Crypto Embraces Emerging Markets: We're Not a Bank, We're Your Financial Friend - Ep.9

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Manage episode 212281561 series 2292019
By Blockchain Bridge LLC, Ben Arnon, and Jay Kolbe. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Tricia Martinez, Founder and CEO of Wala and the Director of the Dala Foundation, joins Ben and Jay from Cape Town, South Africa to talk about why she's building a mobile crypto financial services platform for emerging markets.

Tricia talks about her work in Africa to reduce banking fees and to increase financial services participation using Wala and the Dala token. She talks about the current state of banking in Africa, which is slow-moving and burdened with fees that have only served to foster mistrust with consumers.

Tricia believes banks want to partner with crypto and blockchain companies in Africa. However it's difficult for them to work inside-out to fight bureaucracy and actually drive innovation and solutions. Currently, consumers in Africa are working outside of the banking system because of the fees (94% of transactions on the continent are in cash).

Tricia discusses how Wala enables consumers to use their Dala cryptocurrency wallet to access a marketplace to purchase data, mobile airtime and electricity; pay their TV bills and school fees; make cross-border payments with no fees and much more. She talks about how Africans are using Wala and Dala to create unique business models including "microjobs" services, where people who are often unbanked can access quick tasks and easily get paid, and local utilities business platforms where agents use Wala to sell airtime and electricity. Wala is building out more than 100,000 merchant locations around Africa where consumers can use their mobile phone and a QR code to transact with Dala.

Tricia reminds us of the importance of actually being on the ground in Africa to create change, and shares personal stories about disrupting financial services for people who would rather store their money in a lockbox than a bank -- due to fees. Whether its her local Uber driver in South Africa who wants to avoid the punitive fees of a Western Union (which can charge upwards of 10%-20% just to move money across borders), or Africans taking massive risks by giving bags of money to bus drivers to save an additional 3% when moving money across borders, it's clear that Tricia's personal connection with Africa is a driver for her work in the country.

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