Ripple Donates $10 Million to Help the Unbanked and Underbanked

Californian FinTech firm Ripple has announced that it has donated $10 million to Mercy Corps to “expand financial inclusion and increase economic empowerment globally.”

Ripple’s blog post starts by explaining the motivation behind the company’s desire to expand financial inclusion for the whole world:

“The existing financial system is antiquated, broken and poorly designed to serve the needs of those in emerging markets, which are too often overlooked by financial service providers. As the pandemic spurs an increasing shift toward digital payments, the number of those without access to affordable financial services is only growing. There is much at stake.”

On 27 September 2018, Ripple introduced its social impact program “Ripple for Good” and said that this would “focus on projects related to education and financial inclusion.”

Ken Weber, Head of Social Impact at Ripple, said at the time:

“When we reflected on the unique role Ripple could play from a social impact standpoint, we kept landing on the idea that the benefits of these new technologies should reach as many people as possible.

“If we are truly committed to transformative global change, we will work to help ensure that innovations in banking and global payments are available everywhere to everyone, among unbanked and underbanked populations and in economies and economic sectors that serve the greater good.

“Our goal is to deliver on the promise of an Internet of Value for all.”

Ripple went on to say that Ripple for Good would “collaborate with RippleWorks, a nonprofit co-founded by Chris Larsen and Doug Galen that supports social ventures across multiple sectors, including financial inclusion and education.” The idea was that Ripple For Good would “learn from – and build on – RippleWorks’ experience addressing financial exclusion around the world” by “identifying organizations and initiatives to support as well as engaging Ripple’s employees in hands-on volunteer project work.”

Then on 5 October 2020, Ripple rebranded Ripple for Good to Ripple Impact:

Ripple Impact, formerly called Ripple for Good, partners with mission-driven organizations to create greater economic fairness and opportunity for all—through research, education and philanthropy. In concert with the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), Ripple Impact is a natural extension of Ripple’s products and services.”

Ripple Impact has four main initiatives: “Financial Inclusion”; “Blockchain Education and Diversity”; “Blockchain for Good”; and “A Greener Future”.

On Thursday (October 15), Ripple explained why it had denoated $10 million to Mercy Corps:

“Among NGOs, Mercy Corps is a proven leader in creating economic opportunities for vulnerable populations through the application of new and innovative technology. Last year alone, Mercy Corps’ programs helped nearly 28 million people and its impact investing arm, Mercy Corps Ventures, invests in and partners with innovative social entrepreneurs to scale solutions to the world’s most persistent challenges, including financial exclusion.”

Ripple says that Mercy Corps Ventures will “support solutions that leverage digital financial technologies—such as distributed ledgers, digital assets and cryptocurrencies—to bring large numbers of people in emerging markets into the global economy over a three-year initiative.” Apparently, this contribution from Ripple will help “support the education of Mercy Corps’ field staff working to address the financial challenges faced in these regions and apply digital financial solutions.”

Scott Onder, Senior Managing Director at Mercy Corps Ventures, had this to say:

“The existing financial system is fragmented, antiquated, and exclusionary–leaving 1.7B people unbanked and disproportionately excluding women.

“Emerging fintech, crypto and blockchain technologies have the potential to radically transform it, but there are substantial risks for the world’s most vulnerable people if their needs are not taken into consideration as these new technologies are designed and deployed.

“We are going to leverage our global resources and reach to ensure community voices are heard and vulnerable populations are not left behind in the fintech revolution.”

Also, Ripple and Rippleworks’ contribution will “support the launch of FinX, a joint initiative by Mercy Corps Ventures and Mercy Corps to reimagine the existing financial system and build a coalition committed to ensuring this new system is inclusive for the un- and underbanked populations.”

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