Round 8
Winner
FijiCoin
$50,000
*

Reimagining remittances in the South Pacific

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INTRODUCTION

“As COVID-19 still devastates families around the world, remittances continue to provide a critical lifeline for the poor and vulnerable.” - Michal Rutkowski, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.


Defying predictions, the World Bank reports that global remittance flows have proved to be resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, officially recorded remittance flows to low-and-middle-income countries reached $540 billion, only 1.6 percent below the $548 billion seen in 2019.


With an increased desire for migrants to support their families back home and the economic conditions in host countries proving favourable (e.g. stimulus packages), paired with shifts in flows from informal to formal channels (from hand-carry cash to digital remittances), the flow of global remittances to low-and-middle-income countries is expected to reach $565 billion by 2022.


CHALLENGES

The tiny archipelago nations in the South Pacific are often overlooked or deprioritized when it comes to expediting tangible, achievable solutions to real-world and sometimes life-threatening problems.


As we enter an age of rapid acceleration and transformation, Fijians and Pacific Islanders who are the most vulnerable to the impacts of adverse macro and micro economic conditions are left behind.


The people of the Pacific rely heavily on remittances and there has been very little improvement from service providers, to help reduce the cost of transactions and to meet UN SDGs.


THE SOLUTION

Built on the Stellar network, we would like to develop a new pathway for remittances into the South Pacific. A pathway that removes the need for traditional intermediaries and one that gives frictionless access to global financial systems to those who are often forgotten. We call it FijiCoin (working title).


FijiCoin will be a FIAT-collateralized stablecoin, pegged against the Fijian Dollar. 


We will play the role of asset issuer, anchor and wallet to help facilitate transactions, manage reserves and the necessary compliance in each relevant jurisdiction. We will also play a leading role in introducing on/off-ramps into Fiji and the South Pacific.


We are in discussions with the Reserve Bank of Fiji (Central Bank) and have made a submission to their FinTech Regulatory Sandbox. They will be a key stakeholder in allowing us to tokenize the Fijian FIAT and help guide us with regulatory and compliance requirements for FX controls, monetary policy, transparency and security.


By removing the traditional barriers of sending and receiving remittances to loved ones, our aim is to help fight poverty through enhanced financial inclusion and to improve the lives and livelihoods of Fijians and South Pacific Islanders.


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What's new?
Goals & Budget

Two core goals for this initial phase of the project:
1.  to tokenize the Fijian FIAT on Stellar, to develop a stablecoin.
2. to develop an MVP mobile wallet to support cross-border transactions of the stablecoin.

Measures of success will be the successful development of the Fijian FIAT stablecoin and an MVP wallet to support payments. A bulk of this project will be self-funded, but the SCF will help support with any development costs on Stellar. Timelines for a stablecoin and MVP wallet are ambitions and we are working towards December 2021 for products to be ready for testing. Working with the Reserve Bank of Fiji (Central Bank), we hope to have our solution in their sandbox regulartory testing environment before the end of the year (2021)."

To get there, we  will use our requested budget to:

Following feedback from the wider community during the discussion phase of SCF#8, we are slightly updating the phases within our delivery roadmap.


Thank you to those who have been kind enough to spend time giving us feedback.
We are super grateful and really appreciate your help in strengthening our submission.

  • Phase 1 (Complete): Submit an application to the Reserve Bank of Fiji to gain access to their FinTech regulatory sandbox.
  • This step has been completed and the RBF are reviewing our submission to tokenize the FJD FIAT into a stablecoin.
  • At some stage we may need the help of the minds from the SDF to hold further discussions with the Fijian Government.
  • Phase 2 : Issue an asset onto the Stellar network
  • This remains one of our top priorities. While discussions continue with the Fiji Government, we'd like to start by issuing an asset on the Stellar Network.
  • Rather than waiting for the Stablecoin to be confirmed, valued and circulated, we can gain momentum by confirming our proof-points with a token.
  • This will act as an interim-anchor on the Stellar network to begin validating transactions and testing with beta audiences.
  • Phase 3: Develop an MVP wallet
  • In parallel to issuing an asset, we'll build an MVP wallet.
  • The community has given us feedback on which networks we can leverage to support this.
  • An example is using Wyre API to begin testing between US, EU, AUD, NZD currencies and our token, in exchange for XLM (to start with).
  • We see this as a critical step, allowing us to begin our beta testing with a small group of early adopters we will be speaking to.
  • Phase 4: Audience validation/ feedback and behavioural insights
  • Phase 5: Develop Marketing & Comms material
  • Phase 6: Begin beta testing
  • With the interim-anchor, while discussions continue with Fiji Government stakeholders.
  • Phase 7: Test, Learn, Iterate, Improve
  • We want to focus on UX/ UI here, but also network infrastructure, for future scaling.
  • Phase 8: Go-to-market
  • Launch with our interim-anchor and continue to push for stablecoin recognition with the Fiji Government.
  • At this point, I'd love to strengthen our relationship with members of the SDF, to assist with any necessary regulatory discussions with the Government.

Timelines: in retrospect, our initial timelines were ambitious. From feedback received, we've updated our timelines, to reflect realistic delivery timelines.

  • Sept - Dec: phases 1-to-7
  • Jan onwards: phases 4-to-8
Overview

Target Market

Starting with Fiji and scaling to other South Pacific Island Nations, via the PIRI FinTech Sandbox, opening in January 2022.


Core consumer audience required for adoption is Fijians residing in Fiji (recipient) and the Fijian diaspora mainly found in Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom and Europe (sender).

Revenue Model

We will self-fund a bulk of the marketing and communications activity ourselves. A combination of print and online will be used in the marketing channel mix. 

  • Print for local communities and online for senders. 
  • Paid and organic, Search and Social, lookalike audiences and email marketing will be used for prospecting and remarketing as this is where audiences are. 
  • Earned media will also be leveraged to further strengthen our messaging. 

We are skilled, experienced and connected in advertising and marketing and will complete above-the-line activity ourselves.

Market Research

Market and audience insights have been addressed in earlier sections of this submission.

- Problem/ Solution/ Challenges
More information can also be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EwqJCoTsyjAA5hcKFfUP68Td7bGO1PJ3/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=114300064913039155313&rtpof=true&sd=true

Threats and Opportunities

SWOT has been addressed in earlier sections of this submission.
- Problem/ Solution/ Challenges
- Target Market

Competition

Direct Competitors:
- Traditional Banks in Fiji:
- ANZ
- BSP
- Westpac

Traditional Remittance Service Providers
- Western Union

Telco Digital Payment Gateways
- Vodafone MPAISA
- Digicel MyCash

Indirect:
- M-Vatu/ M-Tala in Vanuatu/ Samoa respectively
- TBD's Ave Pa'anga Pau in Tonga
- KickEx Pacific in Samoa
- Digicel mobile money in Tonga.
- Onlne FX traders, not yet supporting FJD
- Stripe
- Paypal

Marketing and Sales

We will self-fund a bulk of the marketing and communications activity ourselves.


A combination of print and online will be used in the marketing channel mix. 

  • Print for local communities and online for senders. 
  • Paid and organic, Search and Social, lookalike audiences and email marketing will be used for prospecting and remarketing as this is where audiences are. 
  • Earned media will also be leveraged to further strengthen our messaging. 

We are skilled, experienced and connected in advertising and marketing and will complete above-the-line activity ourselves.

Resources and Relationships

We are currently in discussions with the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), to particpate in their FinTech Regulatory Sandbox testing environment. This is a new initiative developed by the central bank of Fiji, to help diversity the local economy.

The RBF will play a critical role in assisting us with tokenizing the Fijian FIAT and with a proof-of-concept and (hopefully) the SCF, we can deploy the South Pacific's first institutionally-recognised stablecoin.

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Team
  • Rush Pathak: Co-Founder, Director

Fijicoin is a startup based in Fiji looking to blockchain solutions for remittance pathways into the Pacific.