The Access Network, an incentivized token economy governed by its participants, recently announced its upcoming launch. Access Network (ACX Network) is created by blockchain startup Atlas Money, a P2P banking platform in West Africa with more than 300 agents and nearly 20,000 users who have already banked more than $1.5M. Co-founded by a Techstars Alum and Peter Thiel fellow, Atlas has raised more than $3.2 million and is backed by notable investors such as Tim Draper, 1517 Fund, MITS Fund, and Partech Ventures.
“We hear that two billion adults are unbanked all the time, but this problem actually effects over six billion people. Financial access is the key to unlocking economic development and they are currently denied that fundamental right,” said Mickey Costa, CEO of Atlas Money. “Blockchain technology has the potential to transform the underserved into the leaders of the decentralized financial movement. Currently, they are unable to realize this because of lack of access to local liquidity outlets.”
By integrating with Atlas Money after launch, ACX Network will be able to leverage an existing infrastructure to enable real-world liquidity and participation. Atlas Agents collect deposits, issue withdrawals and offer microloans, without the end user needing to have a smartphone. Atlas Money has successfully pioneered the digitization of a door-to-door banking platform dedicated to financial access, making it an ideal launchpad for ACX Network.
“Atlas Money will serve as the initial bridge, while Access will empower them to define the future of financial access for themselves. Not only will the financially excluded have the ability to take control of their own system, but they can also leverage their existing communal networks to power it,” Mr. Costa said.
“This is the realization of a shared vision I’ve held for a long time as an African. We’ve been left behind,” said Magatte Wade, a Senegalese entrepreneur. “The rate of development in Africa must dramatically increase, and it is about time that Africans have a say in what that looks like, instead of others telling us what we need to be doing.”
The underserved will be able to govern all network decisions and direct incentives towards the development of financial tools that they want to use, such as loan, investment and ecommerce applications.
ACX Network is structured to ensure equitable distribution and aligned incentives amongst the underserved and future network contributors. It aims to sustain a self-amending and self-funding process that is controlled democratically and incentivizes contributions that improve the network’s functionality over time.
“We’re seeing huge opportunities for social impact investing in technologies that democratize access to financial services for Africans,” said Claude Wasserstein, Atlas investor and founder of Fine Day Ventures. “Mickey and his team are tapping into a market that has truly been underserved.”
The post launch integration with Atlas Money will initially only open up the network to those in Ghana and Senegal, with plans to incentivize others to expand it to further localities.