Understanding the context:
In Cameroon, as in many other African countries, most merchants (especially those selling in open markets) do not like to deal with official banks. This has lead to the creation of informal community banking to create alternative systems to address things such as savings accounts and insurance. Collectors play a key role in this whole system. Collectors act as middle men between local merchants and banks (usually microfinance institutions). Their main job is to collect some amount of daily funds from local merchants (who are looking for assistance putting aside some savings). On both sides, they usually record this collection history on paper based registries. The merchants give away their money which is then funneled into a microfinance institution aggregated into one account exclusively owned by the collector (who has full control on all of this). After a certain period of time often around to 1-3 months, the merchants can start to withdraw some of their savings. At the point that merchants start withdrawing, the collector retains a certain percentage for him or herself based on their initial contract. This brings about several obvious problems but let's be specific:
- The whole system is based on trust in the collector. Unfortunately, it is common for these collectors to disappear after collecting significant amounts of money from local merchants.
- Timely withdrawals are virtually impossible. (if you would like to request a withdrawal you need to coordinate with a real person who will need to schedule time around
- Micro-financial Institutions themselves are very unstable often closing unexpectedly due to bankruptcy or even burglary
- The collector is the only person to benefit from any appreciation of value due to the investment mechanism he or she is using. (essentially exploiting the people who are willing to give their money away)
- The money being saved is essentially locked away and true owners cannot use their own savings as collateral
Create a decentralized platform (dApp) to oversee this activity and protect merchants as well as facilitate the digitizing of collection activities for the collectors. We will be working in partnership with banking establishments to initially create a digital currency pegged to the Franc CFA (XAF) and then develop mechanisms for exchanging digital currency with physical currency. Each collection operation will correspond to a conversion of physical currency (from the merchant) to digital currency (of the collector).
Example: The collector will go to the bank purchase digital XAF, he will then go through the market collecting funds from merchants (as physical cash) for whom he has already helped create accounts in the system. He will then credit the merchant's account with whatever value of physical currency collected, factoring in a small commission for himself. This money will then sit in a digital wallet and each merchant will have full control and visibility. The merchant will have several option to recover physical XAF when needed: Microfinance institution and street call box agents (that are already doing this exact service for mobile operators such as MTN with Mobile Money and Orange with Orange Money). We will then in the subsequent phases leverage the digital wallet to allow peer to peer transactions and also implement a borrowing and lending platform once we have a good user base and a considerable liquidity in the system.
The last extension will include what's called in the local context Tontine or Djangui. A group of people in the community with some common interest (employees at same company, merchants selling common goods …etc) get together and decide a certain amount to contribute individually to a pool. A winner is either picked randomly or selected based on a need and then can collect all the funds that were pooled. This process repeats every month (or at whatever frequency is agreed upon) such that all participant have their turn.
- Create a native token pegged to local currency (inspired by Djed stable coin model on Cardano)
- Leverage Atala Prism DID Platform to implement a DID solution for the users, hence allowing peer to peer transactions in future iterations of our solution
- Build partnership with microfinance businesses in order to secure an exchange mechanism from physical currency to digital assets
- Build mobile and web app that integrate a wallet interface and a module to aggregate savings
- Next Phase -> Leverage all these saving to create a lending and borrowing DeFi system made for the African context of insurance (Tontine/Djangui).
Core Team & Roles:
Wada Cameroon Hub
- Manfo: Cameroon Team Co-Lead, Senior software architect & developer, 12+ year of experience programming, 3+ years in functional programming paradigm (F#, Haskell, Elm), Multilingual (French, English, Italian, Ngiembo)
- Nkalla: Senior software architect & developer, 12+ year of experience programming, 3+ years in functional programming paradigm (Haskell), Mathematics teacher (Education Systems Engineering), Multilingual (French, Italian, English, Mbo)
- Arcel: Senior Software developer in Closure 7 + years experience, Project manager, Multilingual (French, English)
- Megan: Cameroon Team Co-Lead, Central Africa Coordination Lead, Wada core team member (Education and Event Lead), Math & Physics teacher, bilingual (French & English)
- Wada Devs: this will be one of the projects which will be lead through the Cameroon Hub but will also leverage our network of Wada Devs that we will be training in Plutus and Haskell to support the development of our dApp. Also we will be creating a solution together with many inputs from the different Wada hubs making a pathway for this dApp to be implemented in other countries within our network as well.
- Wada Marketing Team
Reference (Past Successes):
Wada has already established active hubs in: Ivory Coast (French), Ghana (English), Nigeria (English), Cameroon (French & English) and Democratic Republic of Congo (French). Through our Cameroon hub we are launching a Haskell and Plutus training initiative that will be leading project based learning throughout our hubs. This project is an example of one of the projects we wish to work through as a learning journey for our aspiring devs.
See related proposal for Scale-UP Cardano Community Hubs: Spread Plutus through Africa https://cardano.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Spread-Plutus-through-Africa/381332-48088
- Partnerships: $2000
- Developer team motivation: (3 devs * 500 * 12) : $18000
- Marketing & Advertisement: $3000
- Logistics(Dev enviroment, hosting, Certificates…etc): $1000
What success looks like:
- Launch of MVP Dapp with 6 months post funding
- Dapp fully designed, implemented and deployed and being used by hundred of users within 12 months
- An increasing number of collector agent singing up
- An increasing number of merchant signing up
3 partnered micro finance institutions
500 accounts created within first 12 month after launch
10000 (merchant-collector) transaction within 12 months
The main risks we foresee are: The local context not accepting and therefore not adopting the digital stable coin model. We plan to mitigate this risk by running intensive marketing awareness and education campaigns that focus on showing the multidimensional benefits (from ownership to availability) of digital stable coins to merchant. This is linked to our wider Wada initiatives to spread understanding and adoption of blockchain technology throughout Africa.