Kotani Pay, a Kenya-based provider of digital currencies for on- and off-ramp services, has signed an agreement that enables the remittance of Universal Basic Income (UBI) payments to African refugees. Working with the Refugee Integration Organization (RIO) and Impact Market, the fintech startup using the Celo blockchain will use its platform to ensure payments reach the intended beneficiaries.
Using the blockchain without the internet
According to Kotani Pay’s latest contribution to Medium, non-smartphone owners will also benefit from the startup’s partnership with RIO and Impact Market. Commenting on this unique feature, Kotani Pay said:
(The partnership) achieves a never-before-seen implementation of UBI through a stable coin available to non-smartphone users. This is a pioneering achievement in the world of UBI, digital currencies and refugee inclusivity.
The fintech start-up adds that it offers a familiar interface that works on feature phones. This interface “eliminates the need for an internet connection when interacting with blockchain protocols, which are primarily designed for smartphone users.”
According to RIO, using the Celo blockchain “will certainly help keep fraud and corruption out of this program and ensure that, exceptionally, every dollar goes to the people for whom it is intended.”
UBI does not encourage addiction
In the meantime, Brian Kimotho, Marketing Director at Kotani Pay, announced some details about the funds to be distributed and the number of refugees involved. Kimotho said:
The program will support 5,000 refugees. The refugees can claim the equivalent of 1 US dollar (100 shillings) in cello dollars (cUSD) up to a maximum of 400 US dollars (40,000 shillings) per month. We are currently running a pilot project with 1,000 refugees to bring the remaining 4,000 on board over the next few months.
Meanwhile, RIO on Medium Post denies claims that this UBI program is likely to cultivate addiction syndrome among refugees. The NGO believes that the UBI “should not be implemented as the only means of economic development”. Instead, payments should be combined “with business training, entrepreneurship awareness and other financial inclusion services such as microcredit”.
Do you think the blockchain offers a better way to send payments to refugees? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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