IBM announced today that their Kenyan research lab is prepared to roll out a new blockchain-based microlending solution, prepared in partnership with Twiga Foods.   Twiga Foods is a Nairobi-based business-to-business coordination platform for kiosks and food stalls in Africa that had previously expressed interest in extending financial service offerings to its customers.

While Twiga Foods was interested in ways that they could offer access to working capital to their customers, many of the businesses did not have credit scores or another existing way to assess their creditworthiness.  Fortunately, IBM researchers had a solution and proposed using both machine learning applied to mobile phone data, including purchase and repayment patterns, in order to build a picture of a business’s financial health.    In the past, IBM has successfully used similar data in partnerships with an African bank and with a mobile service provider.  In those projects, over $3 million in loans were processed.

Grant Brooke, co-founder of Twiga Foods said, “Previously, we were focused on helping farmers distribute bananas, tomatoes, onions and potatoes to 2,600 kiosks across Kenya, but we soon realized that we could help them sell even more produce with access to working capital. It’s simple, if the food vendors can sell more, we can distribute more, growing both of our businesses.”Late last year, Twiga Foods and IBM tested the viability of their concept by running a pilot project with 220 Kenyan small food kiosks, referred to locally as “mom mbogas” in Swahili.  The eight-week pilot involved over 220 loans issued to participants, with the average loan amount around $30 USD (3,020 KES).   During the pilot project, participating retailers saw an increase in profits of approximately 6%, and orders increased by approximately 30%.   The microloans were issued as 6 to 8 day advances, and participants were charged between 1% and 2% interest.

 

Using blockchain allows a level of transparency within the lending process for all parties, including the lender, the borrower, and their banks.  Since no one party can unilaterally alter or add to the blockchain, it can be an effective way to reduce fraud and misrepresentation.  Blockchain technology can also be a very efficient way of processing financial transactions, as it can execute a series of “smart contracts” simultaneously.

“We analyzed purchase records from a mobile device and then apply machine learning algorithms to predict creditworthiness, in turn giving lenders the confidence they need to provide microloans to small businesses. Once the credit score is determined, we used a blockchain, based on the Hyperledger Fabric, to manage the entire lending process from application to receiving offers to accepting the terms to repayment,” said Isaac Markus, a researcher on the inclusive financial services group at IBM Research in Kenya.

 

IBM and Twiga Foods hope to expand the project to include other vendors and suppliers, both within Kenya and in other countries, by the end of 2018.

Dubai is a land of booming opportunities for blockchain technology. Freedium, an organization building its presence at the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), declared the launch of the first commodities backed digital stable currency, following the U.S. Dollar. In view of the blockchain technology, the organization has plans to be operational by the last quarter of 2018.

As per Freedium, the organization picked Dubai as an operational base because of its robust administration and administrative systems. The organization’s founder Keba Keinde clarifies that numerous countries experience the ill effects of constrained access to banking services, foreign trade shortage, and unpredictable monetary forms and that the new stable resource is intended to give them access to legitimate financing systems. Given the significance of commodities for rising and developing countries, Freedium upheld its digital currency, the Freedium coin, with commodities.

“Emerging and developing countries have a population of 6 billion people, represent 60% of global GDP and generated 80% of global GDP growth since 2008. Mobile and smartphones have allowed these countries to get connected with the rest of the world and access the global information superhighway. Now, the blockchain technology can enable emerging and developing countries to efficiently transact with other nations and access global financial markets, therefore, we set out to create a financially inclusive ecosystem that would enable people from emerging and developing countries to access financing and banking services to send, receive and store money in a stable and fully backed digital currency and trade in a seamless and efficient way using smart, KYC/AML compliant contracts” said Keba Keinde, Founder and Chairman of Freedium.

Freedium picked Dubai as an operational base since it is the main center point for rising and developing economies. Notwithstanding its robust administration, lawful and administrative system, Dubai furnishes a chance to cooperate with a portion of the world’s driving organizations supporting worldwide exchange, for example, DMCC, Dubai Port, JAFZA and Emirates. Dubai is likewise at the front line of innovation and a solid promoter of the blockchain technology.

About Freedium

Freedium was established by Keba Keinde, Chairman and CEO of Millennium Finance Corporation (MFC) and Aqil Ahmed, Partner and Board Member at MFC. Headquartered in Switzerland with an operational base in Dubai, UAE, Freedium is committed to cultivating money related incorporation and releasing the capability of rising and developing economies beginning with the dispatch of the principal commodities supported, stable computerized cash utilizing blockchain technology.

Popular Crypto Wallet, Blockchain.com has hired ex Goldman Sachs executive Breanne Madigan as the head of institutional sales and strategy in a bid to boost its presence with institutional clients, according to a new report published by CNBC.

According to Peter Smith, the CEO of Blockchain.com in a statement released to the press, “Breanne has a proven track record of adding value to her teams.” He continued “as Blockchain continues to grow, I can think of no one better to help scale our business.”.

Madigan, who until recently was the head of institutional wealth services at Goldman Sachs, a division whose total assets rose under her management to a record $1.4 trillion in 2017.

Madigan leaves a 13-year career with the investment giant Goldman Sachs for a cryptocurrency startup. During her time at Goldman, she worked in different roles including chief operating officer for the famed G10 foreign exchange business.

Hiring Breane Madigan shows Blockchain’s intent to boost the presence of institutional clients in the market. So far, institutional clients have not taken the leap that many people predicted after the launch of the futures last year.

For a lot of institutional investors, cryptocurrencies remain a volatile asset given the massive fluctuations the prices have recorded over the years. Bitcoin, for example, has seen a fall from grace to grass, as it hit an all-time of $19,000 in December before taking a hit, weeks after, which now sees it hover around $8,000.

Blockchain.com has 24 million wallets opened on its platform, and it recently launched a service for customers in the U.S to buy and sell digital currencies in a bid to compete with the likes of Coinbase.

earn.com

Coinbase is quickly ramping up its merger and acquisition operations, as the cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant announced on Monday that it has completed its second acquisitions in as many weeks: bitcoin startup Earn.com.

The paid messaging platform — which was originally incarnated as a bitcoin mining startup called 21.co — rewards users with cryptocurrency for answering emails, filling out surveys, and completing other micro-tasks.

Terms of the deal were not made public, but Earn.com CEO Balaji S. Srinivasan wrote in a blog post that “the total value of cash, cryptocurrency, and equity returned to our shareholders is now in excess of the capital invested in the company.”

The company had raised approximately $116 million over multiple funding rounds and at one point was the industry’s best-funded startup. Sources close to the discussions had previously said that the deal would likely exceed that figure, and this comment suggests that it was at least in the same ballpark.

Srinivasan will join Coinbase as a senior executive, becoming the company’s first chief technology officer, while the rest of the Earn.com team will also join the firm and work to integrate the company’s paid messaging platform into Coinbase’s infrastructure.

“If we’re successful in our long-term goals, we will be able to turn the billions of smartphones worldwide into a new source of work. Open the Earn.com app in any country — and receive a personalized, targeted list of paid microtasks and emails just for you,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Thanks to the blockchain, anywhere there’s a phone, there’s a job.”

The acquisition was the second announced by Coinbase in April alone.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase announced last week that it had acquired Cipher Browser, a one-man startup that had built a mobile ethereum wallet and decentralized application (DApp) browser. Cipher’s developer, Peter Kim, joined the company as the engineering team lead for Toshi, Coinbase’s ethereum wallet and DApp browser.

Featured Image from Earn.com/Twitter

Randi Zuckerberg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Future Tech Expo Announces Latest Headline Speaker:
Randi Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Zuckerberg Media

DALLAS, TX – Randi Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO of Zuckerberg Media and New York Times Best-selling author, has just been announced as the latest headline speaker to talk at the Future Tech Expo. She will join more than 100 other respected players in the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and other future tech industries – to give attendees the inside scoop on where the Fourth Industrial Revolution is headed and reveal how “smart money” is getting behind emerging technology.

“Randi Zuckerberg is influential in the tech space and is passionate about helping young women and kids use and get involved with future tech, such as virtual reality, blockchain, and more”, said Mr. Jacobs, who is the Future Tech Expo’s organizer and host. “But what most people don’t realize is that Randi is much more than a media tech mogul, she is an entrepreneur, a New York Times best-selling author, hosts her own show on Sirius XM and is an Executive Producer of the Jim Henson series, Dot. based on her own children’s book. .”

“She’s EXTREMELY well connected – and knows things about the tech revolution. Just one or two insights from Randi could give us a huge edge over other investors. I, for one, will be taking very careful note of what she reveals to us.”

The Future Tech Expo 2018 takes place on September 14-16, in Dallas, TX.

It’s bringing together more than 100 developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and other respected industry players – from the fields of blockchain, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, virtual and augmented reality, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies – so they can give you the inside scoop on how “smart money” is getting behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The first 200 attendees who register before midnight on April 5th will receive a complimentary Crypto Easter bonus box, which contains an assortment of cryptocurrency and future tech-related gifts, including a bag of chocolate Bitcoin for the Easter season.

Inside the Crypto Easter bonus box is also a sealed envelope that contains the first clue for a virtual cryptocurrency Easter egg hunt, which is taking place on Easter Sunday. (Prizes include an Amazon Echo Dot, a Nano S hard wallet, a VIP upgrade to the conference, and $500 of cryptocurrency.)

Ready to purchase a ticket and secure a Crypto Easter bonus box? Tickets are available here.

Want to find out more about this conference? Join the free notification list.

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Press contact:

Richard Jacobs
[email protected]
(888) 448-4590

About the Future Tech Expo:

The “blockchain revolution” is no longer just about blockchain anymore. In 2018-19 and beyond, blockchain tech is converging with quantum computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies – and driving what economists call the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The Future Tech Expo is the only conference that gives attendees the full picture on how “smart money” is betting on the fourth industrial revolution. That’s because it is bringing together more than 100 of the most respected developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and “smart money” investors from all the most important emerging technology fields – not just blockchain tech.

This three-day conference will be held at the Dallas Convention Center, close to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, in September. We are expecting more than 2,000 attendees, 100 headline speakers, and 100 exhibitors – with talks from founders, developers, and early-stage investors in blockchain, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies that are set to disrupt almost every sector of the global economy.

More information is available at: https://www.thefuturetechexpo.com/register/