CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, has released a report this month that lays out its six principles for closing the “last mile” in the delivery of formal financial services to less urban communities throughout the less-developed world.
Agent Networks at the Last Mile
Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy…
“Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency…global evidence shows that emerging agent network business models are improving agent viability in remote areas home to many of the world’s poor, financially excluded populations,” writes Emilio Hernandez in his introduction to the report.
This is exactly where BitMinutes aims to add value, with its Trusted Agent Network (TAN Network.) This network is built on blockchain tokenization and the power of the cloud to deliver all digital financial services via smart phone. No fancy bricks-and-mortar financial establishments, the traditional Last Mile for delivering financial services, can make a go of it in less populated areas. The “bricks-and-mortar” in the TAN Network are the local merchants who already have a strong presence (and a high level of trust) in remote communities.
The CGAP report called these agents “CICO Agents” for “cash in, cash out.” This captures the exact need: How do locals trade globally in tokens, yet cash out locally to trade in fiat currency?
The report goes on to boil the Last Mile solution to six core principles:
6 Principles for Inclusive Agent Networks
Most digital financial services users require agents to help them switch between worlds of cash and digital currency…
- Enable rural CICO agents to generate more revenue streams.
- Make CICO agents more accessible to rural customers, as defined by the local context.
- Expand the range of people that can serve as CICO agents.
- Identify and manage consumer protection and other risks posed by rural agents without stopping innovation.
- Develop a data-driven strategy to close the gender gap in CICO access and use.
- Expand public and private partnerships that share CICO agent networks.
All of these, with the possible exception of point six (for now), are found as core principles of the TAN Agent program powered by BitMinutes as their medium of exchange. Money transfers, savings programs, micro-loans all feature in the growing portfolio of services offered by our “corner banker” TAN Agents.
The link to the full report is here:
The summarizing infographic is here.