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‘You might say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’ – the famous lyrics from John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. John Lennon described his vision for a world of peace and equality, where all people are able to interact and contribute on a level playing field. SystemaD is striving to make this a reality. SystemaD is a technological platform allowing access to banking services without the formal control of traditional systems. It utilises blockchain technology, the transparent distributed ledger that makes up the backbone of Bitcoin. This grants all individuals access to build a reputation based on their personal economic participation, which can be then trusted by the larger community for future dealings.
Unfortunately, this vision of peace and economic equality still has its hurdles. Until all people of the world are free from the force of government and free from the economic vice grip of capital controls, this will never be the case. Economically, people must be free to choose how to participate and how to store their value. This means, a free market – where individuals trade without the bond to a government issued fiat currency and without market altering taxes and regulations. These free individuals then act responsibility in identifying their best way to serve their community, in way of production of goods and services and as they see fit.
Mckinsey & Company produced a research paper in 2009 stating that half the world’s adult population is unbanked. Considering that the World Bank has identified that “access to affordable financial services is linked to overcoming poverty, and increasing economic growth”, banking institutions have been very proactive in issuing bank accounts to their human livestock. As a coincidence, reports and trends of poverty (people living on less than $1.90 per day) has been on the decline, data states that poverty has dropped from 37.1% in 1990 to 12.7% in 2012. However, with no mention of the effect of inflation and no tangible living standards measure, it becomes difficult to measure realistic progress. As of 2015 the World Bank reports that, approximately 2.5 billion people worldwide still do not have a formal account at a financial institution.
There are various reasons why the unbanked remain so – insufficient documentation, travel distance, related service costs and general poverty. Essentially, the acute environmental circumstances exclude these people from access to the services offered by the financial and banking system. These are all problems which SystemaD is helping to bypass.
Research conducted by Lederle has shown that there are some serious after-effects and negative psychological outcomes that result from this exclusion. SystemaD is able to tackle the direct issue of exclusion of economic activity, as well as removing the need for a formal banking account. The platform gives direct access to financial services, facilitating market trade activities, the outcome has benefits far beyond financial health for the people involved.
Access and inclusion of basic banking services have shown to have positive impacts on people’s health. In particular, individuals grow a heightened sense of confidence, self-esteem, sense of empowerment, security and control. This extends to the individual building an education and knowledge in money management strategies, which increases employability, entrepreneurship and general well-being. The SystemaD team is witnessing, and has confirmed, the positive effect of using technology to close a gap of the old financial world, which can only build positive momentum.
In this episode we interview Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar from SystemaD, where we talk about the goals and developments of the SystemaD platform. We discuss how education and training is crucial when launching a new platform, as well as the importance of organic uptake for growth of an open economy. Join us in another poverty-disrupting, well-being uplifting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!