Today’s market structure has locked many people from investment opportunities and access to financial services. As it stands, most people in developing economies are still unbanked, with the latest Findex data showing that close to 80% of people in sub-Saharan Africa are not exposed to formal or semi-formal banking services.
Thanks to the rise of brokers such as Robinhood that favour the “little guy”, the trend is now changing. However, it may take a while before the ripple effect is felt in developing economies. Robinhood has been scaling heights in recent years, with the company’s zero-commission approach gaining popularity amongst millennial and Gen Z investors in the U.S.
Besides zero commission incentives, cryptocurrencies have also become a significant game-changer in the path towards financial inclusion. hi, a not-for-profit community-powered financial services platform is one of the crypto-focused projects changing the landscape of financial inclusion.
The Robinhood of Crypto
Like Robinhood, hi takes the “little guy” approach, enabling anyone across the globe access to its services. The project features a cross-platform chat based solution that allows users to integrate social platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp to send funds (crypto & fiat) in minutes, bridging the gap in traditional payment ecosystems.
Notably, this chat-bot powered platform does not charge a commission fee to transfer funds within its ecosystem. hi uses a similar model to Robinhood, which means that users can forget about the exorbitant commission fees charged by traditional brokers or banks.
The project’s founders believe that this approach is more effective in enhancing financial inclusion,
“global, open, instant, and low/no-cost movement of money will create immense economic opportunity. That everyone has a right to access financial services and to control their money.”
With over three billion people having access to smartphones, hi creates an opportunity to bank close to half of the world’s population. hi’s value proposition in both developed and developing economies is quite significant. Similar to how Robinhood changed the scene for young investors, hi will ease access to financial services for the little guy.
A Growing Community
Founded in January 2021, hi’s community has been growing fast, with the project recently announcing that it hit 1 million users within its first 100 days of launching a private beta. hi’s native token hi dollar (HI), designed to incentivize community participation went live on August 1 and is now available on the Uniswap DEX.
Following this success, hi’s team is optimistic about building a larger community across the globe.
The firm’s co-founder, Sean Rach, noted that they are blown by the 1 million user milestone, adding:
“We are now one of the fastest-growing blockchain communities in the world – and this is just the beginning. We are building out an ecosystem of banking and internet services to benefit our members and look forward to welcoming tens of millions of new members in the coming months.”
Financial inclusion is one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals enablers, featuring at the centre of eight of the seventeen SDGs. This means that stakeholders have to bootstrap to make more people financially included by 2030.
Luckily, the debut of commission-friendly brokers and crypto innovations seem to be in tune with financial inclusion goals. Going by the trends, we will likely see an increase in financial inclusion through crypto-focused innovations. This will be a big plus to developing economies.