Creation of an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) gateway to allow the unbanked to access the Stellar Network.
These are ongoing, will check off as accomplished. We are relatively new to the Stellar community and per Zac’s post, I’d like to get this up ASAP to get feedback from the community. In the meantime, we’re working on the more technical details of the implementation and demonstrations to make the proposal more clear.
- [x] Mock ups of UI (1 week)
- [ ] Design of API, reach out to: (2 weeks)
- [ ] Feedback from community (ongoing)
- [ ] Completion of local partnership (4 weeks)
- [ ] MVP build (6-8 weeks)
- [ ] Pilot for remittances (12 weeks from start)
We have 5 years of experience in the development space and noticed a gap in the Stellar ecosystem. USSD allows normal “feature phone” users (think Nokia) to access complex services through a menu option. This is how the majority of mobile banking is done in Africa. In order for Stellar to achieve its goals of financial inclusion and banking the unbanked, we need to create access through mobile networks, rather than via internet access.
We have had preliminary discussions with government officials at national and regional levels. Per our correspondence with the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the issuers of CFA Franc currency:
- There is a problem generated by the lack of physical coins and small denomination notes during transactions, be it in towns or villages – villagers in Africa conduct microtransactions in their daily life, not in a hypothetical streaming service environment
- Access to the internet is limited for the majority of the population (20.0% for Cameroon). Therefore existing solutions, such as iOS / Android apps and APIs, do not and will not work for the foreseeable future Africa!
- The majority of the population has a normal mobile phone (call and SMS reception/emission only), but smartphone penetration is not yet widespread (69.09% of Cameroonians have a mobile phone subscription). This is typical of Africa.
- Many mobile phone clients don’t have a bank account (the rate of person having a bank account is about 20% of the population in the Central African States.)
Based on this information, it is clear that in order to bank the unbanked we need to create an access point to the Stellar network for feature phones. The way this is done in Africa is through a USSD gateway!
We are proposing creation and registration of this gateway.