How do crypto payments drive financial inclusion in Nigeria and Iran today?
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
The rise of the internet made the world feel like a smaller place. Economic globalization allows companies to source talent in all parts of the world, giving billions of people the opportunity to participate in a connected economy for the first time. Unfortunately, the transfer of money between different jurisdictions often poses a challenge to individuals and companies alike. Blockchain technology solves this problem by providing a global network for cheap and fast transfer of digital assets. In this article, I will give a real-world example of how this new technology is providing financial inclusion in emerging countries today.
Author: Oliver Schantin
The traditional banking system is lagging behind
When I started hiring talents from emerging countries, I learned, that paying these employees comes with some drawbacks. Sending money outside the Euro area, where my company is located, is connected to transfer fees of 20 USD and more, even when using third party payment provider apps. The money is then often withheld from the recipient for several days and surveys need to be filled out. When the payment finally arrives in the bank account of the individual, it is exposed to double-digit inflation rates, which are commonly seen in many developing countries. This is hindering the economic growth of these countries and is a pain for all people reliant on remittance payments.
In these developing countries, almost everyone has access to a smartphone, but few people have access to a bank account. So why don't we use the blockchain technology to solve this problem?
“Within 10 minutes, I get the funds in my local account”
My company basenode.io has two employees, that receive their salary in USD Tether - the most commonly used US-Dollar stablecoin - directly to their wallet on their phone. One of them is Joel Oshiegbu from Nigeria: “I usually choose USDT because it's the most popular stable coin, easier to get a buyer and less susceptible to a bank run.”, he explains. After receiving the USDT on the Ethereum network, he usually converts it into his local currency: “I simply send the funds to an exchange like Binance and sell within 10 minutes maximum I get the funds in my local account.” When asked whether he can recommend this method of getting his salary, he replied: “Using other methods to receive funds I lose 2 - 5 % of funds received, the conversion rate is determined by the platform and is usually less than the current market rate also the conversion to local will cost some additional funds. With crypto, it's almost zero cost, I get the full value, and it's faster.”
Suddenly, everyone can hold digital dollars on their phone
Using blockchain networks to transfer digital dollar tokens plays an important role in broadening the talent pool that employers can access. In addition, it gives talents in developing nations the opportunity to hold the strongest and most competitive fiat currency in the world - the US-Dollar. This means that they are able to escape the high inflation in their local currency. Another freelancer from Iran, who wants to remain anonymous, explains why he prefers to get paid in crypto: “Due to inflation and my local currency's volatility, I usually prefer to keep my payments as stablecoins in my KuCoin account, but if needed, I will use another wallet address, created on a local crypto exchange, this way I convert the received funds to my local currency instantly and deposit them into my bank account in less than 2 minutes.”
Does this mean, that individuals will be dependent on crypto exchanges instead of banks to trade the coins for their local currency? This is not the case, because to receive and hold dollar stable coins, no exchange account is needed and an increasing number of goods and services can be purchased using cryptocurrency directly: “I have purchased Amazon gift cards, books, and also paid rent in crypto.”, the Iranian talent explains.
At basenode.io, our mission is to eliminate the gap between traditional accounting and blockchain-based accounting. Basenode.io is the first token-based accounting solution that offers seamless fiat-to-crypto invoicing. We provide a self-explanatory user interface with a clean and modern look, that naturally supports your workflow. Furthermore, we will integrate support for the most popular networks like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Lightning, Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, and more.
Oliver Schantin has been deeply involved in the blockchain and entrepreneurial space for several years. He founded his first blockchain startup in 2019 and is a frequent speaker and guest in various crypto-related podcasts, conferences, and summits. You can contact him via LinkedIn or Email.