Documenting Blockchain for the SDGs 2/3
Designing a remittance solution for Serbian diaspora
Our investigation into the potential of blockchain technology for global remittance alongside UNDP Serbia culminated in overwhelming confidence for a transparent and traceable solution, one that can transform the remittance landscape by disrupting the fee structure.
We began to design the potential solution. By April 2017, AID:Tech has entered a Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP Serbia and began to design and to develop a product development framework. As part of this process, AID:Tech conducted several field visits. After one visit in particular, where we gather information such as data, expert opinions and for relationship building, the partnership received a letter of support from the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić — expressing her interest and support of a solution that has the potential to offer multifaceted benefits, for users, for organisations and for the public sector.
Together and throughout the first two quarters of 2017, AID:Tech and UNDP Serbia worked closely with various actors, who are integral to the current remittance process. We interviewed the Serbian diaspora, we met with the National Bank of Serbia, government authorities and universities to incorporate the needs and requirements specific to the Serbian context. We also met with service providers to gain a better understanding of how a blockchain solution could be of relevance.
These analytical exercises to understand needs were made in conjunction with the drive to obtain funding for the development of the solution, which began in the third quarter of 2017.
The move from concept to realisation began with the implementation of software architecture, led by AID:Tech’s CTO and Chief Data Scientist, Alejandro (Sasha) Vicente Grabovetsky and Lead Engineer, Flavien Charlon. They put in place a product framework based on needs and specification analysis created during previous visits. The development followed the Agile methodology, where AID:Tech and UNDP Serbia worked closely alongside blockchain specialists, full stack developers and designers. The methodology, incorporating regular (daily and weekly) updates allowed development to maintain flexibility; to evolve with changing requirements and constraints throughout the process.
As with any innovative technology, the development process saw iterations of the solution from 2017 to 2018. The solution became mobile optimised, it integrated with Stripe, an international payment processor, and incorporated a feature where remittance sender can direct payments to utility companies on behalf of the recipient. The project began in 2016, amidst growing competition in the international remittance space, the ability for senders to direct fund use has set AID:Tech’s platform aside; enabling end-to-end transparency unavailable to any users or service providers in the past.
This entry is a series of blog posts documenting AID:Tech’s journey in developing a remittance solution using blockchain technology with UNDP Serbia and other partners. Follow us on Medium to get the most up to date story.