Innovative finance for refugees with blockchain technology

by Nathaniel Robinson

from Leaf Global Fintech

Our solution

Leaf provides financial services to the stateless and excluded by creating a virtual bank with blockchain technology. With Leaf, refugees can safely store and transport money across borders to avoid carrying cash. Carrying cash puts refugees at risk of danger and is inconvenient and expensive to exchange. Leaf is accessible through a mobile device—no smartphone required. Others abroad can also contribute into customers’ accounts. Leaf enables financial security by creating economic identities.

What's the business opportunity for host and refugee community

Leaf gives refugees a better start by increasing access to funds and bringing them into the formal economy. Leaf decreases dependence upon host communities by allowing refugees to protect and retain their savings across borders in addition to opening a channel for support from friends/family abroad. Leaf provides financial security through savings and microloans. Creating an economic identity helps customers establish themselves in a new country and positively contribute to the host community.

How has it been implemented and what impact it had

Leaf conducted a seven-country market validation with refugees in each phase of the refugee journey. The Leaf team successfully piloted cross-border blockchain transactions and a biometrics platform in Rwanda/DR Congo. It also conducted customer experience interviews to establish strong demand. Leaf has companies in Rwanda and DRC and is in the process of seeking licenses to launch operations. Leaf projects it will help 74,000 refugees store and transport assets across borders in three years.

Our Skills and Experience

Nat Robinson, Co-Founder/CEO, has a JD/MBA and spent seven years starting and running a microfinance company in Kenya by developing digital financial services for the unbanked. Tori Samples, Co-Founder/CTO, has an MBA and designed on some of the largest datasets in the world as a Data Architect. She has worked with refugees for 15 years. Both founders have worked in East Africa and speak Swahili. The broader team has expertise in international money transfer, cross-border trade, and blockchain.