Kuva—a blockchain start-up with strong African roots—has started a phased roll out of its Kuvacash crypto wallet for Android (download here), with iOS version expected to follow in the coming weeks.
The wallet release is a culmination of a nearly three year effort to create an innovative solution that simplifies cryptocurrency acquisition and exchange using a simple Smartphone. Underpinned by the start-up’s multi-asset blockchain network, kNET, the Kuvacash wallet will initially support the k series stablecoins (USDk) , Bitcoin, Dash as well as the Kuva coin.
James Saruchera, Kuva Chief Executive (CE), also revealed to Africa Blockchain Media a distinct approach to the coin offering process his company has undertaken.
Kuva will be buying back some of the coins sold during its ongoing private sale. Saruchera believes this decision will serve the start-up well in an environment now dominated by failed projects, which either did not have a product or a viable business model.
“Kuva has invested millions in developing its fintech infrastructure and with no external debt impeding us, we’re only just getting started.”
“We want to take this different approach with our coin sale process. Soon we will be starting a process of buying back and burning some of the coins. This will be our unique way of showing our confidence with the product (Kuvacash’s wallet application),” explained Saruchera.
A coin buyback process is akin to a share buyback often undertaken by publicly listed companies. A share buyback is usually carried out for the purposes of increasing shareholder value as well as boosting confidence in the said company.
Kuva coin-buy back aims to achieve similar objectives, albeit this only applies to utility tokens or ‘coins’ that run the Kuva network.
Saruchera added that this (coin buy-back) is especially necessary now when appetite for ICO or IEO is presently low.
The initial coin offering (ICO) mad rush of 2017 saw many inexperienced investors and hobbyists jostling to buy tokens that promised huge returns after a short investment period. However, the ICO bubble would burst in 2018, leaving many participants with tokens that trade at a fraction of their opening prices. In worst cases, such tokens have no value at all.
Meanwhile, Kuva is proposing to use revenues generated from its operations to fund its buyback process.
Easier master node creation
For contributors that wish to join the Kuva network and earn a passive income by running nodes, the Kuvacash wallet application actually enables them to create masternodes from within the wallet.
For enhanced security and speed of transaction processing, the architecture of Kuva’s blockchain has two tiers, comprising nodes and masternodes. A node is any computing device that enables secure processing of transactions on the network. On the other hand, clusters of nodes or masternodes, have special jobs including enabling instant confirmation of transactions.
Anyone can contribute computing power to the Kuva network by buying masternodes, in return for processing fees paid in units of KUVA.
According to the Kuva CE, getting a masternode is often technically cumbersome but now, with just a few clicks on the Kuva app, anyone can create one and thus help contribute to the network’s computing power.
Motivation for the application
A Zimbabwe native, Saruchera says he together with his team comprising of blockchain experts drawn from different nationalities, started this project to achieve two things, wealth preservation and financial freedom.
Real wealth preservation is presently not possible with ‘soft’ fiat currencies that are in use in many developing countries today. Soft currencies can lose as much as 10% or more of their value each year and this erodes the real value of long term savings like pensions. In extreme cases, like that of Saruchera’s parents, an entire pension—forty years worth of contributions to be precise—got wiped out completely when the Zimbabwe’s soft currency, the Zimdollar collapsed in 2008.
Through the Kuvacash wallet application however, ordinary people will be able to acquire cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or stablecoins like the USDk, which are not susceptible to government induced inflation. Wallet holders will be able acquire hard currencies like the USD as well.
Application complies with AML requirements
With a Kuvacash wallet, a user will be able to overcome cross border payment challenges without running afoul of national laws. Kuva says it adheres to relevant anti-money laundering laws as well as know your customer (KYC) procedures.
Saruchera, who recently spoke at the International Monetary Fund’s innovation centre, adds that subjecting Kuva to international anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines is something they had long planned for.
Global powers have long opposed cryptocurrency businesses for many reasons although money laundering and terror financing concerns often stand out.
For example, France and Germany have been particularly vocal in their opposition to privately issued tokens, including the proposed Libra stablecoin, while in the United States, agencies like Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have stepped up efforts to block token issuers who fail to abide by regulations.
Kuva anticipated and understood these regulator concerns and thus it put in place firm procedures that counter the financing of illicit or terrorist activities.
Meanwhile, Saruchera took time to walk AfricaBlockchainMedia through some of the key features of the Kuvacash wallet. These functions include:
- Cash out facility—wallet users will be able cash out USD cash at designated points or make payments to bank accounts.
- Every phone can act as a secure Point of Sale —wallet users will be able settle obligations with fellow users by either scanning a QR code or a merchant pay code. All wallet users can generate a merchant code enabling even a street vendor to securely take payment.
- Interoperability –wallet users will be able to instantly switch between fiat and different cryptocurrencies e.g. from BTC to USDk or from Dash to BTC.
- Users can send funds remotely to other users, enabling contactless sending of hard currency in an era social distancing and stay at home regulations which have imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing the financial inclusion challenge
The Kuvacash wallet is the latest innovation of the many to emerge from tech startups that are attempting to solve the African continent’s financial exclusion challenge. The continent is home to many of the world’s unbanked population, which the World Bank currently estimates at 1.7 billion people.
A number of studies reveal the many potential development benefits to be derived from financial inclusion — especially from the use of digital financial services which also include mobile money services, payment cards, and other financial technology (or fintech) applications.
Kuvacash wallet is another potential solution that millions of unbanked Africans can use to overcome the financial exclusion challenge. It only requires one to own an Android Smartphone that’s connected to the Internet.