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“The infrastructure for money in much of Latin America remains slow and closed.”

August 3, 2020

Minka is a fintech company born to improve the way Latin Americans use their money. To this end, the company built an open infrastructure with blockchain technology concepts that can be used to move or transfer money. For more information, Cointelegraph spoke in Spanish to Domagoj Rozic, CEO of Minka in Colombia.

Fernando Quirós (FQ): From Minka, they have built a new financial technology infrastructure that is based on blockchain concepts. What do they relate to specifically?

Domagoj Rozic (DR): The infrastructure for money in much of Latin America remains lagging behind, slow and closed. As there is no open infrastructure for financial services, companies have to invest a lot of money, time and resources in issues such as integration and / or transaction management, which is not possible. Through our platform, these companies can create their financial products in just a few daysinstead of years.

“The infrastructure for money in much of Latin America remains slow and closed.”“The infrastructure for money in much of Latin America remains slow and closed.”

By using blockchain technology concepts, we shorten the integration time through asymmetric cryptography to secure the message and only care about the integration channel. On the other hand, by keeping transfers in a public blockchain like Bitcoin, we can ensure a public review and immutability of transactions.

CF: What potential do fintech companies have in Latin America?

DR: The potential is huge. Fintech companies solve problems with access to financial services, which is very limited in Latin America. Thanks to the solutions offered by the fintech ecosystem, millions of people and companies have access to basic financial services such as deposit management, financing and payments.

Similarly, fintech companies have formed alliances or synergies with large corporations and traditional financial firms that have had positive results in product development, new technology implementation, and process improvement. Latin America is an ideal market that will continue to benefit from these technological advances in the financial ecosystem, but is still taking the first steps.

FQ: What solution does Minka offer in Latin America?

DR: Minka was born with the goal of improving the way Latin Americans deal with money. Therefore, We are building a new and unique infrastructure with which you can move or transfer money in real time, safely and at low cost. We are a cloud of financial services that connects the traditional banking system to the webFinancial products can be created in days instead of years. The components of our platform act as Lego blocks in the cloud that can be combined and adapted to create new financial services.

These laypersons enable the management of balances in the cloud and the exchange with the traditional financial system. With these components, our customers have developed solutions that range from real-time clearing houses (ACHs) to digital local currencies.

In fact, products like Transfiya (in collaboration with ACH Colombia) have been developed through the Minka platform that enable real-time interbank transfers between people using only the mobile phone number. It is the largest real-time payment project in the region as the 27 banks in Colombia participate through ACH Colombia.

CF: How and when did Minka come into being?

DR: Minka was founded in 2017 when we found that something was wrong with payments in Latin America. We can send an SMS from Colombia to Europe free of charge and with just one number. However, to send five thousand pesos to a neighbor, you need several personal details. Wait about a day or two and one owes the bank money. From this problem, Minka’s idea was born We had to create a new infrastructure for money. There was a lot of talk about blockchain at the time when the idea to found the company came up, but there were few companies that were really innovative in this aspect and solved real or difficult problems. That’s why we decided to face this big problem and build a new infrastructure that allows us to develop financial products that can move money easily, quickly, securely and at low cost.

FQ: What potential do you see for blockchain technology?

DR: In the late 1980s (when I was a child) I asked my parents for a device to connect to the Internet. When I configured it, they asked me what it is for and the only thing I can answer is that it is not at all for the time being, but that I imagine what can be done. They didn’t like the answer very much, but it’s the same answer I have about the blockchain.

We have seen two major technological revolutions: the Internet and mobile technology. The Internet changed the way we interact with information using a simple protocol (TCP / IP). This enabled the creation of new technological giants like Amazon, Google or Facebook. On the other hand, with another simple protocol, the mobile revolution made it possible for us to access this information anywhere and made it easier for companies like WeChat or Uber to start up.

The third technological revolution began in 2008 with the release of Bitcoin paper, the results of which we still have to see.

FQ: What potential do you see for Bitcoin?

DR: The current use case for Bitcoin is said to be an alternative to the government’s monopoly on money. Bitcoin stands for money that is decentralized, resistant to censorship and not the last compensation. It is a very powerful use case, but not the only one, and people forget that it is a protocol and also a platform. I see bitcoin is more than internet money. I see it as the foundation on which we will see new use cases that will change the industry.

CF: There are many people without bank details. What do you think it is?

DR: It is true that a large part of the population of Latin America has no access to financial services and lives day after day without the possibility of making or receiving electronic payments. It’s a bit complex because these people are invisible to the financial system and their only option is to opt for informal services, such as drop-drop loans, that leave them caught in a cycle of poverty and with no growth opportunities.

We live in times when big tech companies built on ideas to democratize information changed the way we communicate, move, connect, and even learn. In much of Latin America, however, financial infrastructure remains slow, slow, and designed to serve only the most fortunate.

It’s one of the main reasons why there is little bank penetration and exactly We are working on it and creating an ecosystem in which new actors can participate and connect (interoperability) to provide financial services that are tailored to current needs and to enable low-cost, real-time transfers. We are working to create new infrastructures that will enable financial services to be democratized so that they are accessible to everyone.

For example, in countries such as India, China, or Kenya, the simple fact of being able to make and receive instant and inexpensive electronic payments has improved the quality of life of millions of people because people’s well-being has been financially included reduce poverty, increase productivity and have a positive impact on the macro-economy of countries.

CF: Technology is meant to promote inclusion, but don’t you think financial education is needed?

DR: It is a common topic. Thanks to the technology and its continuous development, there are more opportunities to access basic financial services such as bank accounts or loans, so that people can develop on a personal level. However, It is also necessary for these advances to go hand in hand with financial education or a simple process that enables people not only to learn how to use products or services, But to make the right decision, to avoid fraud and to demand new services from the industry according to your needs and even participate in creating them.

Financial education is without a doubt the key to acceptance and good use of financial products. For this reason, it must evolve and advance as fast as technological advances in the industry to ensure true financial inclusion.

CF: Where does the name Minka come from?

DR: The name Minka comes from a Quechua word that means colabo collaboration for the benefit of the community. ” Taking into account the fact that the creation of a new infrastructure requires the participation of the entire ecosystem, we work in a minka with the main local and global players in the financial sector such as ACH Colombia, other fintechs and “big tech” companies like Google and Infobip. We also invite the various companies that are part of the ecosystem to join this Minka. The web has changed the way we access and interact with information. Minka does the same for money.

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