Social Lending Meets Financial Inclusion
Our inspiration is addressing the problem of SGD 8 (financial exclusion) as well as the resiliency of immigrants and refugees or otherwise "unbanked" people. The "unbanked" are neither untrustyworthy nor unreliable with money, rather they are invisible to financial institutions which value institutional record keeping over social credit. Moim, which mean "to join" in Korean, seeks to legitimize and add institutional value to social lending. While immigrants and refugees lack a "financial track record", they usually have a social network. And it is through informal social lending -- through friends and family -- that the unbanked raise capital for entrepreneurial efforts that can move a family out of poverty.
What it does
There are 1.7 billion unbanked people in the word according to the World Bank, and Moim seeks to bridge the gap between financial institutions and informal social lending. Moim is designed to facilitate social lending amongst one's social network and the barriers to financial inclusion. Moim leverages an individual's social network to fund their loan need, and then records the repayments for the loan on the blockchain. The borrower will have a 0% loan funded by their social network, and then upon repayment will have a public record of their repayment history that they can take to traditional finance institutions.
Moim is designed to work with "good faith" third parties organizations such as credit unions, microfinance institutions or non-profits such as Kiva.org. The 'good faith' organizations can receive payments and disburse funds to individuals and funders. These third party organizations can log the repayments through Moim and update the social lending network when a repayment was made, and the repayment record will be logged to a public blockchain and repayments will be disbursed among the social lenders. When the loan is fully repaid, the borrower has a confirmed credit record that they can take to a formal financial institution. Whereas in the past all these transactions would have remained invisible to the world of formal finance.
How we built it
We first built and interface with React web technologies, with repayments and identity being stored on an Ethereum-based blockchain. We leveraged Facebook Login for security and identity and used Facebook friend network to identify Moim lenders withing the borrower's network. We then proceeded toward a mobile solution built with React Native with the understanding that mobile technology is often the computing device of choice with the millennial generation and in countries with poor wire-based internet infrastructure.
Challenges we ran into
Learning React-Native, Setting up React-Native environment, integration with Ethereum blockchain, integration with Facebook API, working with Redux.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This is our first React-Native application among the group members. We went beyond our current skillset to add a mobile application, because social networks are largely facilitated by new mobile devices.
What we learned
We are an international team where we face communication challenges that were mediated with modern translation tools. We learned how technology can facilitate communication and productive work across a language barrier. We also learned how to code a react native application and to set up a mobile development environment with Android studio, mobile emulators, Expo and React Native. It was the first time for us to work with the Redux paradigm as well.
What's next for Moim
Organizations like Kiva.org or credit unions have payment infrastructure to adopt Moim. The next step would be would be integrate payment systems like Paypal to faciliate record keeping onto the blockchain.