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How to really bank the unbanked
Banking
How to really bank the unbanked
Sandi Bitenc
Sandi Bitenc
May 27, 2022
3 min

Banking the unbanked has been a cryptocurrency mission since the conception of Bitcoin in 2008. It was Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision to disrupt and circumvent the banking system and to provide alternative payment methods for billions of unbanked.

In the meantime, many advancements have happened and countries such as El-Salvador made the bold step in playing out Satoshi’s vision in full. Millions of people are using DeFi services on a daily basis, but let’s be honest, almost all of them had a bank account and a credit card before they started using any of these services.

There are still more people not using the internet than there are people without a bank account, and they mostly overlap. Currently around 1.7 billion people are still unbanked in the world. The great majority lives in developing countries and tends to also be unconnected. There are less than 5 billion people using the internet currently, meaning around 3 billion are still unconnected.

This is why you cannot bank the unbanked without connecting the unconnected.

3air is focused on emerging economies

Providing broadband internet to the unconnected

To really bank the unbanked, you first need to connect them to the internet. This is the most important and hardest part to solve as the broadband infrastructure is almost nonexistent in these places of the world. Before 3air, all intentions of banking the unbanked have been futile as blockchain and crypto tend not to work without a good internet connection.

3air provides the much-needed broadband internet access through 2 technologies. K3 Last Mile solution and the 3air Mesh network.

Digital Identities

Once we connect you as a new user, we immediately issue you a Digital Identity. A DID is something that will help you keep your personal information in a privacy-enabled and easily verifiable environment. Without a provable identity, we still cannot take ownership of a majority of real-life things and information. Although DeFi currently works without any need for identification and provable credit records, it still lack lacks some CeFi services such as undercollateralized loans or mortgages. Identities continue to be the cornerstones of civilization and they are not going away anytime soon. DIDs are the evolution of identification.

Custodial and Non-custodial Wallets

The next step in banking is providing a “Digital Account”, meaning getting you a wallet. Not everyone is used to taking care of their funds from the start. A lot of education needs to be done to keep private keys from being forgotten and funds being lost or stolen. 3air will provide the needed education but also a custodial wallet solution for its users. Once the user is ready, he can switch to another wallet of his choice and start taking care of his own private keys.

Providing Digital Financial Services

With your new broadband internet and a Digital ID, you can now start taking part in the provided financial services. Swapping from one coin to another is the basis, but first you need to get your money digitalized and onto the blockchain. 3air will feature a full FIAT onboarding and offloading ramp with bank transfers and credit card payments, but let’s be honest, if you are unconnected and unbanked, you probably don’t have any of these. Because of that, there needs to be another solution that is often overlooked by everyone wanting to ‘bank the unbanked’.

Dealing with cash

To truly bank the unbanked, there is no way around accepting cash payments and crediting a crypto wallet. There are some projects currently testing solutions that allow just that with Peer-2-Peer (P2P) transfers. The method is simple and ingenious at the same time, and it effectively solves the FIAT onboarding issue.

Once you have your funds on the blockchain, there will be staking and other yield generating opportunities that replace and offer users far more than a usual savings account. You will be able to take limited loans and start to build your credit line.

New revenue streams

In the last step, we offer you additional services that will generate income streams. The most popular ones currently are Play-2-Earn games, but there are other system emerging that allow you to earn while you learn (Learn-2-Earn) or for creating and engaging in a community, called SocialFi. There are new revenue models emerging and tend for a broader inclusion in the global economy.

With this we round up the process with continuous education to further empower each and every person and eradicate poverty. We at 3air strongly believe internet and blockchain have the potential for it!


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Sandi Bitenc

CEO @ 3air

CEO at 3air. Serial entrepreneur with a passion for blockchain and crypto. Expert on investor relations and tokenomics. World record holder in 24-hour apnea freediving!

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