to obtain citizens’ credit history.
Individuals looking to borrow money would have a digital wallet for loans and their transactions would be recorded on a blockchain. The digital wallet will be provided through an app and its partners will purportedly provide mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to ensure that users have access to the internet.
According to the Information Ministry in Sierra Leone, over 85% of the country’s population lacks internet access. Moreover, the country’s central bank states that over 75% of the population is unbanked. Locals instead rely on informal institutions such as community banks, but these organizations either will not share credit information or will do so only for very high fees.
President Bio stated that the government is aiming to have all banks and microfinance institutions in the country set up with the blockchain system by the year’s end.