COVID-19 Blockchain Crisis Response - CICs at 500% Growth

Updated: May 12

Since we started using blockchain for Community Inclusion Currencies (CICs) in September 2018 we have seen nearly half a million dollars ($482,000 USD) worth of trade via 154,000 transactions with 19,877 registered users living below or near the poverty line to whom 8.9 Million CIC ($89,000 USD equivalent) tokens have been distributed.

The system works by giving each new user 400 CIC tokens (valued at $4 USD) and rewarding them more each week based on their activity in the network. Donors come in by purchasing the CICs from Women's Savings groups over time and the total amount of CICs that can be created are constrained by a collateral fund currently totaling $40,000 USD.

Since January $26,300 USD from donors have been used via Mpesa (eMoney) to purchase these vouchers 1:1 from chamas (savings groups) and redistribute them to other needy members. These donor injections help peg the value of a CIC to National Currency and give women's groups the ability to purchase things not available in the network. Comparing transaction volume to donor aid since January we see 18.3x the amount of volume compared to the donor aid injected. See our dashboard below:

While that itself seems amazing, what has been truly astounding has been the uptake due to COVID-19. In the past we have seen that CIC usage goes up when National Currency is lacking but never to the extent it has now.

There has been a huge increase in usage since COVID-19 and specifically in Mukuru, Kayaba where we started working with Red Cross on April 6th. In roughly a month, we have seen $95,600 USD worth of transactions on the network with 22,702 transactions via 2,588 users to which 12,700 CIC tokens have been distributed.

$2,780 USD of donor funds have been used via Mpesa (1:1 with National Currency) to purchase back these vouchers from chamas. Comparing transaction volume to donor aid for Kayaba we see 34x the amount of volume compared to injected donor funds. Note that out of the 2,588 registered users in Kayaba 2,072 were registered since April 6th (starting with 516 users). That is a growth of 501.5% since Covid-19.

The photo above is a Kenya Red Cross trained Community Based Disaster Response Team member helping to spread awareness about COVID-19 in Mukuru, while also helping people identify where they can use their CICs to purchase basic commodities like soap, water and food, as well as where those shops can purchase from other shops and service providers in the network to encourage the community to support each other even when National Currency is scarce.