Interview with Jomari Peterson, Founder & CEO of the Digital Reserve

Microfinance is currently a $100 billion dollar market that has grown faster than 15% per year over the past decade. The Digital Reserve is a fintech startup backed by a for-profit Public Benefit Corporation applying cryptocurrency and mobile app technology to connect lenders with borrowers more accessibly and efficiently.

The Digital Reserve Network (“DRN”) is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger, secured by cryptographic signatures and governed by the Denarii Protocol. The base currency unit of the DRN is the Denarii Token. The Digital Reserve aims to be a part of the solution in redefining the World Economy through the establishment of a registered microfinance institution.

In this Adastra Insights interview we spoke to Digital Reserve Founder & CEO, Jomari Peterson, to find out more about their bold initiative:

Who’s on board with your idea?

[Jomari Peterson:] One example is the Trust Savings Credit Union in Liberia: this is a United Nations supported entity and has already agreed to leverage The Digital Reserve services towards their goals of providing credit for neglected markets. In the US, a non-profit in Pittsburgh, PA has also expressed interest in leveraging the Digital Reserve capabilities for their students.

How will it work for users?

There are two parts to consider: Digital Reserve is the network, and we also have the Digital Reserve Public Benefit Corporation [PBC] which is focused on the development of the network and increasing financial accessibility. Users will discover the Digital Reserve network through word of mouth and targeted support interventions by the Digital Reserve, P.B.C.

The organization will make substantial investment in financial literacy programming, training and capacity development. As the user base grows, the organization will be important for encouraging network exposure and utilization.

The main focus and support within the Digital Reserve Network will be on financial services and solutions.

Here are some planned interface designs:

Will there be an ecosystem of developers?

Absolutely. Partners can build apps to integrate with The Digital Reserve without being part of the formal structure of Digital Reserve, P.B.C. – interaction with other services and interoperability is something we definitely support.

To reach our goal of developing a healthy and equitable economic system, it is vital to engage those who share this interest and desire.

To truly be effective, the Digital Reserve Network needs a diversity of players to create a holistic system. We are very intentional about our desire to become part of the fabric of the future of finance

Therefore, the specific interventions and partnerships are vital to creating a strong foundation for the development of the Digital Reserve’s vision to be a new type of financial institution. As a financial institution of the future we can’t afford to not operate on the cutting edge of technology, and this means not working in isolation.

We are going to build programmable structures for offering a variety of financial services, including debt and equity based solutions on top of the Digital Reserve Network. In addition, asset recognition is an important aspect of operations.

 

What challenges do you foresee in building this venture?

Well, it is important to make sure that we provide robust customer service options. We plan to develop this infrastructure through community volunteers, bounties and partnerships with existing organizations with a similar vision of social impact, equity and growth.

Secondly we need to build positive relationships with the traditional banking and finance world. We pride ourselves on a user experience focus. We believe this is the fundamental barrier to making alternative financing options viable. Therefore, we have an emphasis on transparency, clarity and accessibility superior to what is offered by many traditional institutions. That doesn’t mean we are in opposition to them: these traditional institutions still have the ability to be a hub for some types of transactions and opportunities. They also have the infrastructure for providing more direct customer service options. This is why the interface and partnership with traditional institutions is an important part of our roadmap.

Thirdly, we have to consider how to make it easy for people to understand and try out what we are offering. We believe there will be some friction with adoption. However, the improvement of rates through more efficient and equitable capital accessibility will be a very attractive draw.

Once users realize how they are empowered in new ways by bidding on their repayment and interest rates for loans, this will completely reverse the way they perceive finance.

When will the Digital Reserve go live?

The Digital Reserve is aiming to launch in April 2019.

Before that we have:

  • A large user testing session in June 2018 to acquaint our future users with our designs and operations
  • The 1st testnet will be in the Fall of 2018
  • Penetration Testing and Institutional Plugins during the Winter
  • The next testnet version will run from December 2018 to April 2019

We are currently in the process of starting our next user interface iteration and completing our fundraising for US$2m toward development.

Find out more…

The Digital Reserve team, 2018: the mission is to leverage decentralized network technology to create a sustainable microfinance institution that innovates monetary policy within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Read an introduction to the project here: https://medium.com/the-digital-reserve/introducing-the-digital-reserve-network-a-decentralized-financial-institution-bff171a44080

DRN homepage: https://www.thedigitalreserve.org/ – sign up to participate in the first User Experience Testnet in June 2018

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/DigitalReserve

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/digitalreserve/

On Telegram: https://t.me/digitalreserve/

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