A new and highly efficient mobile phone blockchain network is under development and is set to acquire large-scale consumer adoption in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2021.
DéMars (DMC), a mobile money platform and new blockchain protocol for the young emerging market, is lite, fast, scalable, private, secure and virtually free. It’s also the first of its kind developed in Africa.
The Founder of DMC, a South African banker now residing in Mauritius named Shaun Burrow, states: “I started researching the entry-level market and I was simply blown away to learn that 1.7 billion adults don’t have access to basic financial services and to learn that in the remittance space, families are paying about 45 billion US dollars a year in fees on the funds they are sending home. This is money being diverted from the poorest of the poor. The cost of payments to Sub-Saharan Africa and within Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, they range from 10 – 20% of the money being sent home. It’s simply an unjust tax on ordinary, hardworking people.”
Until now, various technological issues have held back large-scale consumer adoption of blockchain technology. Many early adopters have abandoned Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum due to poor user experience.DéMars provides a new infrastructure, the beta version of which will be revealed by the end of Q2 2019.
The new technology aims to deliver financial services for the 1.7 billion primarily young, unbanked adults in developing markets like Sub-Saharan Africa, of whom two thirds own a mobile phone. The Banking as a Service Platform will reduce the high cost of remittances to and within developing markets and enable access to simple lending, insurance and savings products. This is made possible via a smart contract escrow feature, where you can place a classified advert on the network and trade goods, services and cash with others.
The solution responds to the resultant demand after global products failed to provide any real utility for the African consumer since they aren’t designed for a data-constrained environment. In addition, global products don’t support micro transactions and rely on credit card payments.
A mobile first for Africa
With the growth in technology, mobile phones and mobile accounts have dramatically increased over the last few years. For instance, Sub-Saharan Africa registered $19.9 billion in mobile money transactions, which was 63 % of the global figure. Sub-Saharan Africa was recognised as the leading market in the global mobile money industry in 2017. This industry processed transactions worth $1 billion a day with direct revenue of over $2.4 billion. The growth in this number is mainly attributed to the convenience and the simplicity of the user experience of these types of accounts.
Additionally, the reduction in price of mobile phones across the African market has greatly increased mobile phone penetration. The transfer of money using mobile phones in developing nations has been more successful and widely accepted when compared to sending money through the traditional banking system.
No more additional fees
“There are currently a number of blockchain projects coming out of the African continent calling themselves Africa’s first cryptocurrency. I believe that these claimants are being rather liberal with the truth. I am yet to find one which is not an Ethereum ERC-20 token,” says Burrow.
If you buy a Crypto Token as a payment currency, you may end up paying fees you were not expecting. Your token also has no say in the underlying protocol and in which direction it is heading.
Using Ethereum as an example, every time you make an ERC-20 token transaction you pay a fee in their native currency, ETH. This means that you have to have ETH before you can even make a transfer with this new Currency. Why would a person buy one token, when they have to pay fees in another? In fact, why pay fees at all?
In December 2017, this was highlighted when a big chunk of any transfer was eaten up in fees and transactions took ages to be confirmed because the network was clogged up. This is why, when we set out to create a mobile money application for emerging markets, we soon realised that ERC-20 Tokens (even on sidechains) are most definitely unsuitable for day-to-day transactions. To be honest, neither are most of the current batch of Cryptocurrencies and Altcoins.
You’re in control
Best of all, the network and application are free and it is owned by its users. All transactions are virtually free too. All you need to access it is the native currency, DMC.
DéMars has worked out a more efficient way (versus other protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum) to transfer data and validate transactions. The key innovation is a Blockchain built on a peer-to-peer Distributed Hash Table (the same technology used in file sharing applications like Bittorrent), which optimises the amount of data stored and transferred. It also speeds up the network and allows it to scale efficiently.
All transactions are completely private as they are only stored on your mobile phone. Unlike in the case of Bitcoin or Ethereum, it is not necessary to download the entire blockchain, which is a complete waste of data. There are no centralised or decentralised servers as the network is stored and lives on the users’ phones. This means it’s completely distributed and free of censorship.
Only 10 Billion DMC will ever be issued so there is a limited supply.
The project is currently pre-selling 8 billion coins to raise funds for further development with an initial selling price of €10 (R170) for 1000 coins. The price will increase by 10% for each round of coins sold.
Once deployed, entrepreneurs and developers will be able to build apps and offer services on the network too.
This project is extremely close to all our hearts. Being inter-African immigrants ourselves, we personally send money home every month and have to pay exorbitant fees each time. We also saw how our Zimbabwean friends and colleagues in South Africa were taken advantage of and how their funds were often stolen when they were forced to use informal channels.
“You often only get one chance in a lifetime to make a real difference. To be honest with you, we completely stumbled on this, but it’s definitely our one shot at making an impact,” said Burrow adding: “Personally, I feel I’ve been training for 15 years for this job and I’m going to make damn sure that our technology and ultimately our solutions have a real, tangible impact on the communities we serve.”
A new global currency
The new currency has features that cross multiple traditional forms. In evaluating this new currency, we should rethink everything. Technology is fundamentally changing financial interaction and the new peer-to-peer decentralised currencies, including DMC, are taking the lead in this transformation. This is a currency you own and you control. No bank or government can take it away from you and you can choose to exchange it with whomever you please.
“The current financial infrastructure is like an old road, full of potholes, tolls and dilapidated petrol stations. DéMars is digging the tunnels and laying the sleepers to build a new railway line – in fact, it’s more like a hyper loop. And DMC is the electricity which will power the new system. It’s a new high-speed train with better and more convenient stations,” concludes Burrow.
Trade local, pay global
The new digital currency falls under all three categories of digital currency. It has transactional uses, like Bitcoin. It’s the native currency of a platform, like Ethereum, and it has utility as it is designed to fulfil a specific task, like Ripple.
The new platform will allow you to send, receive and view your transactions on your phone. You can launch and view adverts for currency exchanges in your local area, in a similar way to localbitcoins.com (so you can trade local and pay global). The platform will also be open to third party entrepreneurs and developers who will be able to offer micro loans, insurance and savings products and services.