Blossom is a fintech company that offers Sharia complaint financial services to people in countries that are predominantly Islamic. The company successfully merges bitcoin and traditional microfinance into a single package.
It is amazing how the culture, beliefs and practices vary from one region to another. A product that works in one country may not work in the neighbouring countries. Same holds good for finance also. The financial structure and practices vary depending upon the inherent cultural and religious beliefs of the population in that region.
Research carried out in this regard has concluded that the religion has a great deal of influence over financial structure and economic growth of any region. These results suggest that the financial services, especially those offered by global companies needs to be tailored to meet the requirements of a region to be successful.
Bitcoin can be considered as a global currency. So far, the rules for using bitcoins has been the same throughout. Not anymore, as the new start-ups coming up in these sectors are learning quickly. They have started offering customized products for the regions they serve in. Blossom is one such start-up operating in Indonesia which offers Sharia compliant loans. Indonesia is predominantly an Islamic country with close to 90% of the population being Muslims. With an Islamic majority, including orthodox followers, compliance with Sharia law or Islamic finance is an important factor for the success of any business dealing with finance.
Blossom offers microloans for the needy in Indonesia. What sets Blossom apart from most other players is the platform. Blossom platform uses bitcoin as a background to enable investors from across the world to fund those who are looking for micro-loans. The company based out of South Jakarta, Indonesia was initially started in San Francisco by Matthew Joseph Martin. Matthew is an experienced developer who has previously worked with multiple fintech start-ups like Xoom and Boku before moving to Indonesia. He got the idea of creating a company which is a confluence of both Bitcoin and Islamic finance after converting to Islam in 2010 and he has been working on it to create Blossom since then.
The Blossom platform connects investors to micro-lending institutions in Indonesia and the beneficiaries receive the loan in fiat currency. The money transfer from investors to micro-lending institutions is done in the form of bitcoin, thereby reducing the cost and time associated with cross border money transfer.
Blossom ensures that the whole process is in accordance with Sharia’s Musharakah principle (a profit and loss sharing principle where the lender shares both profits and losses from a loan with the borrower) and the company doesn’t support businesses involving usury, gambling, pornography and other activities which are deemed unislamic. By doing so, Blossom wins the trust of devout muslims in the region who will readily adopt it.