Rural communities are adopting blockchain based community currencies at an astounding pace! 100+ new users in one day represents nearly half the heads of households in one village. Women are the main users and have been leading their communities in using the blockchain as much as 4 times a day for their basic needs – water, food, school and fuel. With nearly 2,000 blockchain wallets created in underserved communities so far in Kenya and over 11,000 transactions using feature phones with no internet - the excitement is tangible. Something very fundamental about these economies is starting to change.
The Miyani community, categorized as food insecure for over 10 years has had every development intervention thrown at it by dozens of NGOs including WFP and Red Cross. A group of farmers in Miyani began developing methodology and using Community Currencies in late 2018 and have grown their network to cover their entire village (showing tremendous change to food consumption and collective work for food security) and have spread into all their neighboring villages.
So far 2 new Community Currencies have started in the nearby regional markets of Mnyenzeni and Mkayeni and as more and more communities adopt these currencies local groups will be able to create their own – creating a decentralized economic network. This is enabling people to trade their goods and services even when there is no National Currency. Farmers are able to get community support for preparing their lands for rains and women are able to send their kids to school and support one another without scarce Kenyan Shillings.
In the past, traditional aid organizations and development programs have failed to address the fundamental problems plaguing the economic infrastructure of marginalized communities across the world. Pumping typical aid into these economies often exacerbates unsustainable food systems and market dynamics by reinforcing the existing economic structure. The bulk of the aid flows out of the community too quickly to provide lasting impact and key resources & community members remain largely underutilized.
These communities have developed a scalable solution based on blockchain enabled community currencies which has been shown to incentivize resilient local markets and promote regional food security. We are proud to be part of this story and are excited to see where these indigenous solutions lead us!