A model for enabling safe exploration of electronic money in Peru

About the Project


January 2014


Lima, Peru

Sencillo is a prototype for an electronic money platform/concept designed for Peru.

Sencillo works as a simple, open framework for other people to build applications providing rich functionality. It provides basic-level functions that enable transactions between parties, where parties can initiate transactions either through a web-based platform, text messaging, or using any node connected to the network as a bridge to the platform.

The purpose of this concept is to think about how we might help people leapfrog an entire generation of hard to access financial services that people do not find trustworthy. By building on existing peer-to-peer connections as an initial use case, we leverage existing trust networks as the driver for adoption of a new system. This enables early adopters to become a proxy for trusting the platform.

Every node is a hub for growth, as any user can “pull” any other user into the system by simply e-mailing or texting them money. When crediting money to a user who has not yet registered, the platform holds the funds in escrow until the user “claims” them by registering with the identifier associated to the transaction. This way, users can pull their friends and connections onto the platform, and new users have an incentive for trust because the referrer is someone they personally know.

Sencillo provides a sandbox for electronic transactions where the stakes are low because the user can decide how much money is held in their “wallet”. By creating this middle space, the objective is to encourage people to explore and experiment without worrying that their entire savings are at risk of electronic theft. Sencillo wallets are isolated from bank accounts, creating a space where transactions con flow freely and quickly and where security checks might actually be more relaxed rather than more stringent. This counter-intuitive approach is meant to encourage learning and testing, with additional security measures available as opt-ins rather than defaults.

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