Stellar Kicks Off Global Effort in Nigeria

canstockphoto3696305Stellar, a non-profit organization dedicated to building financial products for underserved customers across the globe, is focusing its efforts in 2016 on Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

The Nigeria project is essentially Stellar’s first on-the-ground initiative. Presumably, more such initiatives will follow.

Stellar characterizes the venture as “sustaining anchor partnerships” in Nigeria and giving away lumens — the currency on Stellar’s network. Stellar is most geared toward providing the code for the exchange of money. 

The company released a three-phase gameplan on Monday, aiming to tackle the issue of financial inclusion of 2 billion underbanked or unbanked people worldwide, Stellar’s co-founder Jed McCaleb said in a blogpost. Nigeria was chosen for its vibrant and expanding fintech scene.

After spending nearly a month in Lagos earlier this year, our team will dedicate the balance of 2016 to anchor partnerships in Nigeria, a country that has the potential to move fintech history forward. New and innovative uses for mobile money, solar credits, health savings accounts, remittance products—these are all services we expect to see blossom in this phase. In addition to indirectly serving end users through products built with Stellar, our efforts will turn to reaching end beneficiaries through technical education, financial literacy, and NGO partnerships and programming.

The company now focuses its efforts on leveraging the Stellar network to cut costs of services such as remittances and micropayments, McCaleb writes. Additionally, the company will continue giving away 95% of the 100 billion lumens available on the Stellar network. “With more people holding lumens and transacting on the network, the network itself will become far more useful to those who build low-cost services on it,” he said.

Earlier in May, Stellar partnered with Deloitte to develop a mobile app to facilitate seamless cross-border payments. The solution reduces the cost of transfers by up to 40%, and completes the transaction in about five seconds, McCaleb told Bank Innovation back then.

A big part of the cross border stuff is that there is a lot of friction between parties. But there shouldn’t be. Just like you are able to send an email from a Google domain to a Yahoo domain, we are aiming to do the same with payments. There’s a lot of stuff today out there utilizing this technology [blockchain] at various degrees of solidness. Some of it doesn’t work, some of it is solid. With this partnership, you can start using Stellar tomorrow.

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