Leaf offers integrated financial services to refugees and internally displaced persons, using blockchain to create a safe and secure system for individuals to store assets, receive payments, and make cross-border transfers. This suite of products works on any mobile phone (no smartphone required), providing easier access to particularly vulnerable populations. By using blockchain to facilitate digital payments, customers avoid unnecessarily high transaction costs charged by traditional money transfer companies. They can access Leaf’s digital wallet wherever they go and receive deposits from friends and family abroad straight to their mobile device. Refugees and other displaced persons are often at risk of criminal activity as a result of carrying cash, and physical currency is especially difficult to safely store and transport across borders. Leaf provides individuals with an opportunity to create a secure economic identity while also lowering the barrier to accessing key financial services.
Leaf Global Fintech uses blockchain technology and a low-tech front end to create a suite a mobile financial services for refugees and internally displaced persons. Value is not stored in cryptocurrency, protecting against volatility. Instead, Leaf uses that stored value to make secure investments that generate income for the company. It can also profit from small transaction fees and a positive foreign exchange spread. Rather than charging excessive fees to their users or exposing them to risk, Leaf is able to safely and securely make income from value stored on the platform.
Potential refugee impact
Traditional banking institutions have been unable or unwilling to provide services to refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, thus providing an opening for companies like Leaf to improve the financial livelihoods of these communities. Creating platforms to efficiently receive transfers, store their savings, and make payments all help increase refugees’ access to funds and decrease their dependence on host countries and foreign aid. Limited technology and physical infrastructure during transit and in refugee camps necessitate innovative solutions to ensure that refugees and internally displaced persons can participate in the formal economy. Leaf Global Fintech has designed a suite of mobile products backed by blockchain to ensure that such populations can access these essential financial services.
Leaf Global Fintech is a social enterprise based in the United States with companies in Rwanda and DR Congo. Led by a team with extensive experience in microfinance, blockchain, refugees, and mobile technology, they are well poised to deliver a product to improve the financial security of refugees.