Ebay Philanthropist Funds ‘Cryptocomplex’ Cash for Central Banks
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Central banks around the world say they want to drive financial inclusion, especially since telecoms operators have provided them with an object lesson in how this can be done with digital money.
With this in mind, a little known company called eCurrency Mint (eCM) has emerged from the bushes with an announcement that it has received funding from philanthropic investment vehicle Omidyar Network, for a technology that will allow central banks to issue digital legal tender.
Omidyar Network was established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and the undisclosed lead investment is part of the fund’s financial inclusion mandate. eCurrency Mint says it has been honing its breakthrough, dubbed “cryptocomplex” cash, with 30 central banks; two of them are about to make their own announcements about a deployment. This is going to happen early in 2016, eCM CEO Jonathan Dharmapalan assured IBTimes UK.
The success of services such as Safaricom’s M-Pesa has vitiated a big bet on the digitisation of retail financial services front end, which has support from the World Bank, the G20 and UN. And while the Central Bank of Kenya courageously championed mobile money, central banks in other regions have not been so magnanimous when it comes to telcos controlling finance.
India, for example, was uncomfortable with it and went through the entire process of creating a specialised banking licence to allow it. There have also been breaches of mobile money, most notably in Uganda.
Tilman Ehrbeck, a partner at Omidyar Network, told IBTimes UK: “Central bankers around the world took notice and they said on the one hand we like financial inclusion via mobile money, but on the other hand we are concerned about essentially letting non-banks become electronic money issuers.