PNG’s Blockchain initiative to bring unique banking for their citizens
Papua New Guinea is making an attempt to know how blockchain can be useful to address their country’s economic problems.
The governor of Bank of Papua New Guinea has been active about Blockchain tests going on. The attempts are being done in partnership with PNG Governance Facility (funded by Australian government) and Abt Associates organization.
Abt Associates undertakes initiatives for poverty relief. Abt Associates have shared their opinion about the population in Papua New Guinea. They feel maximum population has no proper access to banking. Although mobile phone penetration is almost 50%. Thus it makes Blockchain as a possible solution for people with less access to financial services.
Jane Thomason, Chief Executive of Abt Associates-Australia stated, “Some of it is noise and some real, but the big proponent of blockchain is actually the Bank of PNG. The governor is interested in financial inclusion and 85% of the population are ‘unbanked’, so he has been keen to try and examine how blockchain is going to help them with the issue.”
Furthermore, Bank of Papua New Guinea also finds blockchain as an ideal solution in cooperation with Abt Associates. Australian government is working for a project whose mission is to create inexpensive solar-powered digital fingerprint device. This device will provide power to blockchain-based banking.
As sources report, the device will upload the individual’s biometric data on the blockchain based banking system. This in turn will help the individual to withdraw cash without internet or power.
The solar-powered digital fingerprint device created by IDbox will depend on an “individual’s access to a basic analog mobile phone and has the potential to work in areas where there is no electricity, no internet and no smartphones.”
Thomason stated, “We have taken that to the point where there is a working prototype, it’s been demonstrated that it can work. There is an interest, but whether there is funding or not is to be determined. The bank would like to roll it out into a much bigger pilot.”
Abt Associates also feels that certain problems can be reduced with the help of blockchain for e.g. legal identities, land registration and digitization of assets through smart contracts.
Thomason further added, “PNG is also leading discussions on how to breach the digital divide among APEC economies. They are trying to see if this is something that can solve some of the pretty big problems surrounding lack of connectivity.”