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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Gołębiewska

2 bln. people are unbanked and you are telling me to add beauty filters to FR payments? Really?

What people want is to use contactless payments instead of typing the PIN. What people want is to use Facial Recognition (FR) instead of swiping their card. What people need is to have a beauty filter while paying using FR. What people need is to have an awesome .gif available, while sending money (using their newest iPhone) to charity organisation, only to be able to share it on social media and get hundreds of likes. Because likes are the key - right?

Yes, of course - most important is to save 2 seconds, not to bring 2 000 000 000 (TWO BILLION) unbanked people to the financial system. We don't have to worry that vast majority have no access to financial system, we have to worry how we look while making payments. #FirstWorldProblems

Ok, ok - I am harsh (please forgive me, I am Polish and we are much too straightforward compare to Western Europeans :)) You can call me hypocrite now, since I work in FinTech, I am the person who pushes for those 2 seconds, who tries to design completely flawless payment flows and who tries to build advanced mobile payment solutions. Yes - I am doing that, and I love it. But I am aware, that we have to do more, and that we have to focus on undeveloped countries, bring those people to our financial system, or rather - build a new financial system which will include them since existing system is failing. And I am trying to do that, one small step at the time, step by step till we will get there. Everyone deserves equal access! We are all one, we are all equal, we have obligation, as a humanity, to scale everything what we have.

Why so many people are still unbanked?

Financial inclusion is considered a key factor to poverty reduction. It refers to the access of people to a formal financial system. Unfortunately, over 2 billion adults remain unbanked. In many of developing regions, mobile money has taken the place of most financial services. And answering the question - why over 2 bln. still can't access financial solutions even though they have mobile phones? Well, ask banks and regulators why do they require so many information to make a transaction. We are building totalitarian surveillance system, where banks are gathering everything about us. Where do we leave, how much do we earn, what do we do, from where do we have a money, on what do we want to spend it, who is our mother, father, spouse......

Oh my God - just reminded myself some of Black Mirror episodes and flinched.

We monitor every transaction on every place on the planet. We are watching everyone who is buying a burger to make sure that he is not laundering the money. That system removes freedom to deliver profits. That system is broken, inefficient and not scalable.

And blockchain.. well... blockchain is everything what financial system isn't.

Is secure, is transparent, gives freedom, gives unbanked people financial tools which they need. Whereas Western Union, TransferWise, international bank transfers or any international PSPs (Payment Service Providers) are expensive, have delays from one to several business days to send, require accounts, blockchain payments are done within minutes (milliseconds with lightening-network), have minimal transaction fees, and don’t need bank accounts. You just need a smartphone with access to internet. Not mention the control, where blockchain to some extend is self-regulated and almost impossible to hack. If we will add full transparency on top of it - we have a solution for corruption and tool which gives people freedom.

More and more companies experiment with distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies, including Libra - consortium with Facebook who leads the peloton.

Also, the increasing amount of blockchain projects by governments is definitely a positive sign on the way to transform grandiose ideas into reality.

I truly hope that we are on the beginning of the road to change that awful status quo which was build by banks for their profit only, with no consideration of regular people, and no consideration of helping undeveloped nations. Just please - let's not loose the focus and think about bigger picture than 2 seconds quicker transaction for 1% of globe population :). Thank you!

Sources as links within the article and here.

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