New Blockchain Powered App Provides Digital Identity and Financial Services to the Homeless

A new app, Fummi, hopes to give homeless individuals the tools they need to get online, secure their identity and gain access to important financial services.

Autor*in Mark Newton, 01.03.18

Translation Mark Newton:

A new app, Fummi, hopes to give homeless individuals the tools they need to get online, secure their identity and gain access to important financial services.

Around 3 billion people are currently underserved by the global financial system. The majority of this figure are likely in low-income countries with only limited infrastructure or online connectivity. However, some of this 3 billion will also live in Western economies – possibly on their streets.

Technology company Blockchain For Change has recognised this concern and is now providing these disadvantaged individuals with an online identity and financial services via a new android app, Fummi. As well as furnishing the homeless with a practical tool, Fummi will also help them to become involved in the digital world that has often left them behind.

How Does Fummi Work?

Fummi operates via a blockchain-based Smart ID, and consists of three core features: a digital ID called ‘Change Pass’, a SmartWallet that allows for the safe storage of money, and finally a marketplace for service providers and beneficiaries. In order to access discounted services and features, users must pay part of the value in Fummi’s Ethereum-based cryptocurrency, Change Coins. This coins will then be returned to Blockchain for Change to be redistributed to new users. An amount of Change Coins will be delivered free to new users upon successful registration.

Additionally, Fummi will provide a solid and sovereign digital identity, an important asset in a world where a verifiable identity can be central to many services. This will allow homeless individuals to easily check into shelters and receive benefits, hopefully freeing them from generally inefficient local welfare systems which are sometimes characterised by slow payments, outdated information and potential identity theft.

Of course, Fummi is only useful if the user has any kind of consistent way to get online. That’s why Blockchain for Change has also teamed up with Life Wireless to distribute smartphones preloaded with Fummi to 3,000 homeless individuals in New York’s Bronx district. Life Wireless is a mobile service provider that delivers free smartphones and monthly contracts to those who qualify for the Federal Lifeline program. Currently, Fummi is directing its attention towards a domestic US market, although it hopes to eventually roll out the program globally.

Fummi is only the latest digital tool which aims to exploit the burgeoning blockchain. Previously, we have heard of blockchain based endeavours concerned with tackling extremist views online, encouraging solar power generation and donating to charity – amongst many others.

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