#2 Meet our Team — Human-Centric Design

impactMarket
impactMarket
Published in
8 min readSep 16, 2021

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Prosperity for All starts with DESIGN for All

Human-Centric Design to drive an accessible DeFi adoption for those who need it the most.

This is the second post from a series of blog posts here on Medium, Meet our Team, where you will get to know the people who are building impactMarket. Did you miss the first one, “People First”? Read now to get to know the main figures about our team and read the inspiring interview with our HR Manager Mariana Vilaça.

Today we will also focus on people but from a design perspective. We are talking about designing a decentralized protocol based on blockchain technology that is accessible to people with low or no literacy in digital tools and finance. A solution that works even in low-end devices and with poor internet connection. For users with a wide age range from 18 to 80 years old. People from all over the world.

An accessible design starts by putting people in the center, understanding their needs and desires plus all the conditions involved when interacting with each functionality. If impactMarket stands out by its capability to drive massive DeFi adoption, especially for those who need it the most, it starts with a human-centric approach, from the planning and design to the development and implementation.

When comes to design, the creative mind behind it is our tech-savvy Co-Founder and Product Designer Afonso Barbosa. In this edition of “Meet our Team”, read Afonso’s interview and understand why design is not only at the core of our strategy but also is one of impactMarket’s strengths.

On the Spotlight: Afonso Barbosa

Afonso Barbosa studied Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, and Art and Design at the Montserrat School of Arts in Viana do Castelo, Portugal.

He has more than 20 years of experience in Product Design, Visual, and UX / UI. His passion for technology led him to co-create Edigma where Afonso performed the functions of CTO and CDO, having contributed to the growth of Edigma, which won 11 international awards and grew by more than 70 employees, developing interactive technological experiences for customers like Microsoft, Bosch, Ikea, Mercedes, and NASA.

He moved to Silicon Valley, specifically in Santa Clara, Califórnia In 2015, and worked for Facebook, now META, as a Senior Product Designer.

In this blog post, we ask Afonso a few questions on his path toward social impact.

Tell us about your journey through some of the most known companies you had as clients, like Microsoft to NASA, and how you created Edigma, a company designing interacting experiences that won 11 awards in the process.

AB: Technology is surely one of the things I like the most, along with Design and Music, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to combine these passions since I started my career.

In reality, my journey started when I was 13 years old as a self-taught piano player in multiple bands. After studying Arts & Design and Maths & Computer Sciences, it evolved to design/technology when I co-founded Edigma/Displax back in 2000, now the world’s ultra-large multi-touch-first capacitive manufacturer. As CTO and Chief Design Officer, we nurtured a culture of innovation by creating a special unit for research, the Dreamteam, responsible for all special projects.

With clients all over the world, including Microsoft and NASA, we integrated our multitouch technology, both hardware, and software, in all kinds of innovative and unique projects, like the world’s first curved capacity multitouch device.

Before Edigma/Displax I also helped to create one of the most known, and in my opinion the best music festival in Portugal, Festival Paredes de Coura (a music festival reference in Europe). So, I have always managed to work with both of my passions as you can see.

In 2015 I moved to the heart of Silicon Valley, and I have lived here ever since, together with my wife and my little “Fofi” (Yorkshire Terrier) in Santa Clara, California. Before joining impactMarket, I worked for FACEBOOK, now META, as a Senior Product Designer.

Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose a “social entrepreneur” career path/or ended up realizing that an impactful career was a better way for you?

AB: I think the ‘aha moment’ happened when, together with some friends, we created the Paredes de Coura Music Festival. Paredes de Coura is a very beautiful, small, and calm village, but we noticed that most businesses were struggling, only surviving because of the money spent by emigrants that visited during Summer. We wanted to help the community, so we came up with the idea of creating a music festival to bring more visitors, and it has been a success ever since. I felt that all dreams can be accomplished and that everyone can have a positive impact on society or the world because of this experience.

Ever since I am looking to create social value in my day-to-day life and work.

In 2020 you were invited to co-create impactMarket, a platform that aims to end extreme poverty based on Blockchain. What does this mean to you and why did you accept this challenge?

AB: I was working for Facebook as a Product Designer, just before the pandemic hit when Marco Barbosa called me to talk about his vision on how to end extreme poverty by combining UBI with Blockchain. He then invited me to participate in a Blockchain hackathon in San Francisco to design the first impactMarket prototype. Knowing Marco for almost 10 years and having worked with him at eSolidar (another social impact startup co-created by Marco), plus combining the exposure to the crypto/blockchain world since 2017, I quickly accepted his proposal.

Marco (CEO), Bernardo (the third co-founder and CTO), the rest of the team, and I have been building impactMarket since that day. We are already one of the biggest crypto UBI systems in the world, operating in 34 countries and helping almost 45k beneficiaries from 249 communities.

Waking up every day knowing that a product I am building is directly helping thousands and indirectly helping their families and communities makes me want to continue to work towards our vision of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Tell us something we don’t immediately know about impactMarket as a product on a first approach.

AB: We have 80y old ladies using ImpactMarket every single day. Yes, 80y old ladies are using blockchain every single day. Let that sink in… it is just incredible!

What is the differentiating element in the product/service impactMarket provided?

AB: We are currently the most efficient Blockchain system to alleviate extreme poverty in the world! Transparent, open, free, borderless, and censorship-resistant. It is a protocol that is built on top of an existing blockchain, Celo, a mobile-first blockchain that makes financial dApps and crypto payments accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.

What is so special about Cryptocurrency, on which you are an enthusiast, and why bring this concept along with Blockchain to impactMarket?

AB: Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that is changing the world as it can get rid of all the inefficiencies of centralized systems. It solves most of the problems we face today regarding fund distribution as it is censorship-resistant, has a decentralized structure, improved security, and privacy, and reduces costs, speed, visibility, traceability, and immutability.

Charitable giving in the United States reached a record $471 billion in 2020, yet, 30% of aid is lost to corruption. Can you imagine that? That’s almost 141 Billion dollars that simply does not go to the end beneficiary. Even Unicef, which has received the highest ratings for accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, has an expense ratio of 88.4%, (for every dollar spent, 88 cents goes directly towards helping children; spending about 8 cents on fundraising costs and over 3 cents on administration).

We are already changing this with full transparency and maximum efficiency. With our protocol, for every dollar donated, beneficiaries will get exactly one dollar, and donors in exchange will get our governance token $PACT through a process we call impact Farming. How does it work? Well, it’s a simple conceptEvery day, new $PACT governance tokens become available to be claimed by contributors, based on how much $cUSD each has donated in the last 30 epochs/days. If you donate.. you get $PACT tokens. Simple. Of course, you can also buy $PACT tokens, for example on ubeswap, and still participate in governing the protocol.

What advice would you give to anyone out there trying to design a social impact product?

AB: We should always keep in mind that design has to be helpful to people with diverse abilities and backgrounds, besides just being usable, enjoyable, and useful. Focusing on having a deep understanding of the end-user and in which conditions they will use the product is key to developing an inclusive product. As an example, we have communities that struggle with internet connectivity, small data plans, outdated devices, and small screens and sometimes they don’t even have electricity to charge their devices. The design needs to account for all these additional constraints by using smaller images, bigger fonts, multiple languages, adaptive UI, small app size, and keeping the product as simple as possible without compromising security, speed, and trust.

In the next edition, you will get to know more about our CEO and Co-founder Marco Barbosa. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions, you can reach out to us at impactmarket.com, docs.impactmarket.com, or directly by emailing us at hello@impactmarket.com.

You can also find us on Medium, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, Youtube, Telegram, and Discord.

Dare to dream with us!

You can be part of the change and empower people all around the world. Your contribution goes to the UBI communities, and when donating cUSD to a specific community or through the impact Farming page or to a specific community, you get $PACT tokens as a reward for the impact you´ll have made. You can also stake your $PACT to get even more rewards.

impactMarket (The Human Empowerment Protocol)

impactMarket provides accessible financial solutions to empower underprivileged people all over the world, unlocking opportunities and human potential. Our inclusive protocol is transparent, reliable, and borderless. It operates as a DAO on top of the Celo network, using $PACT as its governance token while running autonomously through smart contracts.

impactLabs (the company)

impactLabs Lda, based in Portugal, was founded in Nov 2020 by Marco Barbosa, Bernardo Vieira, Afonso Barbosa, and eSolidar. The company is focused on building accessible decentralized systems to unleash human potential and disrupt access to finance while driving DeFi adoption.

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impactMarket
impactMarket

impactMarket provides accessible financial solutions and knowledge for underprivileged people, unlocking opportunities and human potential.