Stellar Development Foundation is a nonprofit organization working on bringing banking and financial services to the unbanked across the world.
A simple Google search is enough to know that there are over 2.5 billion unbanked adults across the world. These people don’t have access to, or don’t use banks or any microfinance institutions to manage their money. Most of the unbanked population are from the developing countries in African, Asian and South American continents.
The unbanked population in these regions do not have access financial institutions or services for multiple reasons.
- Lack of access to banks in the region
- Poor economic conditions
- Lack of short term liquidity in spite of being asset rich
- Using alternative informal saving systems within their communities
- Lack of trust in banks, mostly due to lack of awareness.
Some of these issues can be addressed by educating the masses about the importance of financial services and providing alternatives to conventional services. Microfinance institutions play a huge role in providing financial inclusion to the unbanked population across the world. There are tens of thousands of these microfinance institutions spread across the world, trying to bring a change. They have been moderately successful, but they lack efficiency.
This is where Stellar Development Foundation comes to the rescue. Stellar Development Foundation with the aim of providing access to digital financial services to the masses runs global education campaigns on digital financial literacy. They also develop and maintain Stellar protocol, an open source peer-to-peer distributive protocol for multicurrency transactions including Bitcoin and Stellar digital currency.
Stellar, is a complimentary digital currency to Bitcoin that works on Stellar protocol. Stellar protocol is a versatile platform that can handle any currency. Using Stellar you can transfer any fiat currency or cryptocurrency including Bitcoin and altcoins.
Stellar aims to connect the underserved communities to financial services and microfinance institutions. It is also working towards connecting microfinance institutions across the world with each other and to the digital economy with its Stellar service. According to Ms. Joyce Kim, the Executive Director of Stellar Development Foundation, there are over 100,000 microfinance institutions across the world while the number of unserved people with no access to SWIFT services and microfinance institutions exceeds 200 million.
In an interview recently with Zapchain, Joyce spoke about the foundation’s future goals, recent technical challenges and how they resolved the issue. According to Joyce, Stellar will be working in developing South East Asian and African Countries. Stellar expects a lot of activity in countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria, South Africa etc. that will eventually connect back Europe and United States.
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Earlier this year, Stellar faced ledger-fork issues where few nodes weren’t in consensus with the system. In order to overcome this issue and to ensure smooth service, they centralized the system until the bug is fixed. Stellar developers are working on a new system to bring back the decentralized model.
Stellar is also getting good responses from the open source developer communities across the world. There are many developers from non-English speaking countries as well, and there are language education programs for such developers as most of the resources generally focus on the English speaking population.
Stellar protocol is creating a digital environment where both fiat and cryptocurrencies can co-exist to create a greater social impact. I would personally like to wish them luck for their endeavors.