Digital Payments Around The World

Research Notes


We want to study and provide references for the digital payment schemes around the world and start to explore possible ways to leverage crypto and blockchain technology to provide more liquidity, and utility for local payments and services, particularly in emerging markets that are cash-based or moving towards new types of digital payment to local currency schemes.

In many developed economies, going cashless means using a debit or credit card, or perhaps using a digital wallet such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Visa Checkout. This type of "cashless" economy is tethered to legacy credit card payment rails, and requires each consumer to have a bank account, or credit profile, in order to participate.  It seems unlikely that debit and credit payment processing rails & ecosystem are going to willingly cede transaction processing fees and will see crypto based payments as a threat in light of emerging crypto technology enabling consumers and merchants to easily and quickly make a payments with very low transaction fees, and vary fast transactions at the point of sale.

This article gives a nice chart about the state of developed economies moving towards debit as opposed to cash:


When we think about the emerging economies, we are looking to study the intersection of payments and crypto-currencies.  For example, in China Alipay and Wepay took 3 years to go from 20%-95% of all payments made.

In India UPI is a new scheme

In Nigeria we have M-Pesa

What are the other digital payment schemes helping emerging markets move away from cash and onto digital payments?

Mckinsey report on digital finance and impact to emerging economies:

BanQu: Dignity Through Identity.
The first ever blockchain Economic Identity technology (patent pending) platform and network that enables a secure and immutable platform for creating economic opportunities for people around the world who are refugees and living in extreme poverty. The BanQu network uses a proprietary ( patent pending ) method to create a mashup of selfie plus other key human characteristics / biometrics for people with no access to technology or banking.
This Economic Identity then can be augmented by critical pieces of information such as land rights, voter registration, relationship based credit profiles, education records and health records etc. The BanQu network thus enables a true credit / bankable profile for the refugees / unbanked and extreme poverty populations who are otherwise left out everyday.

Payments to mobile phones:

TransferTo’s Mobile Money Hub disrupts traditional money transfers by offering digital money transfers over phones. We interconnect money transfer services and mobile money accounts across geographies to provide instant money transfers, low cost and more secure with a digital transaction. Through TransferTo’s Hub, it is possible to send micro-values as low as $1 in real-time directly to 4.5 billion of mobile phones or to to send larger amounts also in real-time. This helps the consumer by giving them greater choice of when they want to send money, how frequently do they want to do it and the amount they want to send, without worrying about opening hours of outlets and how expensive the transaction fees are.


QR Code Payment System Launches in Singapore:

Speaking with someone from Argentina, these are the popular tools for bitcoin

BitPago & Ripeio:

XAPO Digital Wallet:

Blockchain For Social Impact Hackathon

The final submissions for this hackathon can be found here:

Our friends at Invisible College turned us on to this hackathon and we are excited to spend time this month getting to know the community that is working towards blockchain ideas that progress social impact initiatives.  There is a lot of hype about the ability of blockchain to unlock value, create market efficiencies and empower the disenfranchised. There are many possibilities and we are currently focusing on two possible ideas for this hackathon, the first is supply-chain / supply-finance on the blockchain and the second is an idea for a smart-contract that incentivizes families for reaching educational goals.

Update: We've decided to focus on the smart-contract for reaching education goals for this hackathon.  We have some ideas, and market research on this site for supply-chain but will table that set of initiatives for this hackathon. Don't hesitate to reach out if you'd like to chat about supply-chain it just won't be explored on this page for now...

Hackathon Challenge: Blockchain for Social Impact

Smart Contract to Incentivize Families for Children Reaching Educational Goals

Description of early stage idea:

The inspiration for the idea comes from these set of facts, that we've referenced here (from:

The yields from investing in girls’ education are substantial. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential, as well as reduce poverty in her community. According to the World Bank, the return on one year of secondary education for a girl correlates with as high as a 25% increase in wages later in life. The effects carry from one generation to the next: educated girls have fewer, healthier and better educated children. For each additional year of a mother’s education, the average child attains an extra 0.32 years, and for girls the benefit is slightly larger.

A smart-contract allowing for a donor, family, and oracle to enter into an agreement whereby payments are made from donor-wallets to the smart-contract-wallet, paying out to family-wallets upon verification of milestones via the oracle.

Smart Contract: The smart-contract governs automatic execution of program for the following specific actions: 1) donation payment acceptance between donor-wallet and smart-contract-wallet, 2) oracle signal for payment, and 3) payment from smart-contract-wallet to family-wallet.

Donor Wallet: Donors will make payments to the smart-contract-wallet utilizing the cryptocurrency and wallet of their choice as long as it is supported by one of our exchange partners.

Family Wallet: The family wallet is where payments made by the smart-contract are delivered.  This could be an SMS system, Android or iOS app, or any other regional digital wallet payments system that we have a partnership with.

Oracle: An Oracle is a third party piece of data that will provide the source of truth for a smart-contract to perform actions based upon. In this example, we imagine that non-profit groups will onboard with digital identity systems allowing for the signing of digital contracts. For example, someone from the Peace Corp, or an online exam would digitally sign a payment release upon verification of milestone.

Explanation of proposed business plan / business model: TBD:

Prototype / Proof-of-concept: We already have a functional Solidity smart-contract for lending money to a smart-contract, and borrowing money from a smart-contract.  We will extend this to work for multiple parties. We will also build a website for interested parties to learn more about this idea and contact us to discuss partnerships in pursuit of the vision.

Timeline for sustained development of technology/business:

Stage 1: Open source version of simple 3-party (donor, family, oracle) education incentivization smart-contract.

Stage 2: Proliferation of variants of this idea into existing non-profits that are interested in and already working on education initiatives and would like to use the benefits of smart-contracts, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies.


We've joined up with the Sophia project: 

Final Submission to the Hackathon