Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 6 seconds
In this episode of ICO or NO Jeremy dives into the Wala project. Wala is looking to incorporate the under-served financial population into the global economy by offering complete financial services to markets that have not previously had this access. Wala offers individuals in these under-served countries to have access that could greatly speed up their economic development.
Jeremy dives into what the project hopes to achieve, the market conditions surrounding the project, the team, and the details of the token sale. Be sure to check back for more great ICO analysis.
What is Wala & what problem do they hope to solve?
According to Wala, globally, over 3.5 billion people are not adequately served by current financial solutions. That’s just under half of the world’s population. Over 2 billion people do not have bank accounts, and another 1.5 billion only have basic savings accounts, which really don’t do much more than act as a place to store your money. They aren’t connected with the global financial market, and they aren’t offered the basic banking services that most of us are used to.
These under-served consumers are primarily located in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. Across these emerging markets, there are two main barriers to these economies to catch up.
The first is ACCESS: Many consumers operate outside of the formal financial system due to the lack of financial infrastructure, required documentation, credit history, financial literacy, or intimidation of the banking system. This is a hugely important point to make. There are some people in countries like the United States that do have developed banking systems and could go an open up a bank account, but the whole process of getting documents to prove your identity and actually going to open a bank account…Well lets just say the process is needlessly complex. But with emerging blockchain solutions, like Wala, that may be soon to change.
Secondly, COST: Simply, it costs a lot to participate in the global financial market. High fees are the top reason why consumers avoid the system entirely. If you use Bank of America, well you already know what I’m talking about. These institutions have taken every opportunity to nickle and dime their customers. I’ve heard countless examples of people over-drafting their accounts by a dollar or two, and are hit with thirty dollar charges until they realize the mistake. The existing solutions – such as banks serving emerging markets have proven not to truly understand the unique needs of the unbanked consumer.
In emerging markets, banks face a fundamental problem. They “have developed staggeringly complex and costly business and operating models” resulting in a fee and rate dominated banking experience for consumers. Fee-based banking results in proportionally high costs for low income consumers. Simply put, the existing model is not sustainable for the developing economies.
The Wala Financial Platform is built using the Raiden Network on the Ethereum blockchain. It connects it’s partners, who are specialist financial providers such as banks, with the 3.5 billion unbanked and under-served consumers. On the platform, these users have access to fee-less financial services (transactional banking, remittances, loans, and insurance) for the first time and Wala’s partners can now serve these previously uneconomical customers.
What are the market conditions facing the project?
There are a few apps trying to do the same thing as Wala, such as Cashaa, which are specifically focusing on banking the under-served. And this is a very important thing to note. These apps aren’t trying to compete against the existing banking structure. They are trying to fill a void left by these large banks. And with the failure of big banks to sufficiently address this need, well, there’s a market open that Wala can target.
And don’t believe everything you hear about big banks. Take Jamie Dimon and his apparent hate for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Jamie Dimon profits off of a system dominated by fiat, he makes his money off of the use of the USD. So of course he’s going to publicly trash bitcoin. The part I find the funniest though is that JP Morgan turned around and bought bitcoin at a discount — right after his comments. No matter what the big banks say, they are exploring blockchain technology.
If you look at the members of EEA, including JP Morgan Chase, several are banks. The big banks will use blockchain technology, making it very hard for any of the smaller projects to compete in the same space. Which is why I really like the position Wala is going for in the market. Target the people that aren’t within the current system, that are not working with banks. That’s your market.
Who is behind the Wala project?
Wala began with Founder and CEO Tricia Martinez’s work directing unconditional cash transfers to subsistence farmers in Uganda. It was at this point that Tricia saw that even though some mobile money technology is being incorporated, people weren’t securely storing their money.
To better understand the banking and financial service issues plaguing consumers, Tricia began interviewing consumers in Uganda and created a digital community in response to the growing interest from consumers seeking financial guidance. In the first month, the community organically grew to 100,000 consumers, mainly in Kampala, Uganda’s burgeoning capital with over 1.5 million residents.
What are the details of the Wala ICO?
1,000,000,000 Dala (DALA) ERC-20 tokens will be created. The smart contract that executes the token creation is being audited, and is open source and available on Github. As described below, only a portion of the Dala token supply will be immediately available, with a large portion of the Dala supply reserved for the Dala Corporation to incentivise the ecosystem in the future. 1M tokens issued at 30M dollar goal.
- 30% for token sale
- 30% for Wala
- 40% present ecosystem
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*Patent Maybe Pending