Former Goldman Sachs’s software engineer, Bill Barhydt, recently unveiled a new Bitcoin-meets-Uber application at the Exponential Service Conference, held in New York last week.
According to the available details, the new mobile application Abra is derived from the Bitcoin technology, which enables users to take benefit of a peer-to-peer digital cash network on smartphones. They get to send cash instantly — to any other phone number in the world — which somewhat seems like a little revolution in itself, though repeated.
But perhaps the most notable feature to have come out of Abra is its non-dependence on traditional banks. To our surprise, the application doesn’t leave any scope to utilize traditional banking system, for it follows an Uber-like working model to distribute funds across the world. It basically aims at addressing the problems of the unbanked that still lives in the remotest corners of the globe, where there is no bank — not even an ATM branch.
“Traditional banking is really good at serving the global 5% to 10% of consumers who reach a certain income level,” Barhydt said. “The reality is, the majority of the planet is a cash-based economy and banking doesn’t work for those people.”
Therefore with Abra, the funds basically move through verified businesses and individuals — called Abra Tellers — that act as intermediators between the senders and recipients. Rest assured, the money is transferred in person after scanning a QR code (just like Bitcoin) provided to both the intermediator and the recipient. The deposit process works in the same way, just in reverse.
“In a hyper-connected world, it is astounding to me that you can’t pick up the phone and instantly send money to any other phone number in the world,” Barhydt added.
Abra is scheduled to release soon in the US and Philippines markets. Due to its money-based features, the app is speculated to face some regulatory hurdles, especially in the North American states.