About - Objectives
At the HelloGold Foundation, we believe that access to financial services for the unbanked and underserved is essential to any meaningful attempt at reducing poverty and empowering the poorest within developing nations. We also believe that new emerging innovations associated to the blockchain technologies are today’s most promising source of solutions to achieve wider financial inclusion for the poorest. The HelloGold Foundation will support key initiatives aiming in this direction.
The blockchain is a distributed, consensus-based and immutable ledger. By its very nature its application to financial services will greatly help remove the barriers currently hindering access for the underbanked and the underserved:
Because it is distributed and does not depend on a central authority to guarantee the integrity of the ledger, the blockchain facilitates multi-organisational cooperation, reducing time and costs between collaborating financial institutions.
Because of its consensus mechanism, it guarantees the integrity of the transactions being recorded and prevents any fraudulent tampering with the data being recorded.
Because it is immutable, any data or transaction recorded on the blockchain is impossible to erase, offering a level of transparency and traceability never known before to mankind.
According to the World Bank, more than two billion adults “lack access to formal financial services”, meaning that they have virtually no access to simple financial services such as bank accounts and loans. This is a major hindrance to development and economic growth and often leads to dire consequences on people’s lives such as poor access to health and education as well as gloomy economic prospects.
Barriers to accessing financial services are many, notably the fees and charges applied by financial institutions, poor coverage of rural areas and the burdensome requirements to open bank accounts.
Blockchain technologies can provide effective and affordable answers to all these issues, making financial inclusion a reality and the engine of a new age of economic and social development.
Roles & Activities
The HelloGold Foundation was set up to support appropriate organisations that uphold its objectives. Its role includes:
1. Structuring and running Token Sales to raise funds for distribution to supported organisations
2. Creating, managing, maintaining, and operating of tokens created through Token Sales.
3. Distributing funds via grants to supported organisations.
4. Deciding on the distribution of any reward to supporters of the Token Sales, including publishing supporting materials as required.
Grants & Investments
During the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 90s, Robin Lee (Founder and CEO of HelloGold) saw first-hand how “bad things can happen to good people” as domestic currencies were hit by extreme devaluation. People who had worked hard woke up to find the value of their savings slashed overnight, with a devastating impact on how they could provide for their families. The challenges of saving and protecting wealth today are no less daunting. Even in ‘normal’ times, cash savers have their wealth eroded due to inflation.
Those saving in gold are protected from fiat currency devaluation; those who hold gold over longer periods can make large profits, especially in local currencies declining against USD (in which gold is denominated globally). But only the wealthier and more sophisticated savers can buy gold in an affordable way. The unfairness of the economics impacts those least able to fend for themselves.
HelloGold has developed and launched a product to enable low to medium income customers (mass market) to buy and sell gold, anytime, anywhere. The gold bought and sold are of investment grade (99.99% purity) and are securely vaulted with an independent, LBMA approved vaulting operator in Singapore. Other features include the ability to physically redeem the gold or gift the gold to other account holders. Additionally, customers can use their gold as collateral for loans provided by Aeon Credit Services, giving them access to personal finance when required at best-in-market rates. This product has been recognised as Shariah compliant by Amanie Advisors based on the AAOIFI Shariah Standard on Gold.
The System has customer mobile applications (native Android and iOS) communicating with a backend built with 2 parts, a core Central Web Service (Ruby) and Agent (Go). The current database uses Postgres technology. Relevant parts of the backend are being migrated to Ethereum smart contracts to improve transparency and security for the customer gold transactions, whilst providing the basis for gold backed crypto tokens. The smart contracts are being prototyped and the test infrastructure put in place. Next comes the integration with the current system which will be balanced between the immediate needs of the business and getting the blockchain to the market in a timely manner.
The team is made up of ex-regulators, business experts and technologists who have direct experience in general management, financial management, payments and settlement systems, business development, programming, blockchain technology, financial messaging standards, operations management, financial inclusion, micro-credit, compliance, risk and audit. Previous working experience of the team includes World Gold Council, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, KPMG, Bain & Company, Royal Bank of Scotland, Wolff Olins, Bangkok Bank, Malaysian Securities Commission, AEON Credit Services, and AirAsia. An overview of the team can be found here.