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Usawa: Working With Telecom Companies to Make Investing Easier
According to the Global Fidex Database, there are still 1.7 billion adults who are unbanked –that is, without access to formal financial services.
These people live in in every nation, although they’re concentrated in the developing world, geo-politically, the Non-Aligned Nations (NAMs).
These people do not have access to an efficient easy-to-use, international transaction system to manage their daily banking needs.
While half of these unbanked citizens currently own a mobile handset, nearly all are expected to gain access to mobile technology over the next decade.
Many of these people also reside in countries that have seen high rates of currency inflation, or even hyperinflation, making it even more challenging for them to save, or invest for the future.
This is where Usawa comes in.
Usawa.io is a U.S.-registered real estate investment company with an optimal profile to hedge against risk. We’ve created a digital asset-backed token, and are introducing it into the world’s emerging economies to make day-to-day buying and selling, saving and investing a reality.
Usawa aims to link these unbanked world citizens with international investments to create a new trust-based, digital platform to generate quality returns. The ability to invest internationally is something that’s invaluable for people in countries who have seen the value of their currency plummet in recent years.
With Usawa, anyone can store their money safely –without having to worry about the value dropping due to inflation.
Currency inflation and hyperinflation have plagued a number of countries in recent years.
Some have seen their currency lose 40-50% of its value in the past 3-6 years alone. These conditions make it incredibly difficult for residents. This means it’s tremendously challenging for them to accrue capital to start their own businesses, or save for the long-term needs like housing or education.
Here’s what inflation looked like in 2018:
- Nigeria (NGN): 12.4%
- Ghana (GHS): 9.47%
- Kenya (KES): 5.04%
- South Africa (ZAR): 4.78%
Meanwhile, global inflation was at 3.78% for 2018.
Usawa aims to solve the problem of inflation by creating a fully transparent way for citizens to invest their money with confidence –while generating a rate of return that exceeds global inflation.
Our goal is to make investing and simple saving, easier and accessible for anyone, even those who are unbanked. Currently, we’re working with telecom companies to open up investing even further, making it seamless for anyone in the world, who has access to a phone, to sign in and transact.
The market now accepts that digital transaction systems have risen to maturity, and the next wave of international digital currency transactions are already taking shape, based on tokens that allow users to seamlessly swipe their card in one country and to be paid in another.
How Does It Work?
To use Usawa tokens, you will only need a digital device; or at least access to one. No computer, no heavy footprint, almost no infrastructure. Existing retail banking is behind the curve on this, because digital banking is technology-led and technology is developed by entrepreneurs not banks.
The problem of the unbanked is that in ‘low-trust economies’ local currencies are hollowed out by inflation, lack of stability in political affairs, low investment in people and misplaced economic activity, or just simple corruption.
This is where an asset-backed digital token can make a difference: by providing an international-local digital technology for financial transactions and value storing that offers both security and transparency, helping to prevent corruption and mismanagement. Since it’s blockchain-based, there’s a record of every transaction, every change that’s made.
An international transaction-payment and investing system that anyone can invest in.
Navigating the Regulatory Environment
There is a lot going on in the regulation of international digital tokens. The International Monetary Fund has expressed support recently. As has the Bank of International Settlements.
A huge boost to the new industry was also given in the recent announcement by China’s President, Xi Jinping, that China would be going wholesale in favour of using blockchain technologies, and launching its own Government Backed Digital Currency (GBDC). The implications for world trade, finance, and international banking are substantial.
So what will the new digital currency regulation look like? In the next two years digital banking is being put in place by regional and international regulatory authorities. They see the opportunity, and they see that the main issues of the technology have been solved, or are able to be.
Our goal is for Usawa to be one of the most trusted brands in digital tokens for the globally unbanked.
Here’s a look at some exciting developments that have been happening in the world of digital tokens.
- Regional and national digital banking regulators – Regulators are now adding digital currencies to their existing regulatory responsibilities, while also seeking to advance new regulatory capability to technological bank, finance, and transaction capabilities.
- Blockchain exchanges – Blockchain exchanges act as the technological trading platforms for digital tokens. Both new platforms and new digital initiatives by existing financial exchanges are confident handling multiple tokens and offer themselves as marketplace makers to every token.
- Security and speed transaction technologies – The digital currency exchanges have recently adopted technologies like ‘Lightning’ which secure the encryption and security of transactions.
- Public and private token availability – Many digital tokens are in circulation today, although the top-ten are market leaders, functional differentiation is now playing a role in token design and success.
- Secure access and payment technologies – At the customer end of the digital transaction the easy to use, secure, swipe-card mobile software will soon be available. It’s likely multiple tokens will be used on every exchange and via the same transaction software.
To any experienced investor or business analyst, digital banking is clearly on the verge of major upwards shift that could bring several billion new customers into the global economy.
Investment Opportunities Amid Digital Token Volatility and Currency Inflation
The technology is now proven. This moves the game into rapid investment to secure transaction territory, or market share.
The regulators are on-board and looking for solutions that are secure and trust-based in the immediate-term.
The level of opportunity is so great that investors with an eye to digital technology not only gain a cutting edge in this new field, but are likely to gain expansive new investment opportunities in diverse new markets, still emerging.
So what are the concerns? Volatility has been a feature of digital tokens over the years.
In late 2017, a basket of leading digital currencies lost 20 to 30% of their value overnight, while in a few days most of the lost value was returned and over another year, currencies stabilised at the top of predicted market prices.
However, confidence in digital currencies is still continuing to grow, thanks to both increased risk in the general investment market and the growing volume of digital transactions.
With more and more investors being attracted into the digital currency space, transaction volumes are increasing fast. Volatility dies down because bigger markets are more stable.
Still, the fact remains that there’s still a tremendous amount of instability with many digital tokens.
This is where Usawa stands out.
Any investment made in Usawa is directly tied to U.S. real estate. The tokens are based on the value of a growing portfolio of investment properties; rentals. These properties are experiencing both appreciation and cash flow, something that’s allowed us to guarantee investors an annual dividend of 6.5%. This helps to hedge against inflation, or indeed hyperinflation, that local economies already experience due to extreme turbulence across the risk spectrum.
Usawa’s stability, potential for long-term growth, and ease of accessibility are helping to cement its reputation as a solid digital currency that investors can use to hedge against instability of their own currencies.
Our goal with Usawa is to help the world’s unbanked citizens to grow their lives and businesses; giving them access to something that would have traditionally been largely out of reach. The beauty of this investment is that anyone who would like to invest only has to use their phone to make this transaction happen. They can use $5.00, or $500; however much, or little, they would like.
The value of the tokens is published on Usawa’s website and is based upon the current value of the portfolio and number of tokens issued.
Usawa offers a new way of investing in digital finance: including, high returns, good security, risk analysis, and long-term hedging; all things that make it an ideal investment for people around the world, especially for the unbanked, or those who are in countries that are experiencing high levels of economic uncertainty, or inflation.
-Gary Nealon Co-Founder, Usawa.io
Usawa Set to Provide Trustworthy Investment Tool for Africans and Change how Pension Funds and Bank do Business
Kenya, Africa: In the last three to six years, some African countries have lost more than 40-50% of their currency’s value, making it incredibly difficult for residents to confidently and securely invest for their futures. Over the last decade, with rising inflation, most pension funds are only providing an average return of 2.5 per cent over ten years.
Today, American serial entrepreneur Gary Nealon is announcing a solution set to have a global impact and change how pension funds do business. Usawa is a stable and liquid investment solution that is backed by hard assets in the form of US real estate now accessible to Africans. It is a reliable investment tool that will provide immunity to currency depreciation and guarantees a rate of return of 6.5% a year return in USD with the interest payments paid monthly.
The idea for Usawa was first conceived several years ago when Nealon and fellow entrepreneurs visited South Africa and met with local entrepreneurs to provide business guidance. Nealon and friends quickly realized that while these entrepreneurs had successful businesses, they simply weren’t able to access small business loans to grow and scale their companies to their full potential.
“It really made us think – if the government isn’t providing them with the resources to grow, how can we as entrepreneurs help,” explained Nealon.
This led to Nealon researching African currencies and how they perform against the US dollar, and ultimately realizing there was an opportunity to help more than just small businesses. When you removed the middle class and wealthy from the equation, Nealon saw that while there was a lot of lending going on, there were not a lot of opportunities to save. There was no financial education.
“We wanted to create a company that would have a global impact by giving access to savings or interest returning accounts to people that are unbanked or don’t have access to financial institutions,” shared Nealon. “When looking at new technologies coming out, we discovered that Blockchain was a great way to leverage technology to help people that have never invested or saved before. We could turn it into an investment tool for these people by creating a stable environment with a steady rate of return, eliminating the ebbs and flows of other cryptocurrencies.”
Nealon and his team have personally guaranteed the revenue stream by testing it with their own money over the last two years, proving the model and consistency of the rate of return. “We have found a way to successfully beat the global rate of inflation and the rate of return you can get on the global markets with Usawa,” said Nealon. “We give countries a way to hedge against the devaluation of their currency. By shifting their money to a USD based asset, we hedge against that decline and offer them a rate of return on top of it. For someone that has never been able to save before, small gains from shifting to a USD based asset can have a huge impact on their life.”
So what’s next for Usawa? Nealon revealed Usawa is currently working with African telecom companies to figure out how to integrate Usawa within their mobile platforms. Nealon believes this will have the largest scale to most people, even if only a small portion starts saving. Nealon added that they are also looking at ways to partner with banks and pension funds to offer unparalleled liquidity options.