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Pitch

A mobile phone-based automated crop insurance smart contract that protects farmers against droughts, floods and tropical cyclones.


Description

Summary

BITKwacha is a blockchain-based mobile wallet offering an automated crop insurance smart contract for smallholder farmers that protects them against droughts, floods and tropical cyclones. The wallet enables farmers to pay premiums and automatically receive a benefit when the weather in their location exceeds certain limits within a given timeframe.

  • Big Opportunity: Resegmenting existing $150B sub-Sahara Africa electronic payments market as a disruptive and sustaining player
  • Strong Team: Deep market/technology/execution experience
  • Sustainable Technology Advantage: Proprietary tokens and smart contracts
  • Significant Traction: Working prototype/customer discovery/customer validation
  • Seeking $50,000 to launch the company and v1.0 Wallet
  • SDGs:
    • No poverty (#1)
    • Zero hunger (#2)
    • Good health and well-being (#3)
    • Climate Action (#13)
    • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (#9)


What actions do you propose?

PROBLEM

When it comes to getting crop insurance, paying online for goods or services, utility bill payments, property rates, or fast money transfers, you want to have it in one place and not have to go through the trouble of entering your account or payment card details each time you want to perform a transaction. You would also like to pay fewer commissions on your transactions.

In unbanked regions, people want to make online purchases and transfers but have only cash.

SOLUTION

BITKwacha provides a digital wallet and smart contracts on a decentralized global network as a low-cost tool for any farmer to store money and pay for a wide range of goods and services including automated climate-smart insurance for specific crops; make cheap peer-to-peer transfers, access loyalty programs in local agro stores and track expenses:

  1. Users download the BITKwacha smartphone app and create a wallet(s).
  2. User can top-up the wallet using different payment methods (crypto-exchange, payment cards, bank transfer, crypto-ATM and payment kiosk).
  3. User can make transfers from her wallet to another user.
  4. Users can purchase goods and pay for services with their wallet
  5. User can withdraw funds from her wallet via different methods (to a card, to a bank account, through cash agent and ATM).

PRODUCT

BITKwacha is built on top of the Ethereuem blockchain. It uses some powerful digital wallet features that include:

  • Ability to execute a crop insurance smart contract on the blockchain with information about the weather automatically fed into the program.
  • Single electronic interface to all agricultural insurance service providers.
  • Geo-location of farmers, agro dealers and cash agents.
  • Multi-currency accounts including crypto-currencies e.g.: BITKwacha, Ethereum and Bitcoin.
  • Ability to top-up account with cash through cash agents or payment kiosks
  • Ability to manage commissions for all types of transactions
  • Integration of popular service providers to pay for airtime, electricity, water, insurance premiums, government subsidies, etc.
  • Merchant payments.

BUSINESS MODEL

BITKwacha derives revenue from transaction fees and service fees. It also includes local merchants in the process as ‘agents’, allowing consumers to withdraw cash at agent locations or have an agent follow them to their location:

  • No charge for depositing.
  • A sliding tariff is levied on money sent and withdrawn. Each transaction is subject to a nominal transaction fee.

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

Africa has the potential to become the world’s food basket. The agricultural sector in Zambia contributed 8.5% to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. The Central Statistical Office of Zambia estimates that 49% of Zambians depend on agriculture for their livelihood and employment. According to the Crop Forecast Survey of 2016, Zambian agriculture consisted of approximately 1.47 million smallholder farming families (less than 20ha). The combined number of medium (20 – 100ha) and large scale farmers (more than 100ha) make up approximately 3,000 farmers.  This year, 1 million Zambian farmers will benefit from government subsidies valued at an estimated $170 million, and delivered via a VISA card. Each farmer will contribute $40 and receive a subsidy of $170 from the government, which includes a $10 premium for crop insurance.

The Apps market of mobile wallet solutions is growing and getting smarter. However, like most countries in the region, Zambia’s economy is significantly depressed. Despite the rapid penetration of mobile phones and unprecedented numbers of people now using the internet, more than 70% of adults are still excluded from the financial system. Many banks and payment providers limit their customers to using a few basic functions like checking account balance, transaction history, and transfers initialization. They also charge extremely high fees of between 8% and 15% to transfer funds, which directly impacts low income individuals and small agribusiness entrepreneurs.

In a recent poll, 100% of Zambian smallholder farmers indicated their inability to insure crops against floods, droughts and cyclones and, get timely benefits as the major barrier to them sustaining their farming activities. An automated crop insurance smart contract could remove this barrier and extend insurance cover to all smallholder farmers, throughout the year.

COMPETITION

BITKwacha’s competitive advantage over competitors is twofold:

  • Ease-of-Use: Anyone can use BITKwacha to insure crops against extreme weather without any intermediaries, allowing it to address markets not served by banks and insurance firms and, entrench itself in the market.
  • Automated Smart Contracts: BITKwacha’s digital token allows it to automate the rules and execution of contracts with information about the weather automatically fed into the program, and funds held and controlled by the code, lowering risks and eliminating administration costs versus the local fiat currency.

GROWTH

MARKETING & SALES

Acquiring customers:

  • Online marketing inc. SEM, SEO, SMM, daily deals
  • Refer-a-friend discounts for consumers
  • Volume/loyalty discounts for consumers and waste managers
  • Incentive program for HR and office managers               

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Keeping customers  

  • Dedicated customer service representatives for each DMA
  • BITKwacha staffed community message board for consumer (public) and agents (login required)

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Staying competitive:

  • Customer Development Advisory Board to drive consumer features
  • Product Development Advisory Board to drive dApp features
  • Add Smart Contracts
  • Add Atomic Swap


Who will take these actions?

The BITKwacha Automated Crop Insurance Smart Contract is targeting 10,000 Zambian smallholder farmers during the 2018/2019 farming season. They will be engaged in the pilot through 100 ‘BITKwacha Agents’ transacting on behalf of their communities. Some 130 smallholder farmers have expressed interest in insuring their crops through BITKwacha.

The proposed actions will be led by BITKwacha LLC, working together, in collaboration with key stakeholders who include:

  • Smallholder farmers
  • Farmer associations and Co-operatives
  • Weather Observatories
  • Insurance Firms
  • Card Payment Providers
  • Telcos
  • Mobile OEMs
  • Banks
  • Billers
  • Agents/Retail Networks
  • Local and Regional Regulators


Where will these actions be taken?

The proposed actions will be implemented in 10 provincial capitals in Zambia. However, BITKwacha is ideal all developing countries where access to financial and non-financial services is limited.


What are other key benefits?

Our impact assessment methodology is used to validate and test the linkages from our activities (inputs) through to our outputs, outcomes and impact.

Input/Activity: BITKwacha registers a farmer or agribusiness, and provides, a Wallet, data and support.

Output: An automated crop insurance smart contract is developed even if people do not have formal identification documents.

Outcome: Access to climate risk insurance for the hitherto unbanked and undocumented; price transparency, market information and safe alternative to cash; lower fees to transfer funds, saved travel and opportunity costs.

Impact: New transaction flow that optimizes costs of servicing climate risk insurance; potential to acquire and serve new clients from the informal sector unlocked with multiple benefits including; improved livelihoods, health, and education.

We measure and test the scope of our impacts and share “lessons learned” to inform future development and investment decisions.


What are the proposal’s costs?

SUMMARY

Product development: $33,000

Travel and Transportation: $8,000

Equipment: $7,500

Lab Supplies: $1,500

TOTAL: $50,000

BUDGET NARRATIVE

BITKwacha is currently seeking $50,000 seed funding. These funds will be used to test and implement the Automated Crop Insurance Smart Contract during the 2018/2019 farming season, October 2018 – May 2019. Once the first phase of the app pilot has been completed, BITKwacha will continue to refine and scale up this innovation within Zambia and other countries.

  • Bootstrapped by founder through MVP
  • Seeking $50,000 Seed Funding:
    • Convertible equity
    • Target close by EOQ2 2018

So we can:

  • Reach 100,000 farmers
  • Scale/refine marketing/customer acquisition
  • Scale customer service (agents)
  • Scale infrastructure


Time line

In January 2018, the BITKwacha Automated Crop Insurance Smart Contract was created. The Smart Contract will be launched in 2018Q2 and is targeting 10,000 Zambian smallholder farmers during the 2018/2019 farming season.

The BITKwacha business model is designed to become sustainable once it reaches the break-even point after three to four years. Until then, new partnerships and additional investments will contribute to the expansion within Zambia, further testing in new countries, effective knowledge management, continued smart contract development and maintenance of the wallet.


Related proposals

AgriGO: Using technology to help farmers to fight against climate change

Climate risk insurance and preparedness through gamification & social innovation

Protecting Vulnerable Coastlines of Tanzania and Building Urban Resilience.


References

FISP Electronic Voucher program to promote diversification.http://www.musika.org.zm/~musika/article/84-fisp-electronic-voucher-program-to-promote-diversification 

Insurance Industry in over US$10 million Premium Boost.http://zambiabusinesstimes.com/2017/07/16/insurance-industry-in-over-us10-million-premiums-boost 

IFC PPCR_Zambia_Weather Index Insurance.https://www.climateinvestmentfunds.org/sites/default/files/IFC%20PPCR_Zambia_Weather%20Index%20Insurance_Public_Full_English_23Feb2014.pdf

Agriculture in Africa - the United Nations. www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/pdf/pubs/2013africanagricultures.pdf

Zambian farming has potential to lead economic development – report. https://www.africanfarming.com/zambian-farming-economic-development/

E-Voucher Targets 870, 000 Farmers. http://www.znfu.org.zm/article/e-voucher-targets-870-000-farmers

FISP Electronic Voucher program to promote diversification. http://www.musika.org.zm/article/84-fisp-electronic-voucher-program-to-promote-diversification

Sub-Saharan Africa: A major potential revenue opportunity for digital payments. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/sub-saharan-africa-a-major-potential-revenue-opportunity-for-digital-payments

The African insurance market at a glance. https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2014/08/ma-in-african-insurance-market-v1-fs.pdf

Mobile financial services in Africa: Winning the battle for the customer. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/mobile-financial-services-in-africa-winning-the-battle-for-the-customer

Mobile Insurance, Savings & Credit Report – GSMA. https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Mobile-Insurance-Savings-Credit-Report-2015.pdf

How Fintech is Reaching the Poor in Africa and Asia: A Start-Up Perspective. https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/f745fd31-a9aa-4736-b0ba-4ac2956f96dc/EmCompass+Note+34+DFS+and+FinTech+Mar+28+FINAL.pdf?MOD=AJPERES