Financial systems have existed since the beginning of civilization. Over time, they have undergone a vast number of transformations, changing the formats and principles of interaction. However, the essence of Financial Systems has always prevailed – helping people realize their needs. Financial systems started as informal savings and lending groups and evolved into co-operatives, mutual insurances, and co-operative banks, which became the commercial and retail banks that we know today through centuries of growth, mergers, and acquisitions. The current legacy system has become opaque, inefficient , and too big to fail . The fintech revolution aims to correct these failures by disrupting the financial market and creating new, community-focused models.
Akropolis is a financial protocol for the growing billion-dollar informal economy . Autonomous Financial Organizations have existed for centuries. They are common throughout the world, whether as rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), or co-operatives. Through rigorous research, we have found that Kenyan Chamas –saving circles – are the most profitable informal financial organizations. Chamas register US$4bn in savings annually and the overall informal economy contributes more than 47% of Kenya’s GDP. However, due to the nature of their informality, these organizations are oftentimes subject to fraud, fund mismanagement, and corruption.
We believe that the future of finance belongs to user-owned – but not necessarily user-governed – networks. Our thesis proposes that banks and other financial corporations will be replaced by a federated network of autonomous co-ops, each of which will act in the interests of its owners and interact with other parties in a single digital financial landscape. The Akropolis protocol aims to create this new digital financial landscape by providing a unified program interface for the cooperation and exchange of value of digital financial organizations.