Stellar is participating in Financial Inclusion Week, an event sponsored by the Center For Financial Inclusion at Accion. As part of this event, Stellar has published a blog post detailing its efforts to satisfy a diverse array of financial needs across the globe.
Financial inclusion involves providing people with access to financial tools and services. In a broad sense, this has always been a goal of cryptocurrency and the blockchain: Bitcoin is a currency that is available to anyone and can be used freely without censorship or permissions. Most competing cryptocurrencies adhere to these principles as well.
But that is just one way of defining financial inclusion. Lisa Nestor, Stellar’s Director of Partnerships, describes the idea as “equal access, not just to products, but to the global marketplace” and “greater economic participation.”
Financial inclusion also involves accommodating cultural and local needs. Nestor notes that she has “had first hand exposure to the importance of meeting local needs,” and shares two stories detailing her experiences.
In the first story, she describes a “culturally misaligned” loan process in which men were sent to collect money from groups of women in conservative Muslim villages. In the second, she describes building a village bank that relied on nothing but paper-and-pencil records and three keyholders.
These stories illustrate the importance of providing services that meet different needs, something that Stellar is aspiring to do.
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How Stellar Can Help
Stellar is intended for use in financial enterprises and payment networks. The platform facilitates the transfer of money in a manner similar to Ripple. However, Stellar is much more accessible to small projects: it offers a ready-made backend, virtually no account or transaction fees, and compatibility with traditional financial systems.
Stellar’s blog post publicizes three projects that are making use of these features in order to bring financial solutions to those who need them. The first project, Seamless, provides a payment network based on Stellar in the Carribean. Meanwhile, Finclusive Capital offers web and mobile access to services from community banks in the USA. Finally, Wala provides various banking features in Southern Africa.
All of these projects take steps to make their services available to those that would otherwise not have access to those and other banking services. Stellar’s close integration with fiat currency and traditional payments makes it a platform that is well suited to this goal.
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