Financial inclusion is the process of making the formal financial system available to everyone in the economy. This is the definition of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Global Findex, in a report published in 2017 by the World Bank, says that around 1.7 billion adults globally still do not have an account with a financial institution or mobile money provider. In 2014 that figure was 2 billion.
The same Global Findex report reports that two-thirds of the unbanked have mobile phones.
In developed economies 82% of adults have both a mobile phone and internet access, indicating that they are likely to have access to mobile or app-based online payments.
In developing economies only 40% of adult mobile phone owners have access to both technologies, which for the remainder, results in an impediment to digital financial access, but there are undoubtedly many people who remain to be included.
The acceleration of digital transformation and electronic payments was spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a growing number of fintech companies, i.e. those that provide traditional financial services digitally, without the infrastructure of a traditional bank. Undoubtedly, the contribution of fintech technology has resulted in an improvement in this area.
However, the centralisation of information and the bureaucracy of data to open bank accounts are an obstacle to progress.
Blockchain technology will be key to financial inclusion.
The inherent decentralisation that underpins it allows participation without intermediaries, broadening the horizon of peer-to-peer connections.
This is where microfinance comes in.
Not only banks can provide financial services, lending money or facilitating business transactions, but also businesses and individuals, and they will be in the blockchain ecosystem.
But there are big challenges.
I don’t think governments will stand idly by when faced with decentralised platforms that they can’t access information from.
Whether for tax control, financial regulations, anti-money laundering or anti-terrorism compliance, regulations will be the order of the day.
The big challenge is the regulation that each country employs, which can either encourage adoption or hinder it.
Another big challenge is the computer literacy of people, and that digital platforms are increasingly designed to be intuitive to use.
Although the use of mobile devices has now spread to different generations, with grandparents and grandchildren sharing messages, photos and emails, it is not the same to play with social networking applications where many people make mistakes in their use, as it is to use a cryptocurrency exchange where mistakes translate into lost money.
Cardano is the decentralised platform that can meet both of the above challenges, with a scientific technology designed on the basis of peer-to-peer academic discussions.
Its transparency and traceability of immutable open records allows it to meet the legal requirement of regulators.
Interoperable with non-native tokens, programmable, it allows the possibility of developing user-friendly applications, satisfying simplicity for users.
Mass adoption of crypto-finance is a question of utility but also of government economic policy, as Charles Hoskinson (founder of Cardano) said in one of his A.M.A.’s in 2020, (ask me anything).
The need is there, the technology is there.
Cardano can position itself as a solution for financial inclusion with cryptofinance.