How the “unbanked” can finally get a financial start through blockchain technology
Q: Anton, your company, MicroMoney, is promising loans for people who have no bank accounts or credit history. What is it about?
A: When two years ago I learned that 2 billion people in the world have no access to banking or basic financial services, I was shocked. They are not included into the global economy; they are deprived of some basic human right. Moreover, this system exists throughout the world and it is very difficult to change anything. It is a catch-22 situation – when a person needs to have a bank account in order to obtain a loan but financial institutions refuse to deal with unbanked people because they consider them too risky. Most unbanked people do not have credit histories and this is the main problem for them to become bank customers. Therefore, my company is here to change that. We provide an alternative solution for people to start building their credit and get loans, based on new technologies.
Q: And how is your company going to achieve this goal?
A: MicroMoney is a global digital credit bureau based on the blockchain technology. The company gives an opportunity for unbanked people to start from a blank slate meaning their empty credit histories. It also creates the way for banks, retail, and insurance companies to reduce financial risks when they work with this untapped audience.
Q: In what way?
A: We have developed a mobile scoring system for fast assessment of a client’s creditworthiness. The system utilizes Big Data, neural networks, and machine learning to help approve social loans for unbanked people. The algorithm helps to create credit histories from scratch and this system is hundred times cheaper than those used by traditional banks. Everything is done via a mobile app on the consumer end – no need for lengthy paper trail – and a million signatures. The MicroMoney mobile app installed on a person’s smartphone is all they need to apply for their first loan. After the application is submitted, a scoring system analyzes data from the applicant’s smartphone and identifies potential credit risks with an accuracy of more than 95%. In a few minutes, the program makes a decision on whether the loan should be approved or not. When approved, the customer gets money through an e-wallet.
Q: Can you tell more about this scoring system, how does it work
A: MicroMoney’s scoring system analyzes thousands of different parameters with the help of self-learning algorithms that can predict the result quite accurately. When a borrower allows access to the smartphone’s personal data, he or she does not just show us the information such as phone contacts or text messages from banks. The system runs every piece of information through the neural networks: contacts, geolocation, favorite websites and searches, favorite music and all social accounts — more than 10,000 different parameters in total. Each parameter has its decreasing or increasing value for the final result. For example, a LinkedIn profile could reduce risk factors by 30% while some music preferences, on the contrary, could aggravate the score. The longer a person fills out a loan application, the less chance there is that he or she will pay it back. And so on. After a loan is approved, a customer receives money in just several minutes. In countries like Myanmar and Cambodia, electronic wallet (e-wallet) is a very popular thing, where the account number is the same as the phone number, so the approved loan could be sent directly and immediately. That is one more reason why our social lending services are valued so high in the Southeast Asia.
Q: Can you mention any specific numbers, how successful is your service so far?
A: MicroMoney has processed more than 95,000 unique customers already, got more than 500,000 likes on Facebook during the first two years of work. Nine out of ten customers took the first loan in their lives and 73% of these people came back for a new loan. We now operate in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, and Myanmar. We also have ambitious plans to enter 5 more emerging markets in the nearest future, including Nigeria and the Philippines. Now the company is going to run a token distribution campaign on October 18th to support these business plans and to attract new sources of revenue from these untapped resources into the global economy.