Category Archives: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Gates Foundation Promotes Financial Inclusion With New Ripple Partnership

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a partnership with Ripple and Coil in an attempt to further financial inclusion amongst societies’ “poorest”

The Foundation’s partnership will help to further develop Mojaloop, an open source network for creating payment platforms, previously released a year ago in October 2017. The Gates Foundation’s “Financial Services for the Poor” programme prioritizes “aims to expand the availability of affordable and reliable financial services that serve the needs of all, including the poorest.” A foundation statement clarifies its aims as:

“…helping to drive the development of digital payment systems that can help spread use of digital financial services quickly, advancing gender equality to ensure women share in the benefits of financial inclusion and supporting the development of national and regional strategies that accelerate progress for the poor and provide exemplary models.”

We are partnering w/ @ripple and @coil to implement the #Interledger Protocol & explore ways #Mojaloop can support pro-poor payment systems. #githubuniverse

— Miller Abel (@MillerAbel_) October 17, 2018

Mojaloop was built in collaboration with Ripple and four other FinTech partners, Dwolla, Software Group, ModusBox, and Crosslake Technologies, and is designed to support different kinds of providers to link up their services and offer low-cost financial services in new markets.

Coil came on board very quickly giving their support to the foundation’s latest project.

Proud to confirm that we are working on https://t.co/tbV0COdx3T with the @gatesfoundation – Technologies like @Interledger and #micropayments aren’t just for media. They also increase #financialaccess and we want to do our part. https://t.co/LUjJo57OgY

— Coil (@Coil) October 18, 2018

According to the foundation, such “pro-poor payment systems” need clear attributes as they need to be able to reach the poorest neighbourhoods and be easily understood. Also, users’ money needs to be safe from cybercrime and readily available. Another important factor is that delivery needs to be free and there must be evident advantages over using cash. Mojaloops documentation regarding the Ripple invented Interledger Protocol (ILP) states that it is:

“…a suite of protocol definitions and reference implementations that define a standard way to connect any number of disparate payment systems together into one interconnected network”

In simple terms, such a system can lower costs of financial services and open up payment infrastructures to companies outside of traditional banking, hence advancing the inclusion of those who are on the fringes of banking due to financial insecurity.

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The United Nations’ Secretary-General Has Blockchain Firmly on the Agenda

The United Nations has put together a panel of 20 experts in order to investigate how blockchain can impact global economics.

The panel was initiated by The United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres. The group which comprises of 20 figures from major sectors including industry and academia will examine digital technologies in general with a particular focus on blockchain technology.

Executive Director and co-chair of the UN secretariat Ambassador Amandeep Gill, commented the new body, called the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation:

“You cannot look at ‘web 3.0’ without looking at blockchain or without looking at AI (Artificial Intelligence) […] our hope is that through discussion of these various digital domains […] in terms of human rights, in terms of privacy, in terms of subversion of democracy, we are able to come out with some common principles…of strengthening cooperation across borders.”

It was also revealed that Melinda Gates, founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma were invited to co-chair the new panel. It is thought that Ma was selected due to his work with blockchain, including his raising of $14 billion for development projects.

Secretary Guterres has said that digital technologies are affecting society at an “unprecedented scale” with Ma conceding that “that the impact of blockchain on the future of humans may be far beyond our imagination.”

The UN itself has been implementing humanitarian programs using blockchain for a number of years but admits it can do far more. There are currently 25.4 million refugees in the world and some 3.1 million asylum seekers around the world, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Blockchain solutions are in place in many poorer countries working to improve the lives of individuals at community and national levels, but it is noticeable that the worldwide refugee crisis hasn’t as yet been significantly impacted by new technology.

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