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The Kora platform

Kora is a popular musical instrument in the Western/Eastern region of Africa frequently played in songs of celebration or to pass a message of hope to its listeners. Kora is a project of hope for billions of people who are underserved by the current financial system and are burdened by expensive and inconvenient access to financial services. They are excluded from better solutions due to high costs, lack of proper identity, poor access to banking locations, and mistrust or poor understanding of the banking system. Furthermore, the learning curve of many existing platforms, and reasons such as lack of access to infrastructure like electricity, expensive access to internet, and insuficient capital to afford a smartphone and a steep learning curve. At Kora, they believe that technology should empower instead of displace existing communities and networks in order to reach the understanding and trust needed for massive adoption.

Problems

Access to financial services is uneven and expensive due to five main barriers.

  1. High Cost to Serve. Opening bank branches in rural or remote areas is unprofitable due to high costs such as property fees, staff headcount, and IT infrastructure. To offset these costs, banks charge high fees for account maintenance, ATM withdrawals and money transfers Physical travel is another issue; it can sometimes take more than a day to reach bank branches or ATMs.
  2. Misconception that the Underserved have Little Value. The general perception is that underserved customers would be transacting in “small” amounts. However, PWC estimates that the global unbanked population holds at least $360 billion in unmet deposits in 2016 alone. In addition, a 2016 McKinsey report
    estimates that widespread adoption of financial services through digital finance could result in a $3.2 trillion increase in GDP of all economies by 2025.
  3. Lack of Identification Documents. According to the World Bank, 1.5 billion people worldwide lack any form of valid identification. Official or valid ID for opening a bank account is often difficult to obtain in developing countries.
  4. Lack of Trust and Technological Understanding.Many people without bank accounts perceive banks as unsafe. There still exists a widespread lack of trust in financial technology, including ATM’s and online banking.
  5. Lack of Financial Literacy. They believe that with limited financial literacy, people may be at risk of making poor decisions, including taking loans with interest rates they may not be able to pay, getting involved in pyramid schemes, or paying unreasonably high charges on remittances or foreign exchange mark-ups.

Existing Solutions

There are many groups attempting to solve the five barriers mentioned above. Each has its own approach and they believe each has some shortfalls.

  • Banks continue to account for the majority of financial services worldwide; but do not target the underserved in particular as they are difficult to serve and often lack proper identification.
  • Local ad hoc networks like friends and family, or hawalas, an informal agentbased systems have always existed.
    These arrangements tend to fill gaps in day-to-day life, but may be often inconsistent, unable to scale, and
    cannot be used as a form of credit history.
  • Mobile Money businesses provide a service that brings value through transaction speed, but interoperability,
    both between providers, and between countries, is a major issue. They also hoard data as a proprietary advantage instead of giving ownership back to the customer.
  • Blockchain projects can store and transfer value across borders at enormous scale and low cost. However, a sophisticated understanding of blockchain technology, an expensive smartphone, and costly access to Internet are often required to access such blockchain-based services. As the average underserved person in Africa lives on less than $2 a day, these projects tend to be out of scope for them.

Kora Network Token (KNT)

The native Kora Network token will be referred to as “Kora Network Token” or “KNT” and will be used as the staking unit for selecting block producers, as well as a single medium to pay for costs incurred by the Kora Network. Holding KNT equates to having a partial role in the Kora Network. When users transacts on the Kora Network, they will pay a fee denominated in KNT and set by the validating Block Producer. The Block Producer shares this fee with the holders who voted for them. High transaction fees, which only benefit the block producers and stakers who voted for them, will prevent users from transacting on the Kora Network. The less transactions that occur on the blockchain, the less rewards all block producers and stakers will receive. Thus, KNT holders are incentivized to vote in block producers who keep transaction fees low.

For more information,visit the Website or read the Whitepaper.

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