While the blockchain is often touted as a game-changing technology that is capable of disrupting traditional finance, it is yet to fulfil this promise.
The race to satisfy this pledge is still on but numerous obstacles such as regulatory uncertainty are standing in the way.
For different reasons, regulators in some parts of the world including in Africa are still sceptical of the blockchain. The fact that the blockchain is the technology that anchors bitcoin makes it less than ideal technology to use. Compounding the problem are the many misconceptions about cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular.
Still, even as they exhibit some form of apprehension towards the technology, a few regulators are also resigned to the fact that the blockchain is not going anywhere. Therefore, to prepare themselves for the coming era wherein the blockchain is at the epicentre of finance, these regulators are looking at ways they ease in the technology whilst maintaining control.
Nevertheless, regulators or central banks lack the capacity and technical know-how to build solutions in the space. To overcome this challenge it is, therefore, logical for them to partner with private fintech startups that possess the required skills.
In Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) could well be attempting to do just that through its FinTech sandbox. The central bank has onboarded Uhuru Innovative Solutions to the sandbox, a fintech firm behind the WhatsApp-based payment solution. As a result of this coming together, the latter, which already harnesses the Stellar blockchain, has created a platform specializing in low and mid-value payments that enable users in Zimbabwe and South Africa to make instant payments using stable coins.
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Users (who must all do a KYC) will be able to make low-value payments for things like DSTV, Electricity, Airtime or Utility Bills from anywhere once their wallet is funded. The latest addition to the platform allows Telone and Zol customers to pay or top up their accounts. For Inuka and Avon agents, Uhuru Wallet also provides a convenient payment solution which allows users to make payments for their orders.
For Zimbabweans without a bank account or those living as undocumented migrants in countries like South Africa, Uhuru wallet allows them to pay for school fees, hospital bills and other utilities. For example, a Zimbabwean living and working in South Africa can pay directly for their monthly funeral policy subscriptions or pay for a loved one’s water bill without the need of a third party.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans work and live in South Africa while maintaining ties with their home country, where they customarily send remittances and cater for their families. Since this payment solution is available, the wallet potentially becomes another secure and cheaper remittance channel available to them. For those concerned about the security of their funds, Uhuru’s anchor technology the blockchain enables regulators like the RBZ to monitor and flag transactions in real-time.
You can check out Uhuru Wallet for yourself by chatting with +27600702708 on WhatsApp
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