Final Project II

Doing Good Is Good Business

Digital Currency – Platform distributed to schools making them “banks”

After meeting with our professors via Skype,  we concluded to 3 different financial sections in which we explored and talked about.

  1. Access to Digital Currency
  2. Data collection
  3. Financial Literacy

We have decided to focus on Access to digital currency, or a platform to digital currency, using schools.

Problem statement:

The problem of being unbanked affects 2 billion people in the world, the impact of which is that they have no access to credit, insurance, savings, and payments.  

(we are focusing on savings and payments)

Compelling stories:

7% of American families are unbanked and 20% are underbanked, according to the FDIC.

Reasons given:
“Do not have enough money to keep in account”

“Avoiding bank gives more privacy”

“Don’t trust banks”

“Account fees too high/unpredictable”
“Of the unbanked participants in the 2015 survey, 57.4% responded that one of their reasons for being unbanked was that they “do not have enough money to keep in an account”.”

Amazon, recognizing that being unable to access credit/debit cards to use their service is a problem, is starting a new service to convert Cash to Amazon currency

Many American companies are now using payroll cards to pay their employees, and if they do not have a bank account, they must pay fees to withdraw their money.

The following link is great! It costs American households $40B a year total for using cash, mostly because of the time to go get cash.

Every year, somewhere between 10-30% of world’s poorest households manage to escape poverty. During the same period, roughly an equal number of households sip below the poverty line. Health related emergencies are the most common cause.

System diagrams:

Timeline (during this whole process, we will be working on our presentation):

5th April Come up with problem statements, system diagrams, and compelling stories
12th April Ideation and Prototyping
19th April Prototyping and Testing
26th April Presenting at school (Have final presentation done)
3rd May Presenting at UNICEF.


Final Project

Doing Good Is Good Business

For our final project, we will be pitching to Unicef a project idea which involves finance, and how we can use finance in order to do good to those who need it.

My team and I, have understood that there is no real financial literacy in a lot of Countries, and therefore they do not understand how to save, or the idea of banking is not something they want. The other issue is money transfer – how do we let people who do not have banks, or any technologies transfer money?

What is the Big Problem (i.e. Affects 1 b. People)

2 billion unbanked people in the world

What is the specific problem (So this affects 1b people… where is a specific concrete starting point where you see the need most

  1. Women should be in charge of financial in household
  2. How do u make bank transfers cheaper?
  3. microfinance (kiva, givedirectly) indonesia?
  4. gramine model?
  5. loan from bank, loan form family?

What’s a link between that and the environment you’re living (i.e. “Something closer to home”)

  1. Visa and mastercard – digital platforms instead of banking –  check out research they have done
  2. GSMA
  3. Telefonica – AURA – user version of the 4th platform

What types of 100B$ technology *might* be able to impact this (broad stroke – think crazy)

3-5 links of resources that you have researched that specifically speak to you about this problem



Things to think about:

  • Mobile banking
  • mobile “money” (mPesa) (safarica)
  • Digital currency – bitcoin
  • Offset currency – informal economy – 11.8% of spain is informal economy – molses naim (illicit)


Readings week 7

Doing Good Is Good Business

“Let’s put governments in the driver’s seat to fight poverty in their own countries”.  – Since we are now exploring all the themes for our final projects, I have been thinking a lot about the issues that interest me the most: education, violence, and agriculture. The articles this week presented us with past projects that have been implemented for doing good in certain Countries where they lack resources. What I love about this class is the fact that I will be creating a project that will ultimately “help” those in need – at least that is the goal. However, I have mentioned this in class many times, that I truly believe that in order to solve some of these issues is by educating those who do not know about these issues – starting with us. But, although this is something that I feel very strongly about, it is also important to understand that you cannot always implement something in other people’s homes and cultures and religions (which I have also mentioned before in my other blog posts). I think we should all be trying to DO GOOD, but the government should also be involved and want to change some of these corruptions, which in my experience is not always something they want to do. There is government corruption everywhere and it is important that this corruption does not prevent the doing good from happening.

Readings Week 6

Doing Good Is Good Business

On the readings that we had this week, what I gathered from them specifically, is this idea of being able to solve one problem first, and then being able to solve those problems on a grander scale. Open source technology is a good way to do that, because people are then able to gather the information on how certain products like Magic Box were built, and then use that information to make something that contributes to something bigger. What I also found interesting is this idea of using technology that already exists which can be outdated – like SMS. Instead of trying to invent new things to help those in need, why not use some of the technology that is already accessible to them in order to maybe make that technology better. It is important to also understand the culture of country too before determining what technology they need or do not need.

If Blockchain can solve the issue of Government Corruption, how would this benefit certain countries? It is interesting to understand the economic state of each Country, because that contributes to the reason as to why some people have nothing, and some people have everything. So if Blockchain can make everything so transparent, then would this maybe bring out certain aspects as to why some do not have money, and thus fix the situation? Would Blockchain be a solution for Countries that have a great divide between the rich and the poor?

Class Readings week 4

Doing Good Is Good Business

Blockchain Technologies and Provenance

Blockchain technologies will affect the way charities raise money due to the transparency, the price, and therefore less corruption. After reading about Blockchain technologies, and bitcoin, I guess my question is do people give enough to charities? And if so, how many people do, and does it actually help? I remember watching Unicef advertisements, but even when I felt remorse, I am also guilty of not picking up my phone and donating money. So basically my question is, do we as consumers ever want to give our money away to charity? Most of the times we do not, due to the fact that some of these charities may be corrupt, or just not reliable enough, or have an expensive fee. Therefore, blockchain technologies create that transparent illusion which shows you instantly where your money goes, which is a huge deal for those who do not trust most charities.

The readings this week generally made me understand how mobile technology can help to develop new and sophisticated ways to help people that need it. Just like the mobile money services, and Bitcoin helping with electricity. Provenance in this situation, has managed to create a mobile service in order to track fish, just by sending an sms! These are the kind of things that Bitcoin can really help with, and also why a lot of big national banks are moving to block chain, which could be a very big step for these campaigns and projects.

Package Delivery Challenge

Doing Good Is Good Business

All existing telecommunication networks are down. A message needs to be delivered from ITP, 721 Broadway, to UNICEF HQ, 3 UN Plaza, in under 15 minutes. How can you make sure it reaches its destination? What are three alternatives ways with their relative timings/difficulties?

When thinking about this question, we came up with a bunch of ideas and categorized them in unrealistic, realistic, unprepared, and prepared ideas.

Send Message
walkie talkie
smoke signals
semaphore line

Prepared for Blackout
courier pigeon
missile > parachute
analog uber
build a bridge
over traffic buses
monster truck

motorcycle / scooter
subway & sprinting
hail a cab
NYU security / golf cart
police car
passing package
remote control car

hot air balloon
sling shot
hand off package to UPS
flying car
paper airplane
hover board

We concluded that out of all these ideas the top three that would the most efficient, would be:

  1. Biking – the most realistic as most people have a bike, and is easy to guide. On Google Maps, it says that it takes 19 minutes to nike from ITP, to the UNICEF HQ, so we figured that 19 minutes could become 15 minutes if we biked really fast.
  2. Drones – as we have read in our readings, Drones are relatively cheap (and becoming cheaper) to deliver packages, and thus it would be an efficient to use in this circumstance. However, it would have to be used with a remote control if the GPS is down.
  3. Walkie Talkie’s – If we were delivering a message, and NOT a package, walkie talkie’s can be used without relying on telecomm existent infrastructure. It’s important to also note that this would mean that both ITP and UNICEF HQ have walkie talkies.


In an attempt to try one of these out, we strapped a GoPro on Kenzo’s head and he tried to bike ride to the UNICEF HQ.

The link to our presentation:


Readings Week 3

Doing Good Is Good Business

When reading about how Amazon can use drones to deliver their packages, I was imagining what life would be like if we looked up at the sky and their were drones flying everywhere. Although it is a cool concept, is it really necessary for packages that are not vital to us? For example, Drones were used to deliver medicine to small communities that do not have roads. Thinking about that, makes me think that in that specific situation, you would look up at the sky, and know that “help” is on the way. Drones for the moment in my opinion should be used primarily for helping communities that need the medicine and the transportation for this medicine, because it is necessary. The CEO of Uber talks about efficiency – although the idea of drones could make Amazon more efficient, it is important to also note that maybe we should come up with more efficient ideas for those who need it the MOST. Both Amazon and Uber, are trying to take this efficiency of their companies and carry it through to the Countries that need it the most, and that is important for big cooperations to do. On that note, the data from all the Uber cars in all these different countries, could possibly give us more insights on lifestyle and environments in other cultures, and thus become more understanding when bringing in new technologies. In Cyprus, for example, even though we are a much more advanced country when it comes to technology, people are still frightened by it, and thus it is important to always be aware of the culture and to not force it onto others.

Class Readings

Doing Good Is Good Business

It is interesting to see the correlation between Social media and economic status, as well as comparing different data with Social media. We are always connected, and are not hesitant of what we “like” or put up on our social media accounts – therefore, it is not surprising that people analyze this data based on our social media platforms. As we have been told in class, big data could save a lot of people in certain countries, and therefore having a smart way to analyze this data would be beneficial to some communities. However, data can be used for bad, and that is where it becomes frightening. I’m curious to see how we are gonna analyze data in our class for our projects, and I am curious in how we can gather all this data without social media. I am also excited to hear from out speakers about their experiences with Data, and what they think is important data and what is not. The idea that so much can be gathered from our Social Media accounts, questions government data and how that can be used in comparison to social media data.

Class Prototype

Doing Good Is Good Business

Today in class, we had to redesign the experience of communicating with a loved one far away from your partner or someone you love. In partners, we discussed about our loved ones and how we choose to talk to them if we are far away, and my partner was telling me about how she Skype’s with her mum once a week. Her mum does not have a smart phone, and she emails her when she wants to Skype. After having a long discussion about her non-techy mum, I came up with the Skype Smart Device. It would be like having an iPhone, without actually having one. The device will only have 3 functions: Call, Contacts list, and a built in Camera. This way, she can use it in a simple and more portable way. After discussing this with my partner, it was clear that my device had some issues – for example, why would her mother want a landline, a computer, and a Skype device? In this case, maybe it would have been better to combine some of these technologies together.