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Bahamian team announces blockchain-based app for social savings groups

A Bahamian team is taking blockchain technology and linking it to Bahamians’ favorite saving mechanism – the asue.

Simone Smith-Bean and Marvin Hanna have announced the pre-sale of “tokens for a blockchain-based mobile app” for social savings groups like those that get together to form asues.

Smith-Bean and Hanna are leading the process in The Bahamas on behalf of Solidus Limited, a Bermuda-based company that has started to pre-sell cryptotokens called ChamaCoin.

According to information provided by Smith-Bean and Hanna, Solidus is developing a mobile app for asue savings groups called ChamaPesa.

“ChamaPesa will enable asue members to manage the bookkeeping of their savings club using a private blockchain on their phone. This provides transparency and accountability to all the members of each savings group that use the app.”

The company currently has a prototype of the ChamaPesa app in testing and development, with plans to release the app to the public in the fourth quarter of 2018.

According to Smith-Bean and Hanna, ChamaPesa translates into “group money” in East Africa, where they said the app was first developed and tested.

“Recognizing that a very similar savings culture exists in The Bahamas and the Caribbean region, Smith-Bean and her husband acquired a major stake in the project and have continued development from Bermuda,” notes a press statement from the company.

“ChamaPesa is intended to support both traditional rotating savings groups as well as small investment clubs that provide loans to members.

“The app will use a utility token, called ChamaCoin, to collect transaction fees and distribute them as rewards back to the users. ChamaCoin will also be used as a form of collateral for loans and other applications in the app that require trust.”

Smith-Bean, a native of Nassau, explained the thought behind the idea, saying: “Social savings clubs, or asue, provide a traditional way for people to save together and help each other to get a handle on their finances. The groups are fun to be a part of because of the social nature. The positive peer pressure helps the members to meet their financial goals.

“ChamaPesa seeks to make savings clubs easier to manage and more reliable for the members via blockchain technology. This will translate into increased accountability and transparency and a reduction in theft and fraud.”

Smith-Bean and Hanna said the app is also designed to assist the “unbanked” who have not been able to benefit from the reach of The Bahamas’ financial services system.

“The technical lead for the project is the well-known financial cryptographer Ian Grigg, whose recent experience includes consulting as a co-architect of R3’s Corda, a blockchain for banks, as well as a blockchain operating system called ‘EOS’ with Dan Larimer.”

Smith-Bean and Hanna, of Bermudian law firm Smith-Bean and Co., are handling the sale of the tokens. Smith-Bean is also a director of Solidus Ltd.

Interested Bahamians can find more information on this new venture at www.chamapesa.com.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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