4 minutes reading time (846 words)

Blockchain, E-commerce : Blossoming in a developing world.

It has long been a "Hot" debate on what the actual use case of "Digital currency" is.

I have seen for myself the arguments and opinions on the true value and or use case of blockchain evolve over the years, from claims it's only use was to facilitate criminal activity to the realizations of the powerful positives and negatives that distributed systems inherently have.

It has always puzzled me how the obvious power of decentralized networks escapes some, but I digress, Perhaps these people just need to see before they believe or they are still in denial that anything not dug out of the ground and "Shiny" and or Issued by a centrally controlled entity can hold "Real" value, but digressing again (My bad).

But when looking towards the developing world It becomes far more evident. From Blockchain Remittance and banking the un-banked in the Philippines where over 70% of the population does not have a bank account, to blockchain enabled digital identification systems in Sierra Leone, the use case of blockchain and other digital technologies is quickly being realized in many areas of the globe.

Nairobi, Kenya

Copia, a six-year old e-commerce and logistics startup operating in central Kenya has a business model that might perplex some. Copia has focused on catering to low-income consumers who are often under-served partly due to living outside urban areas.

"We built our business on a mobile platform to bring retail services to low to middle income African consumers — consumers who are remote, un-banked, unconnected and who may not a valid ID or address," says Tim Steel, CEO of Copia. "Other e-commerce players are focused on the top of the pyramid with middle-class and elite."

So far, Copia's model has proven enough to catch attention as it raised $26 million in a Series B round led by LGT Lightstone, with participation from Perivoli Innovations, Endeavor Catalyst, ELEA and Goodwell Investments, the Dutch-based impact investment firm.

And that is not the only recent news out of Kenya, Safaricom, by far Kenya's largest telecoms operator announced Friday the launch of "MPost" a digital postal service that will use mobile phone numbers like traditional post office box addresses. The company, part-owned by South Africa's Vodacom , targets 5 million new users of the service as it ramps up infrastructure for its fledgling electronic commerce business.

MPost, the service will be offered jointly with the Postal Corporation of Kenya, which will rent out physical post office boxes to Safaricom customers using their mobile phone numbers, at a quarter of the going rate for conventional boxes. Safaricom's more than 30 million users will access services from 625 postal outlets across the country.

 On a less regionally focused and more global note, Particl a Privacy "Focused" Dapp (Decentralized Application) platform that aims to


"Give Holders of any major cryptocurrency the ability to buy, sell and trade in complete privacy".

Particl spokesperson

​Announced new infrastructures coming to it's platform in the form of "Private marketplace and storefront creation" allowing anyone, anywhere to create their own decentralized marketplace or storefront, as well as the ability to advertise (Small fee) it in a decentralized manner. the whole process takes minutes to set up with No verification required as well as being free of charge.

Now some may say that e-commerce has not existed long enough to be disruptive but I disagree.

Traditional centralized e-commerce platforms carry many overheads in the forms of massive energy use and server maintenance among other necessary costs that are inherent with centralized systems, these costs are then passed on to the users (buyers and sellers) of the platform in the form of "Sales taxes". this is the reason why large global e-commerce companies could never offer near free listing or zero sales taxes that decentralized systems like Particl can, and the lack of fees can allow sellers to offer more competitive prices and therefore buyers more discounts, A win-win all around.

Furthermore , the addition of President of Spend (Spend.com) Bryan Woods as an advisor to the Particl team as announced at Money2020 in Las Vegas last month, is another interesting development.

Spend is a next-generation banking ecosystem with tens of thousands of active users. It acts as a fiat gateway and "banking services 2.0" provider. Its all-in-one mobile application allows you to hold, transfer, deposit, and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies and fiat (currently only USD and CAD) without requiring a bank, this would give Particl many of the on-boarding/off boarding tools required to run a successful e-commerce network.

To some the Idea of decentralization, "Digital currencies" and the whole IOT (Internet of things) pitch "A connection for everything and everything connected" Might seem too much, even ridiculous. But I beg to differ.

With the use of blockchain and other forms of technology we can bank the un-banked, we can create cleaner greener and cheaper e-commerce and find new solutions to old problems, and it would appear that the developing world is fast awakening to this fact, and to that, "God speed" I say.

 

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