Gates Foundation Brings Ripple And Coil On Board To Reach Out To Unbanked People

By Rushali Shome

It has been confirmed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with San Francisco-based blockchain company Coil in order to improve and enhance access to banking and other financial services to communities who lack these privileges. While Miller Abel, the deputy director of the Foundation had originally made the announcement of this collaboration, Coil also soon confirmed the report and retweeted Abel’s post. This blockchain startup that the Gates Foundation has chosen to work with was founded by Stefan Thomas, who earlier worked as chief technology officer of Ripple. Thomas founded Coil with a vision to diversify blockchain’s potential.

Besides applying the Interledger Protocol of Ripple, this project seeks to explore avenues to utilize the MojaLoop technology, an open source payment tech, for responding to the needs of poor and unbanked people. The term MojaLoop has been derived from the word Moja, which, in Swahili, means “one”. Ripple has not been the only company to have attempted to develop specialized technologies meant for the poorer communities. Companies developing payment systems for these groups include Software Group, Dwolla, ModusBox and Crosslake Technologies.

MojaLoop has been specially designed to handle the problem of interoperability which is so common when it comes to ensuring greater financial inclusion. Gates Foundation had earlier quoted World Bank statistic to highlight how almost 2 billion people spread across developing nations missed out on being able to access bank accounts. As a result they also couldn’t enjoy the absolute basic financial services that comes with having a bank account.

Ripple has been involved in more similar philanthropic projects. In September this year, they announced the launch of the “Ripple for Good” social impact programme. Having garnered over $100 million in donation, this programme is slated to target the same unbanked people Coil is trying to target.

Rushali Shome

Rushali Shome is a history undergraduate with a keen interest in puns, politics and beyond. When not typing away furiously in the “Notes” section of her phone, she can be found trying to catch the eye of servers at restaurants or weddings for a second helping.

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