John O'Connor, IOHK director of African operations, shares the news about the first set of loans disbursed to Kenya SMEs over the weekend, highlighting the incoming potential of Cardano's RealFi.
First loans to Kenyan SME’s went out over the weekend. Looking forwards to turning this into a product soon so any Cardano holder can generate yield that’s uncorrelated to crypto whilst making impact. #Realfi— John O'Connor (@jjtoconnor) February 28, 2022
Cardano's RealFi, like DeFi, aims to create a product and technology ecosystem that reduces the friction between crypto liquidity and real-world economic opportunities.
Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson revealed that the company plans to introduce peer-to-peer (P2P) lending across Africa this year, starting with Kenya. This, he believes, is part of an effort to close the gap between industrialized and developing countries.
During a YouTube Livestream from his home in Colorado in late December 2021, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson discussed the disadvantages of decentralized finance, noting that many users are incredibly frustrated by the low production quality of applications within the DeFi ecosystem.
He also mentioned Cardano's aspirations to "build a financial operating system" in 2022, which will deliver DeFi services to Africans, as many African countries currently lack financial inclusion. He noted that Africa has always been a priority for Cardano and that the project intends to expand its influence in the region.
He said, "My goal for the second half of 2022 is to figure out how to put all the pieces together to get an end-to-end microfinance transaction on Cardano."
"So that a real person in Kenya or somewhere with a blockchain-based identity and credit score, stablecoin on the other side, Cardano is the settlement rail. Peer-to-peer, person-to-person, click a button, the loan goes to them. They pay it back, (and it) goes to the other side,” the IOHK CEO mentioned.
In 2021, Cardano inked major partnerships in Africa, such as one with the Ethiopian Ministry for Education to create a national attainment recording system and one with World Mobile in Tanzania to enable access to essential online services through blockchain.
In a blog post, Cardano's parent firm, IOHK, described these partnerships as a "launchpad" for Cardano's goal to build RealFi. The word "realFi" was defined by IOHK as real finance that is focused on people who genuinely need new ways to access finance, producing that real value frequently lacking from DeFi, and also intends to deliver attractive yields to crypto holders, as well as cheaper credit/financial goods for real people.