Cryptocurrencies make headlines for shaking up the financial world, but they are also gaining ground in less developed countries. In Kenya, an American economist, who introduced blockchain technology for low-income urban customers, has extended the cashless system to the countryside.
Will Ruddick, through his Kenyan nonprofit, Grassroots Economics, recently introduced Sarafu coins to rural areas like Kilifi.
Sarafu coins work like vouchers that can be exchanged for goods or services of other users of the currency. Anyone with a Kenyan mobile phone line can enroll. Users are given 50 Sarafu for free. After that, they earn coins by selling a product or service to another user.
Sarafu is what’s known as a community inclusion currency, or CIC, allowing people to give or take credit without having to deposit Kenyan shillings or other currency in a bank, writes Ruud Elmendorp for Voice of America.