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Exclusive: Digital wallets for underbanked ripe for business

An ambitious fintech blockchain project aims to become the ultimate digital wallet to provide free access to financial services for the underbanked, unbanked, individuals and underserved SMEs.

Denarii Solutions Corporation, founded in 2017, is a corporation registered in Manila, Philippines, fulfilling a crucial role in the UAE, for travelers to the Philippines and those transferring money there.

The service is structured in such a way as to create ample business opportunities for any person, company, or digital developer that taps into Denarii cash.

With 13 years in the corporate world, working at Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Media Group, Jon Edward Santillan, founder, is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record for effectively achieving revenue goals and applying a strong expertise in data-driven, long-term strategies for international brands, and products.

Jon Santillan

The following is an exclusive interview that explains the concept and provides insights into the business rationale and ways for third-party providers to connect to a unique database of users.

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What is Denarii Cash and how does it work?

Denarii cash is a peer-to-peer blockchain payment wallet service (“Denarii Cash Wallet”) for smartphones, available via an app on Android and iOS devices. The service uses Horizon, a client-facing API server for the Stellar Network and smart contracts powered by Ethereum and an underlying blockchain technology to store digital cash deposits and facilitate digital cash transfers between any two smartphones.

In 2017, Jon noticed  that people traveling to certain parts of the Philippines were not able to use credit or debit cards, because there were no ATMs to convert credit into cash.

In February that year, that led to the creation to Cash Points, an opportunity that is still part of Denarii Cash, allowing individuals or businesses to operate as a local ATM for the local community using a cash-app through a smartphone, and providing safe and secure access to cash and earn extra income from each transaction as service providers.

“Around August last year, I was exposed through my private development company to the blockchain, so I went to Dubai and started developing the product we call today Denarii Cash,” Jon told AMEinfo.

“This is mainly a service for people sending money to the Philippines. We looked at the market and saw a lot of people increase remittances to the Philippines, and we could see traction from helping workers to send that money.”

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Denarii Cash can exchange money almost instantly to 15+ currencies.

Users can deposit, withdraw, and transfer funds using a digital cash wallet stored directly on the device via “Cashpoint,” which are often described as “human local ATM machines” for the local community. This cashpoint partner can be an individual or the businesses that dispense cash in return for cryptocurrency credit and token as a reward.

Is the solution working?

Denarii Cash performance

Transferring money, gaining access to financial services, and accessing credit across international borders is complicated, time-consuming and expensive, says Jon.

When transferring using traditional systems, one usually has to stand in from long lines, suffer exchange rate losses, and fill lengthy paperwork.

In general, Denarii Cash allows individual users to convert their paper-, or digital fiat-currencies to Bitcoins, locking in the price for 120 seconds, then reversing it from Bitcoin to desired fiat on arrival to destination, all using the Stellar network to transact, providing a transparent, and liquid environment and a cheaper way of sending money.

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“Stellar provides us a better transaction fee at 0.001 cents per operation through blockchain, at a fast 2-5 seconds per,” said Jon.

“So far, we are still in the early phase, but as far as sending money, our model shows 2.8 million (Philippino) pesos (1 peso = $0.01846) in volume per month, and we can grow that on a month to month basis.”

Since launching the service in April, over $280,000 in volume has been sent from the UAE to the Philippines using Bitcoin, through a partner company that provides the digital currency for Denarii.

Opportunity for unbanked/underbanked

Denarii Cash was formed early last year with the vision to provide a decentralized alternative financial service to the underbanked individuals and underserved SME’s with a solution to expand the frontiers of traditional financing.

Jon said that in the UAE, many of those who earn below AED5000 are underbanked or even unbanked

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Denarii Cash, said in a whitepaper, that its primary market is the Middle East and North Africa where 86% of adult individuals have insufficient to no access to banks or any financial institutions, and with 63% of the population being unique mobile subscribers.

“Additionally, it’s where $51 billion remittance outflows and $65 billion remittance inflows to ASIA are reported. SME lending stands at half of the global average with 8% of credit lending by banks across MENA, compared to 18% in middle-income countries globally,” said the Denarii whitepaper.

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Denarii cash is a 3rd party money-maker

Denarii Cash Wallet Platform as a core will enable additional third-party blockchain applications such as micro-lending, loyalty, wealth management, crypto fund, marketplace and more to create and develop on top of the Denarii Cash Wallet Platform by empowering and incentivizing developers to connect their third-party DApp using Denarii Core on top of the Denarii Cash Wallet.

“My vision is that any third party application can hook or upload their services using the Denarii cash wallet, enabling these companies to offer for example blockchain insurance, or blockchain lending, thus tapping into a unique audience that is inaccessible to regular banks and insurance companies due to target customers being unbanked or underbanked,” Jon explained.