The Values of Celo

Will Le
Will Le
Jul 8, 2019 · 3 min read

Money lacks values. Moral principles that we treasure, like equity or inclusion, are missing from our modern monetary systems. Unlike the people who use it every day, money is as cold and hard as the metal coins that have been used as currency for millennia. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

For the past year we’ve been working with communities around the world in order to understand how Celo could improve the lives of the underbanked. The team has met with hundreds of people — refugees in Tanzania, economic migrants in Colombia, industry experts in the Philippines, and more. From all of these conversations a clear common theme emerged: the current system leaves too many people behind.

Vanessa & I interviewing a mobile money agent in Kenya
Marek and Brynly speaking with a Venezuelan migrant living in Colombia
the Applications team doing product testing in Argentina
Asa & I conducting research in Tanzania

I’ve seen what happens when people don’t have access to a fair and open financial system. Prior to working on Celo, I worked in Kenya with low-income communities. Despite their best efforts, many of the families I got to know were trapped in a cycle of poverty because they did not have access to tools that we take for granted. High transaction costs meant that big portions of small incomes were lost to fees. An inability to save money securely made it difficult for people to invest in their futures. And a lack of access to capital prevented many would-be entrepreneurs from lifting their families out of poverty.

But I’ve also seen how financial access can create pathways to opportunity. My parents were both Vietnam war refugees who came to America and started over with very little. They worked hard and took out loans which allowed them to pay for school, buy a home, start a business, and create a prosperous life from which my sister and I have benefitted. My life is a testament to how important access to the right financial tools can be. That’s why I am proud to be part of the team of people dedicated to creating a more equitable financial system.

What is beautiful money?

It is borderless so that an overseas worker can instantly send money to her family in the Philippines without worrying about high fees. It is stable so that a teacher in Argentina can save for her future. It is simple so that anyone in the world, regardless of education, income, or understanding of blockchain can use it. Beautiful money is money that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

The team building Celo works every day to create money with values. It is our mission to build a new monetary system that creates conditions of prosperity for all. If money were beautiful, we believe the world would be more beautiful too.

Stay tuned for a special announcement on July 17. In Part II of this post we will share with you the steps we are taking to hold ourselves accountable to this mission.


The Celo Blog

Celo is an open platform that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. Visit celo.org for info on the community, contributors, and technology.

Will Le

Written by

Will Le

The Celo Blog

Celo is an open platform that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. Visit celo.org for info on the community, contributors, and technology.

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