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盖茨基金会携手Fintech创企推出银行开源软件Mojaloop

如今,移动银行系统日益普及,一些金融科技创企开始携手比尔及梅林达·盖茨基金会,积极开发发展中国家无银行账户人士市场。

比如,五家创企近日就与盖茨基金会联合开发了一款名为"Mojaloop"的免费开源银行软件。其中就包括支付企业Dwolla与位于旧金山的区块链网络企业Ripple。

Mojaloop得名于斯瓦希里语的"moja",意为"一"。Mojaloop采用的技术名为跨账本协议(Interledger Protocol),可使金融服务提供者跨系统进行资金结算。该软件旨在提升金融机构与移动支付平台间的互用性,从而辐射亚非等地为充分享受银行服务或无银行账户人士。世界银行统计数据显示,目前无银行账户人士约有20亿,仅比2011年下降了20%。

盖茨基金会扶贫金融全球副主任Kosta Peric表示,这些人士没有银行账户是因为他们通常离传统银行分行或ATM较远,传统银行也缺乏完备的实施为其提供服务。同时Peric还指出,许多企业并不愿意投资服务贫困人群与可能无法产生巨大收益的技术。

越来越多的消费者转而使用数字钱包管理资产,所以说,Mojaloop的出现也算是应运而生。上周,在线支付与转账领军企业、支付巨头PayPal按市值计算已超过了美国运通公司。皮尤研究中心近期调查显示,近半数的美国人使用移动应用支付账单、购买商品、收支汇款。发展中国家智能手机使用率激增,移动银行采用率也水涨船高:皮尤研究中心还发现,印度约有55%的人群目前使用手机购买金融产品。

尽管数字银行软件近年来数量激增,美国和欧洲尤甚,但此类产品并不一定适用于国外金融机构,因此将数十亿潜在用户拒之门外。例如,在肯尼亚,数字银行创企M-Pesa助力近20万人摆脱贫困,但其邻国卢旺达、乌干达等国尚未使用该软件。

盖茨基金会的Peric指出,目前虽有其他系统在行(如孟加拉国的"Bkash"),但这些系统不论是相互之间还是与金融机构均不兼容。Peric认为,(Mojaloop开启的下一轮创新在于,人们不仅可连接移动银行系统,还可与传统银行互通。"

坦桑尼亚银行行长Benno Ndulu在一份备稿声明中解释道:"互用性对普惠金融及市场成熟度均不可或缺,实现起来却较为复杂。但其可简化企业与政府潜力,提升金融覆盖速率,因此我们非常高兴能探索其实施途径。"

As mobile banking systems become increasingly popular, some fintech startups have partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reach the underbanked in developing nations.

Dwolla, a Des Moines payments network, and Ripple, a blockchain network based in San Francisco, were among five companies that recently worked with the Seattle organization to develop a free, open-source banking code called "Mojaloop," which was released Monday. (The companies were compensated for the effort, though the foundation declined to offer specific numbers.)

The code--named after the Swahili word 'moja,' meaning 'one'--aims to increase interoperability between financial institutions and mobile payments platforms, thereby reaching more of the underbanked and unbanked in areas such as Africa and Asia. At present, some 2 billion people lack access to bank accounts, according to World Bank data, a figure just 20 percent lower than in 2011.

"The reason these people are unbanked is that typically they are remote from any traditional banking branches or ATMs, [and] traditional banks are not well equipped to serve them," explained Kosta Peric, the foundation's deputy director of Financial Services for the Poor, in a phone call with Inc. At the same time, he suggests, many businesses are reluctant to invest in technology that serves the poorer segments of the population and might not produce large returns.

Mojaloop comes as a growing number of consumers turn to digital wallets as a way to manage funds. Just last week, the payments giant PayPal--which spearheaded online payments and money transfers--surpassed American Express in terms of market value. Nearly half of the U.S. population uses apps to pay bills, make purchases, and send or receive remittances, according to recent Pew research. And as smartphone adoption surges in the developing world, so, too, does mobile banking: Roughly 55 percent of people in India currently use phones to purchase financial products, additional Pew research found.

While digital banking software has proliferated in recent years--particularly in the U.S. and Europe--those products are not always compatible with foreign financial institutions, thus cutting off access to billions of potential customers. In Kenya, for instance, the digital banking startup M-Pesa has helped to lift nearly 200,000 customers from poverty--though it has yet to be adopted in some neighboring countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.

Peric at the Gates Foundation notes that while there are some alternative systems in place--such as the Bangladeshi 'Bkash'--those systems tend to be incompatible, both with each other, and with financial institutions. "The next wave of innovation that this [Mojaloop] unlocks is that now you can connect not only the mobile money systems but also the traditional banks," he says.

In particular, the Mojaloop code leverages a technology called Interledger Protocol, which lets financial providers settle funds across different individual systems.

"Interoperability is necessary both for financial inclusion and market maturity, but it is a complex thing to achieve," explained Benno Ndulu, governor of the Bank of Tanzania, in a prepared statement. "We are excited to explore implementation of this because of how it can simplify that capability for businesses and governments, and speed up access to financial services."


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