Banks and private industry have gone hog-wild for blockchain technology, now that they understand what all the Bitcoin fuss is about. It only took them six years to catch on. Now, nation-states are catching onto the benefits of the Blockchain, at an even faster pace, starting with Africa’s Tunisia. Tunisia has just agreed to become the first nation to offer its national currency for transmittance through cryptographic technology.
Nestled on the northern African coast between Libya to the east and Algeria to the west, south of the Mediterranean Sea and Italy, Tunisia supports over 10 million citizens. Africa has seen many national payment advancements that trump many of the world’s best from Western culture. M-Pesa began the movement in Kenya starting in 2007, changing how business is done as far south as South Africa. BitPesa has brought Bitcoin to thousands of African in four countries, and now Monetas has brought the blockchain to Tunisia’s Dinar.
“We believe that mobile financial services are rapidly growing in the region, and Monetas software grants individuals with economic freedom and prosperity through the use of a transaction platform that is magnitudes cheaper than any alternative, interoperable across mobile networks, and can process new financial tools,” says Monetas CEO Johann Gevers to TechMoran.
Monetas may be somewhat analogous to ConsensYs in the Bitcoin space. They just partnered with Microsoft in launching a new cloud-based blockchain platform for large financial institutions to use for experimentation with the new technology. Monetas claims to offer notary public-like protection for this new platform’s transactions, and describes a Bitcoin-like system, save for the mining aspect since the currency is not created internally. Gevers goes on to explain what Tunisian’s can expect from the Monetas system in 2016.
“The Monetas deployment in Tunisia is the first application for a full ecosystem of digital payments. With the La Poste Tunisienne Android application powered by Monetas, Tunisians can use their smartphones to make instant mobile money transfers, pay for goods and services online and in person, send
remittance, pay salaries and bills, and manage official government identification documents.”
Tunisia already has a form of electronic fiat currency known as the eDinar in use through the Tunisian Post. 90% of the adults in Tunisia with a bank account have one through the Tunisian Post while over 3 million Tunisian adults have no banking relationship. The nation’s leaders in government and industry want to improve this, and the partnership with Monetas aims to bring all of the objectives together through the blockchain’s technology. There are over 600k people who will be transitioned to the new system through Tunisian Post shortly, in association with the national government and La Poste Tunisian (LPT).
It does not seem that Bitcoin has a future within this national system, and in many nations, Bitcoin is neither legal nor illegal. Not being a currency approved or sanctioned by the nation’s central bank or national government does not bode well, at least through Monetas. Gevers says he is working on bringing a similar system to “12 markets”, which may or may not be full nation-states, in 2016, affecting up to 300 million people.
With countries like Iceland shutting down corrupt naps, putting bankers in jail, and giving the proceeds to its citizens, and major national projects like this. There are reasons to hope for a more inclusive and technologically advanced economic future. At least on a smaller scale, some nations are willing to step into a global leadership role, and not follow the lead of failing economies and systems that have little use in the 21st century, unless the oppression of national debt is your ultimate goal.