The Kuva Project, an initiative to bring easy cash for Dash exchange to Zimbabwe, has been funded by the Dash network.
Zimbabwe has undergone a serious cash crisis, with hyperinflation leading to the collapse of the national currency, and a resulting underground market for US dollar notes. The Kuva proposal goes into further detail about the gravity of these issues:
“The current cash crisis in Zimbabwe has proven to be difficult to resolve. Ballooning inflation has led to a collapse of the national currency, forcing the government to issue USD tethered bonds as a stopgap measure. Although the formal economy is worth $4 Billion USD, there is $7 Billion USD in cash currently circulating in the informal economy. Currently, relatively expensive centralised mobile payments comprise more than 82% of all transactions in Zimbabwe. The remainder of trade and payments are made in cash (USD). Because the cash circulates without being replaced, it drives a lucrative trade in providing fresh/cleaned banknotes for a premium of between 10-20%.”
In order to address this, the Kuva Project aims to provide a gateway for Zimbabweans to exchange cash for Dash, providing an improved store of value that’s easier, cheaper, and more reliable to transact. Andreiko Kerdemelidis, the project lead, says discussion with his colleague James Saruchera opened his eyes to the cash issues facing Zimbabwe, and prompted them to get into business to attempt to alleviate the problem:
“James [Saruchera] is a friend of mine from Zimbabwe who told me what it was like there. We discussed what we could do to try and fix the issue, and Dash seemed to be a very good fit.
I had in the past worked with James in New Zealand on some local government business development initiatives. The two of us just decided to take action and see about landing Dash in Zimbabwe.”
The proposal passed 855 yes/306 no/38 abstain and has been funded.
Dash in a unique position to help Zimbabwe, where Bitcoin would not work
In a country with problems associated with the devaluation of central bank-issued currency, blockchain-based digital currency is a natural fit for relief. Among all available options to promote, Kerdemelidis was drawn to Dash by a variety of factors, in particular features and branding that allow it to be easily used as a digital cash:
“InstantSend, [Dash Core CEO] Ryan Taylor, DGBB [self-funding treasury system], a confluence of things. It feels like it has longevity and a currency that funds its own development at least on the platform side.
Featurewise, InstantSend and low network fees, good support on exchanges, a better identity as ‘digital cash’ than any of the other ‘alts’.”
When spreading blockchain technology to new areas, Bitcoin is often the first to market due to its industry market leader status. However, according to Kerdemelidis, this would not have been a good approach due to lingering issues regarding Bitcoin’s scaling fight:
“Bitcoin was not an option, uncertainty regarding fees (at the time they went to $9-11 USD per transaction) and too many contentions in the community.”
Dash is catching in on countries with currency issues
Around the world, other countries with currency issues are seeing relief from adopting Dash. In Venezuela, conferences educating the people about Dash have done much better than expected. The central bank of Venezuela is also looking into blockchain-based options to provide relief for its currency.
While achievable, Kerdemelidis doesn’t see a necessarily smooth ride in implementing the Kuva project, as some challenges may include “Building trust with users, and fully/safely implementing the cash replenishment model.”