A project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to use distributed ledger technology to help the two billion people worldwide who lack bank accounts.
Two billion people worldwide don’t have bank accounts and must conduct their transactions in cash―which can be difficult to manage and presents safety issues. Could blockchain, the technology underlying the digital currency Bitcoin, give them access to financial services? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation thinks so, and it is modifying blockchain, which is essentially a secure, reliable digital record-keeping system, to bring the poor into the formal economy.
The initiative is part of the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program―specifically, its Level One Project, which gives governments and central banks a framework for creating national digital payments systems that anyone can use, even those who live on a few dollars a day.