A financial inclusion app is to be launched in Ghana in coordination with the international organisations with the aim of giving young slum-dwellers a tool to improve their lives.
The Humaniq App, which comes out on Android on the 31st July and is targeted at people in low-income, suburban areas of the capital, Accra, with the aim of giving them a way to receive, borrow, sell and earn and improve their lives. The application has four main sections: bio-identification; a contacts and referral system; a wallet system; and a data-light chat system, all liberating for people without access to banking, and having to live day-to-day.
Bio-identification gives the undocumented an identity necessary to access financial services, an identity that one billion people in the world lack. It involves taking two photographs of a user that must match and, in order to eliminate fraud, the second requiring the user to show a particular emotion. This is in order to prevent anybody using two matching photographs that are not of themselves. In addition, a further security measure is the validation of the user’s phone number with an SMS.
The referral system, meanwhile, allows those downloading the Humaniq App to immediately start ‘earning’ HMQ coin cryptocurrency, and will underpin the growth of the app. The app displays what contacts from the contact book are already using the app, and for those that are not, there is an option to invite them.
Invitations generate SMS texts with unique referral links. The app tracks the status of invited users, and as soon as they join the Humaniq community, their status will be updated and both users will receive a HMQ bonus. For those contacts of users that already belong to the Humaniq community, users will be able to initiate transactions, send messages or start a voice call.
In addition, every user has a personal web page, stored in the format hmq.im/username, which can be shared with other users in order to get bonuses as another way of building a stronger community where users have a growing number of connections. In order to get invited and to get a bonus, users can leave their phone number on the personal page.
The Humaniq App chat system, meanwhile, has the unique selling point of providing encrypted conversations guaranteeing privacy that are also light on data consumption. This is a crucial feature in emerging countries where smartphone data is expensive compared to average incomes.
The chat system also provides cloud synchronisation, so all chats are synchronized if you log in from another device; group chats; voice calls; audio memos; and image and video sharing. In addition, chat users can request funds from each other, and see transactions coming in, and going out. This is the first step towards building a more collaborative, peer-to-peer economy in regions where people are currently shut out of the 21st Century, digital economy.
The wallet system is the part of the app that makes it possible to send and receive cryptocurrency. A user can review their balance in HMQ and the comparable amount in local currency, determined by their geo-location.The app shows a user’s entire transaction history with extensive details: the status of the transaction, the amount and the local currency equivalent.
An app allows users to send and request funds either by selecting users from the contact book, scanning a QR code, or even by entering a phone number for users not already using Humaniq, who will receive an SMS with a weblink where they can collect their payment.
The functions available at the time of the app’s launch next week are just the start. The Humaniq App provides an open source full-stack and API that will be available for startups and other services to build services on top of the core Humaniq technology. This makes it easy for Fintech partners to plug into the Humaniq network to reach a huge market that is not served at present.
In the pipeline for later this year and 2018 are additional tabs allowing users to earn, borrow and access an online marketplace and further financial services, such as insurance and medical services.
Lee Baker is a storyteller and community organiser who inspires and prepares people for leadership. He trained as a journalist after writing his first article at the age of 13 and gained a Masters in Modern and Contemporary Literature. His journalism is designed to help influence better policy-making and he works with change-makers to tell their stories to communicate how others might follow. He is a south Londoner who has supported people to confront those in power in Brixton and win changes. He set up his own social enterprise driven by the belief that everybody can demonstrate leadership. He has designed and delivered training courses to help unleash this potential.