AUTHOR: Amadeus de Koning
She nervously boarded the flight. “Anything to declare?” the customs
officer asked. If she showed the ten thousand dollars in her travel
pouch, would the officer not make trouble? Daria needed to take the
money into Mali, because the workers of the maternity ward in a remote
country village needed to be paid and there is no banking infrastructure
in the outback of Mali. She was a volunteer from a charity service that
simply had no other way to support their workers and the mothers and
babies in their care. How else could they buy much needed medicines and
practice their art, to bring the newly born safely into this world?
The officer glanced at the long line quickly with a bored expression,
and waved at Daria’s queue that they should move quickly through the
checkpoint. The people behind her thronged to pass through, and in the
hustle Daria breathed a sigh of relief. This time the money would reach
its destination unharmed. By chance. If only every transfer would go so
Daria’s example here is a story. But in reality this situation happens
again and again around the world, with unpredictable outcome. People
like Daria, who are physically taking money to Africa, take risk in
order to support families and livelihoods. In expat communities around
the world, the common voice is that tariffs imposed on sending money via
electronic banking transactions are a growing problem, for those wishing
to sustain their families while working abroad.
To send money to other countries, there are tariffs of between five to
ten percent of the sum just for transferring it to another location on
the globe. Much of this fee is hidden in unfavourable exchange rates. In
times of internet, these amounts could be easily transferred via
In recent months India’s Prime Minister, in a pioneer move to reshape
India’s financial economy, ordered all large denomination bills of
currency to be exchanged for smaller coupures, causing long queues in
front of bank offices. Queues of people to exchange their money.Slashdot
reports that the mobile payment traffic in India has exploded since.
Is India taking the lead in mobile finance? What will this mean for
control over personal finance and privacy in this country?
Growing financial risk and everyday loss of control over personal
finances is a looming threat to freedom and privacy in many places
around the globe. Our team wants to tackle this problem head on. At Internet of Coins we want to enable
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technology. Having financial freedom, whether on computer or mobile,
empowers communities and livelihoods to give them the personal control
to organise their own finances.