For many people, 2020 will likely go down in history as one of the most momentous of the century. After all, it was the year governments, health professionals and business owners seemed to have a common goal: to stop the spread of Covid-19 at all costs. In fact, it has been said that for the most part, containing the spread of the virus will require shutting down the economy and forcing the frightened masses to stay inside. These measures, in turn, forced ordinary people to find ways to get on with their lives without offending governments or exposing themselves to the virus. It is these circumstances that have brought to the fore the importance of an equally momentous innovation – blockchain technology.
Kuva is looking for a solution to Crypto’s troubled relationship with regulators
As some studies have shown, the adoption or use of blockchain technology has increased significantly since the second quarter of 2020. The surge in popularity of innovation may have led many central banks and governments to seriously consider using it in creating their own digital currencies.
However, despite the apparent success and stakeholder acceptance of the innovation, many regulators and governments, including the Biden government, are still trying to stifle the blockchain industry. Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped innovators and entrepreneurs from making improvements to current chains or developing new blockchains, as James Saruchera, Kuva’s co-founder and CEO, did.
In his response to questions from Bitcoin.com News, Saruchera, a Zimbabwean native who now lives in the UK, explains why it is important for governments and regulators to see the crypto and blockchain community as allies. He also shares some of the reasons his company chose to build its own blockchain instead of using established chains.
Below are Saruchera’s answers to questions sent by Bitcoin.com News.
Bitcoin.com News (BCN): First of all, can you give us a brief background on what motivated you to start this blockchain project?
James Saruchera (JS): With the possible exception of the Chinese yuan, I doubt anyone can name a currency from a developing country that is considered hard currency. As a result, most of the people in this part of the world are limited to money that is losing 10% or more of its purchasing power every year, which means they are effectively and gradually getting poorer even if they diligently work every penny all year round save up. I saw my own parents’ pension of over 30 years being wiped out in an instant by hyperinflation. I was intrigued by the question of what could happen if billions of people had 10, 20, 30% more purchasing power every year just by protecting the value of their property. The blockchain technology we’re building at Kuva (a Shona word that means “have”) has the potential to do this.
As a result, most of the people in this part of the world are limited to money that is losing 10% or more of its purchasing power every year, which means they are effectively and gradually getting poorer even if they diligently work every penny all year round save up.
BCN: What are some of the milestones or important goals that you have achieved as an organization?
JS: After three years of quiet but intense development, our recently released pilot platform has already received over 10,000,000 downloads from users in 75 countries through word of mouth alone. We’re just getting started, processing over $ 20 million so we know we’re on.
BCN: Some might argue that there are way too many blockchain projects or startups and that instead of creating your own, you could have simply worked with what was already there. How would you react to that?
JS: Building your own blockchain is undoubtedly a daunting undertaking, and when we first started we certainly thought that using an existing blockchain would be the way to go. The reality on the ground in developing countries soon changed this perspective. Challenges like the last mile, access to cash, connectivity and other things make a blockchain controlled from San Francisco or Berlin completely inadequate. It wasn’t long before we realized that we need to build something from the ground up that is tailored to the conditions in emerging markets, where this technology can make the most of its impact.
BCN: What do you think is Kuva’s most important value proposition?
JS: The Kuvacash wallet is currently the closest to truly global mobile money in the world. The Kuva blockchain that powers them is a multi-asset blockchain where users have full control and custody of their funds through their mobile devices. No other blockchain has the ability to bridge cash, the blockchain world and the global banking system. No mobile operating system can do that. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to buy and sell Bitcoin, and all you need to complete the transaction is a phone number.
BCN: In recent years, many African central banks have gone from being skeptical about blockchain to being leading supporters of this technology. Do you think that’s good?
JS: When the Internet first hit the market there were many skeptics, but soon the government and industry realized that this was a tool that could boost the economy and increase efficiency. So today we see that almost all governments around the world are advocates of eGovernment services as the benefits are clear and the initial concerns outweigh the initial concerns. Blockchain technology has the same transformative potential as the internet. There are very few moments in a century when poor nations have the opportunity to rapidly improve the well-being of their citizens. It is vital that African central banks and governments not only embrace this technology, but encourage and enable innovation in this area. We see that in Latin America too.
BCN: Some organizations have campaigned for what they call private-public partnership to ensure that central bank-created CBDCs will be successful. Do you agree with that
JS: Historically, government-funded agencies like NASA attracted some of the best engineers in the world. In contrast to industries like aerospace, however, almost all of the technical and strategic blockchain know-how lies in the private sector. Very little government investment has gone into this strategic area like aerospace, so working with the private sector is essential to fill the gap.
BCN: Given your experiences as both an entrepreneur and someone who has seen the effects of inflation firsthand, do you believe that blockchain may be the panacea or part of the solution to the shared currency devaluation challenge?
JS: I have the feeling that the blockchain is only part of the solution because, for example, the purchasing power of USD stablecoins is losing value with the USD. This is one of the reasons Kuva built a multi-currency blockchain in the first place so that it would be possible to seamlessly switch to the currency that best maintains its value.
BCN: It seems that cryptocurrency regulations are getting stricter in both developed and developing countries. Unfortunately, this has an impact on the growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies. What do you think the crypto community needs to do to appease paranoid regulators and skeptics?
JS: We know firsthand that most of the people who own crypto are everyday hard working people who want to send their kids to school and have absolutely no problem following reasonable know-your-customer processes. They also don’t want to see nefarious activity. The interesting thing is that blockchain technology is actually much better equipped to provide transparency and traceability that cash just doesn’t have. It is important that regulators see this community as a useful ally who can provide tools to combat money laundering and the funding of nefarious activities. Few talk about how we can actually be on the same side and pursue the same goals when it comes to consumer protection.
What do you think of this interview? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Photo credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer of liability: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement for any product, service, or company. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author are directly or indirectly responsible for any damage or loss caused or allegedly caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.