Arcadia enables NGOs to provide peer-to-peer financial services to refugees without requiring partnerships with financial institutions or navigating of cumbersome regulatory landscapes.
DEMO: Developed partial functionality of the platform, including creation and user interface for an Ethereum wallet, escrow contracts, and the basics of a P2P exchange. Some functionality is still missing before the demo can be considered at alpha stage ready for external testing. Prior to the demo, market studies including interviewing several NGOs to understand the scope, magnitude, and nuances of the problem of financial exclusion of refugees in European countries like Switzerland have been done. These interviews have informed our product design. We are now at the stage where we are showing our current functionality/demo to other organizations to validate the solution and product design.
financial inclusion, inequality of opportunity/equity, community integration
Yes. Although we have not released the product yet to enable us to measure correct numbers, we can quantify the impact at several levels: Although we have ideas and mechanisms for measuring the impact of our project, we are unable to quantify the impact until our product can be tested with a pilot set of users. Ultimately, we believe the impact to be substantial for every single platform user (whether they be a refugee, an external donor, a product or service provider, or an NGO). Assuming a 10% market penetration rate and a purely European market, this is an estimate of around 33,000 refugee users per year (estimate based on average number of refugees arriving in Europe per year). We estimate a user base of donors that can be up to an order of magnitude larger than the refugee user base.
Refugees arriving in many countries in Europe are denied access to basic financial services traditionally provided by banks due to their inability to provide official proof of residence or ID.
Peer to Peer transactions, Smart contract capability which allows distributed, trustless, enforced services like micro-loans, micro-insurance, multisig wallets, spending limits, multiple payees and beneficiaries, etc. (i.e. Ethereum). Blockchain philosophy and governing principles: trust, transparency, accountability, community. It is possible our project could also be successful without blockchain, however it would more difficult. The reasons for these are that with a centralized database and centralized management of user accounts, our project would be subject to a different set of regulations and licenses that have up to now only been within the reach of established banks and institutions, which, so far, have not chosen to address refugee financial inclusion as a market priority.
We also have a team of 6 volunteers including graduates from MIT and Harvard University helping us with market studies and general product development. We have a network of mentors advising us in aspects of corporate, financial, and refugee law as well as large NGO governance and procedures. We are also currently participating in Hatch CoLab, a Geneva-based social impact incubator.
Elisa Pasquali https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisa-pasquali-5b5ba8/ CEO, fulltime
Anca Zamfir https://www.linkedin.com/in/anca-zamfir-6508a3/ CTO/Blockchain, part-time
We have won some prizes amounting to around 20k in prize money so far, but we are otherwise self-funded.