Delivering the crypto economy to the world’s 3.5bn unbanked
Technology for 3.5billion, the inclusion of vast tracts of humanity in the global economy, a plug and play system with boundless possibilities. Humaniq is driving forward, writes JON MASSEY
I t’s on the ground in Ghana. Then it’s rolling out to Zimbabwe, Mexico, Brazil and beyond. But what exactly is Humaniq and why has it taken space at Canary Wharf’s Level39?
At its most basic level it’s an attempt to bring technology with financial and identification services to the billions worldwide who are below the radar. Those earning tiny incomes in hard to reach locations who aren’t seen as a viable market by the more traditional global banks and institutions.
But instead of hooking that mass of humanity into the foothills of the existing status quo, Humaniq’s idea is for them to leapfrog the models developed nations operate and jump straight to the cryptoeconomy, carrying out transactions in its own cryptocurrency – HMQ which can already be exchanged on a number of sites. It was an idea born of its founder Alex Folk’s exposure to a blizzard of startups.
Executive chairman and co-founder Dimitri Kaminskiy said: “A few years ago, Alex created a huge tech accelerator. In one year, about 100 products went through that – some were blockchain, some were fintech – there were many different types and he absorbed a lot of separate ideas.
“Each of those products had something good about them but the problem was they were separated.
“Eventually the idea came that instead of inventing new technology, there should be some kind of simple assembler. One year ago he started Humaniq and a little later he asked me to support the next stage of it.”
In a nutshell, Humaniq allows those with a basic Android smartphone (available for about $20) to carry out transactions via a mobile app in its cryptocurrency logged via the immutable ledger technology of blockchain, enabling them to participate in the wider economy. It protects its users through the use of a biometric identification process.
Humaniq vice president of business development and investor relations Valerie Zaychuk said: “I fell in love with the idea of helping 3.5billion people in the world.
“The term unbanked is probably the softest description of their lives.
“It is very tough for them. To give them the chance to be registered like normal citizens of the world, to add them into the economy is exciting for all businesses across the globe.
“I think everyone would like to have an extra three billion clients. We will support them in different ways. The Humaniq ecosystem will deliver different products and businesses to support those people.” A nd that’s the crux of Humaniq’s enterprise. While it is starting by offering basic financial services for free, its robust systems are designed to allow businesses access to a vast, untapped chunk of the world’s population. Its model generates income from those firms while users can earn for themselves by working online.
Chief innovation officer Hazem Danny Al Nakib said: “We categorise Humaniq as an engine for social good. What we’re discussing with the governments we are talking to is the application of our technology, our ecosystem to something very, very different – building next generation economies that have a huge digital component almost from the ground up.”
As for Humaniq’s association with Canary Wharf, Hazem sees it as a key component of an organisation that likes to put down roots in many places.
What we’re discussing with governments is the application of our technology to building next generation economies Humaniq’s Hazem Danny Al Nakib
He said: “London is one of the top financial hubs globally. The talent here is fantastic. But also the corridor we have here between London, Oxford and Cambridge, you don’t find that anywhere else.
“That’s incredibly valuable for us because of our operations here, but also in Cambridge, where several months ago we launched an innovation lab. That’s part of the ecosystem of Humaniq, which is there to use the different innovations that are coming out of labs or around novel technologies.”
Dimitri added: “It is best to be somewhere in between Eastern Europe and the US. There is a phrase – data is the new oil. The greatest oil well in the world is Eastern Europe because, by various estimations, there are 500,000 data scientists there. We have an office at Shoreditch too but being at Level39 puts us at the forefront of all fintech interactions.”
Left, vice president business development and investor relations Valerie Zaychuk says she fell in love with the idea of helping 3.5billion people
Above, executive chairman and co-founder Dimitry Kaminskiy believes Humaniq will allow countries to leapfrog to cryptoeconomies
Chief innovation officer Hazem Danny Al Nakib says London benefits hugely from its close links to Oxford and Cambridge