Family supports one another.
The notion behind the founding of ohana was a desire to relieve the pain of millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Any sort of unlucky happenstance could disrupt their lives forever, leading to unbearable credit card debt or other long-term struggles. We are plagued by high interest rates and long-term loans which inherently are not in the best interests of our families, raising expenses and insecurities. Companies do not offer good ways of getting affordable short-term loans or low value loans. We realized the only way to break through the fundamental problems we saw was to upend the traditional norms of lending, and focus on providing people with the ability to lend with confidence.
What ohana does
ohana is a peer-to-peer lending platform which allows for users to anonymously request loans, after which, anonymous trusted friends can choose to fund your loan.
Users begin their experience with ohana by telling us about themselves, so we gain a more complete understanding of their financial situation. When a user requests a loan, they can choose an amount between $50-$5,000 USD. Users can also select a payment plan which works for their situation, ranging from 2-36 months. Based on this data, we determine their interest rate. If a user chooses to submit their loan, it will only be shared with their trusted friends anonymously, a group of friends on the platform which they choose.
After a borrower requests a loan, the investors must then choose to invest. All loans are given a grade, based on the user's past experiences with the tool, credit score, and other factors. Investors can choose to invest in any loans presented to them, with a minimum of $25. This allows for investors to help however they can, with a much greater chance that the loan will be filled.
After the loan has been fulfilled, the borrower will now pay a fixed rate every month back to their investors, all anonymously. Investors will get their investment back with interest.
How we built ohana
We built ohana with blockchain technology, a solution which allows for decentralized services. By decentralizing a service, no one entity controls all of its data. This allows for much greater transparency and clarity than ever before.
We powered our blockchain solution through Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Google Cloud Platform allowed us to store blockchain and user data with ease. By using GCP we are able to host complex functionality and manage loan interactions.
Challenges and Accomplishments
Our biggest difficulty was learning how to construct a blockchain. Choosing between a plethora of services and options, and understanding which solutions would be meaningful for our product was a non-trivial task. None of our team members had any experience with blockchain, and we are extremely proud to have managed to complete this project. Decentralizing loans is a simple idea which perfectly demonstrates blockchain's utility. We are proud to be providing this technology as a solution to such a meaningful and impactful issue.
We were really impressed by the technology and the idea as we constructed the company. We'd like to take time after the hackathon to speak to economists and better understand the potential impact of our company.