Social welfare payments in Singapore, microinsurance services for women in the developing world, disaster relief in the US, and a means to put people in control of their own data. These are just a few of the applications being enabled by the technology platform developed by 2018 Irish Times Innovation Award winner Aid:Tech.
The company’s blockchain-based decentralised digital identity and interoperable digital identity protocol enables digital assets to be delivered in a completely transparent manner. AID:Tech was the first company in the world to deliver international aid using blockchain technology and digital identity when it worked with the Irish Red Cross on the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015.
Earlier this month Aid:tech announced its involvement in what will be the world's largest blockchain project to date. The company has joined forces with Women's World Banking and Binance Charity Foundation to design new technology platform to ramp up the Caregiver microinsurance product in Africa.
Caregiver is a simple, affordable microinsurance product that provides life protection and a cash benefit after someone is sent to hospital, including for maternal health, that customers can use for a range of needs, including for lost wages or having to close their businesses. Unlike traditional medical insurance in which the insurance plan reimburses for the cost of medical treatment and the money goes to the provider, Caregiver pays cash directly to the claimant.
Women’s World Banking designs and invests in the financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families and their communities.
Power of blockchain
Founded by cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Binance Charity Foundation is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to achieving global sustainable development by utilising the power of blockchain.
One of the biggest barriers to date to scaling the Caregiver product has been the lack of a secure technology platform for its delivery. "Financial service providers offering microinsurance directly to customers often do not have the systems in place to effectively deliver microinsurance and monitor performance," explains Aid:Tech chief operating officer Niall Dennehy. "Time, resources and expenses are required to build a system that works for financial service providers and delivers a successful client experience."
We did some research with a top auditing company in the US and we found that the average American citizen has $2,500 worth of personal data which they don't exploit
The Aid:Tech solution will eventually be used to serve 2 million uninsured and underinsured women in more than 10 emerging markets in Africa.
“This is a major step forward for us,” says Dennehy. “This partnership will enable us to deliver microinsurance at scale, while at the same time allowing the women to own, manage and eventually monetise their own identity metadata. We believe in a world where people decide how their data should be used and want to build social and financial inclusion via digital identity. Without the vision shown by Women’s World Banking none of this would be possible.”
Aid:Tech's technology is also being used to support disaster relief operations in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. "The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now using the platform," Dennehy adds. "Our co-founder Joe Thompson won a Charles Schwab Social Entrepreneurship Award recently for our work in the US and elsewhere."
Singapore is another growth market for the company. "We are going to open an office there in the early part of next year," he continues. "We are extending the platform into welfare payments in Singapore. We are working with the Department of Social and Family Development and MasterCard to make the whole system more secure and transparent."
It will work on the same basis as the company’s original TraceDonate system. “We are securing the last mile for charity donations,” Dennehy explains. “Our system give donors information on where their donation goes, when it has been received, who has received it, and how it has been spent.”
He is particularly excited about the use of the technology for personal data management. “We are going to launch an app for this in the second quarter of 2020,” he continues. “It’s quite a topical subject at the moment. We did some research with a top auditing company in the US and we found that the average American citizen has $2,500 worth of personal data which they don’t exploit. We are developing a technology platform which will allow them to manage, control and monetise this data. That’s much better than giving it away and allowing others to exploit it.”