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Cover image for Introducing the 2024 Digital Money Blog Series!

Introducing the 2024 Digital Money Blog Series!

I’m super excited to share with you that I’ll be doing a blog series! YAY! I recently completed the Certificate in Digital Money course and woah, I learned so much from interacting with participants from all over the world. I am so delighted to share what I learned with you all, here.

In this bi-monthly Digital Money Blog Series, the hope is to spark conversations and welcome commentary from members within the Interledger Foundation ecosystem on themes, including but not limited to, digital money, financial inclusion, instant payment systems, and topical matters relating to digital financial services. I’m sure some of these topics are of interest to you.

You can follow the ILF Community Space to engage with this and future blog posts. You can also follow my page to be notified whenever a new blog is posted. So, take this as your formal invitation to follow along, every other Tuesday, as we take a look into Digital Money Being a Driver of Financial Inclusion.

Before I get into it, I’d like to share with you this article by Xen Baynham-Herd titled, “How the film ‘The Beach’ explains the power of Digital Money”. Let’s look beyond Leonardo DiCaprio’s stunning performance (if you've watched the movie) and contextualize how the analogy explains the evolution of a monetary system and how digital money is valuable, bringing access to people irrespective of where they are.

While many people think and can agree that digital money has emerged as a powerful enabler in reaching the previously excluded, underrepresented, and underserved communities; some may even say Digital Money is Better. A stance that can be argued along the lines of convenience, traceability, privacy, and accessibility.

Which is Better?

At our Grantee Workshop (held at the ILP Summit 2023), ILF’s Chief Program Officer @chrislarry did a Human Spectrogram exercise where he asked the participants their stance on the imminence of a cashless society and whether or not we should embrace it. Whilst for the most part, the majority agreed that a cashless society is imminent; some persons had reservations about its acceptance citing infrastructural readiness in some locales, knowledge of how to use the available digital solutions, and cultural preferences, just to name a few, as some of the challenges that can inhibit its wide acceptance.

With the advent of technology and its integration with finance, there has been an even greater push to leverage emerging technologies to innovate the financial ecosystem to be able to access and reach new locales. Across the globe, we’ve seen innovative growth in the Fintech space. Governments are revamping and prioritizing regulations that will enable digital financial services, and trailblazers and forward thinkers are innovating robust mobile solutions that have seen significant adoption and inclusivity. Our very own Interledger Foundation is driving equity and inclusion within a global interoperable payments network aiming to increase access to digital financial services for the 1.4 billion people currently excluded.

In this series, we will explore insights into what countries are doing and take a look at some of the fastest-growing markets for financial inclusion like India. We'll also explore the adoption of mobile banking in countries like Kenya and of course, liberal regulations enabling instant payment systems in countries like Brazil. Our blogs wouldn’t be complete without highlighting the great work of our grantees across the globe who are enabling access and bringing solutions to a wider audience previously excluded from such. So stay tuned, who knows, your project/initiative might just be the highlight in the discourse.

A lecturer once asked me “Who’s your champion that’s driving financial inclusion in your country? Despite the question being very specific, I had to use the opportunity to highlight the Interledger Foundation and the work we are doing to influence social change globally by enabling web-based payment infrastructures that will allow greater global financial inclusion through our technology and grant funding.

So, today’s question to you is, Who’s your champion driving financial inclusion in your country?

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to reading about who’s your champion, and starting an ongoing dialogue via these blogs.

Top comments (8)

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ferdeline profile image
Ayden Férdeline

I don't live in Sweden, but I find the model behind the Swedish lender TRINE to be very interesting. They gather investors, mainly in the global north, to invest in solar energy in low and middle income countries. They tend to invest in very small farms and agricultural sites, training them in how to install affordable and stable solar electricity sources, and their loans are only repayable once the operation has been profitable for a sustained period of time. Interest is capped at around 7 percent, which is reasonable given many loans end up being forgiven. Their loans are also partially backed by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, so if the borrower is unable to repay their loan, the investor is guaranteed to get 50% of their losses of principal reimbursed by DFC. I think ILP could be an interesting addition to their stack, particularly for investors, as it provides an immutable record of transactions: loans, revenue, repayments made and due, and so forth.

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julaireh profile image
Julaire Hall

Thanks for bringing this to the fore @ferdeline. This is a great model and certainly something worth considering as we explore ways in which ILP can enable inclusion.

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ayeshaware profile image
Ayesha Ware

In New York City, Inclusiv.org has been working to close the gaps and removing barriers to financial opportunities for people living in distressed and underserved communities. Inclusiv is a certified CDFI intermediary that transforms local progress into lasting national change. Inclusiv.org provides capital, makes connections, builds capacity, develops innovative products and services, and advocates for our member community development credit unions (CDCUs). To learn more about this organzation visit Inclusiv.org.

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chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

In the US, I want to highlight the organization RIP Medical Debt. They raise funds and then negotiate to pay people's medical debt by buying it in bulk at reduced costs. This frees people from one of the biggest drivers of financial exclusion in this country: getting sick. They smartly negotiated with insurance companies who see this as getting "at least something" rather than just sitting on bills that would go unpaid past the interests. I could see ILP as a payment distribution tool within these scaled mutual aid/benefit programs. Read more about them here.

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julaireh profile image
Julaire Hall

This is an interesting and unique case @chrislarry.