In a rush? Check out the numbers and quick facts in 30 seconds.
ICO facts: Took place in April 2017. Raised US$5,162,000 Equivalent. $HMQ Tokens are ERC-20 compliant, intially sold at US$ 0.041 a unit. Their current value is US$ 0.69, in Bittrex, Yobit, Etherdelta to name a few. Source: tokendata.
In a nutshell: A 4th Gen. E-banking platform for the unbanked, built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Editor’s Notes and Disclosure: The author holds no business stakes or dividends at the startup. This article is an informative one. Both the author and Decentral Magazine encourage our readers to seek advice from a financial advisor and do their due diligence before considering any investment.
“Money, it’s a crime! Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.” That’s David Gilmour, making a stash while singing money with the great Pink Floyd. Let’s face it: unless you’re a Haight-Ashbury hippie during the Summer of Love, Money fuels human life on earth. But, the banking system built around it isn’t inclusive and left billions of people on the edge.
That prompted Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a program that will accelerate digital financial inclusion in developing countries like Mexico, Egypt, and China.
Then comes 2017 with its cryptocurrencies worth thousands of dollar, and it’s blockchain shaking the realm of Wall Street. Like that of the Gates, an inclusive initiative has crystallized into a new generation bank on the Ethereum ledger. This is the story behind Humaniq, or the “Bank of the Unbanked“. For the stakes are high, and so is the promise. So, let’s begin with an introductory video.
Humaniq at a glance
Source: humaniq Youtube channel
Humaniq aims to fill the void between traditional banking, and prospective value holders in immerging markets (namely Africa, Latin America and Asia). And this is at the core of today’s debate: the cryptocurrencies appeal to people lacking trust in financial authorities. And they shall find it in the trasnaprency of the blockchain. The way CEO Alex Fork puts it is:
Our goal is to provide financial services to over two billion unbanked people around the world, and now we’re in a much better position to achieve this thanks to the extremely enthusiastic support of the people who have contributed to our ICO.
So, putting aside any grudge towards the high street banks (hard to believe I’m saying that!), unbanked people elude traditional finances for three main reasons: lack of ID, lack to meet minimum funds requirements and geographical distance to the nearest branch. That’s exactly where humaniq weighs in. And it works like magic.
How does humaniq work?
To keep up with its promise, Humaniq puts forth a straightforward procedure for KYC registration. I tried it and was able to sign in and get a 0.44 HMQ Xmas bonus in exactly 18 secs. (Santa, is that you?). Prospective users are only prompted to complete a bio-identification process, no emails needed: just a smartphone connected to the internet. It’s as simple as taking a selfie.
For the tech-geeks among us, face-recognition or “proof of face” algorithms ensure the “KYC” for neural networks. Let’s dig deeper into the App’s capabilities.
Getting started with humaniq lite app
First, the biometric ID processing. Prospective users are asked to take a first photo that determines parameters such as gender and age. Consequently, the application will request a second photo with a specified emotion. This is required to eliminate possible fraud by using pre-determined photos. No photoshop available, so, earn it, or lose it!
Next, the app validates the user’s phone number by sending an SMS and automatically pairing it.
It also comes fully loaded with an E2E encrypted chat functionality via home modified MQTT protocol. It includes add-ons like voice-to-text, and you get the sense of great focus on the customer experience. It really is as simple as they come, and the design is of top-notch ergonomy and quality.
Sending and receiving crypto on the app
Something that struck me while browsing the app is the simplicity to send or request funds. Having struggled with freeloaders’ ability to come up with excuses, (node if you relate!), I’m relieved to find a great way of getting paid. All I have to do now is select the desired person from my contacts list. Even if they’re not using the app, an SMS will be directed to them and will guide them through the process. So, like Rihana said, “… Better have ma money!“.
If the transactions involve people using the app, it’s done by scanning a QR Code or entering the wallet address. As of press time, the app is fully working in Uganda, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Let aside the stigma, it’s kind of new to see something working in Africa before it does in Europe.
As of press time, humaniq provides E-2-E chat, and instantaneous money transfer services on the Ethereum blockchain. Future plans include P2P lending, loans, and insurance services. The payments are fueled by the $HMQ token, and the app keeps a timestamped full track of transactions. More on it hereafter.
The $HMQ Token
So, the HMQ token is, by design, the medium of exchange within the platform. It’s destined for storage of value and as a mean of payment. Think of it as the bridge between stakeholders and their exchanged value – to avoid saying money. Furthermore, it can be traded or exchanged for other cryptocurrencies through exchanges like Bittrex and Etherdelta to name a few.
The purpose of using HMQ tokens is to enable microtransactions while mitigating the processing time and fee problems. The last are typically encountered in traditional banking and, to a lesser extent, high profile cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
As of press time, the HMQ token is realizing a great day, giving most altcoins a run for their share. Its market cap stands at US$ 98.5 Million.
About the ICO
With over 11,600 participants and an average contribution of US$430, Humaniq has raised US$5.1 million as of April 26th, 2017. The token price started at US$ 0.041, and payments were made in Ether. And unlike other projects requiring unjustifiably high hard-caps, US$ 5 million is rather fair to unleash the potential of humaniq without raising unnecessary questions. This is how former CEO Dinis Guarda puts it into words:
“Our team has worked hard to prepare and deliver Humaniq’s ICO, as the first innovation blockchain humanitarian cryptocurrency token crowd sale in the history of ICOs, dedicated to improving the lives of people in emerging economies and offering them financial inclusion using tech for social good.”
With such support and enthusiasm from all parties involved, the future looks rather fine for humaniq.
Milestones and road ahead
Humaniq’s business model is closely following the “Metcalfe’s Law”. Simply stated, the value of a network exponentially increases to keep up with its growing size. And gaining exposure is key here. For the project to be as far-reaching as possible, a great amount of resources and effort is channeled towards marketing the idea. Q1/2018 will hopefully bring about a larger geographic expansion of the project to support prospective customers in Asia and Latin America. Here’s the tale told by numbers:
- 20,000 is the current number of humaniq Lite users.
- 40,000 is the number of HMQ transactions within the app.
- 500,000 is the target number of uploads over the next year.
Answering about the plans for 2018, Mr. Anton Mozgovoy, CTO lead blockchain, informed us that humaniq planning its focus on integrated value-added services (VAS), new financial services like peer-to-peer lending, and upcoming insurance services.
The team behind
The current CEO of Humaniq is no other than the brain behind the project, and its founder Alex Fork. He is a highly regarded individual in the crypto world and a successful entrepreneur.
Other executive members are Javed Khattak (CFO), Hazem Danny Al-Nakib, (CIO) and Kirill Goryunov (CPO). Team members come from a variety of fields, mostly centered around fintech, finance, investment banking, software development and bizdev. They exude professionalism and are clearly doing this full-time while keeping their investors informed through their Slack and Medium blog.
The website also cites great senior advisors that openly back the project and genuinely trust in its far-reaching potential.
A final word
Most people agree that humaniq has it all to succeed. Investors are rather optimistic, as they strongly believe in its potential. And prospective customers are joining the pool by the day and making their way towards the up and coming inclusive banking system. Let me finish with a great saying that goes: success is what you make it. Well, it also has so much to do with the story. And humaniq brings a great story of its own, and the promise of an inclusive global economy. Where farmers and white-collars hold hands and leave a common legacy. Where emerging economies transcend the barricades of oblivion. Where value creates more, and greed turns into compassion.