January 16, 2021
Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator–(MEDIUM)–The UN estimates that there are over 80 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Even more live in states of economic, social and political instability. While asylum-seekers wait for their claims to be processed, they reside in detention centers with no entitlement to the freedom of movement, residency, citizenship, or work. They usually have no available money — savings are often inaccessible or spent on transit. Work is frequently exploitative; refugees are often grotesquely underpaid or not paid at all. Being rendered stateless is a form of absolute vulnerability.
Leaf Global Fintech (Xcelerator Fa 19) is working to change the lives of these individuals. The Leaf team is using blockchain technology to democratize financial systems for individuals rendered stateless and excluded from society.
The virtual banking startup was founded by Nat Robinson and Tori Samples after the two met at Vanderbilt University in 2017. They partnered up to participate in the Hult Competition, a social impact-focused challenge in which students brainstorm solutions for some of the world’s most pressing problems. Both Nat and Tori had extensive experience in technology and empowering displaced or underbanked individuals, specifically refugees and migrants, in their previous careers.
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