Tricia Martinez is a serial entrepreneur and behavioral economist who has devoted her life to solving the problems for underserved consumers around the world. She is the founder of Wala, a zero-fee blockchain, cryptocurrency money app and ecosystem with a mission to support African consumers towards financial freedom. Wala believes that the current financial system is beset with inaccessibility and high fees. As a result, they are building a blockchain/cryptocurrency ecosystem where it is possible to send money to friends and family, pay tuition and top up mobile credit instantly and for free.
Wala was shaped by her previous experiences at cash transfer solutions in Africa, with several positions in small microfinance businesses as well as the development of an investment fund for underserved markets. Martinez even built a cash transfer technology that provided universal income to subsistence farmers in Uganda and tracked the investment and financial well-being of its recipients.
It was this integral and informative career path in the financial inclusion space, working directly with consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where she was exposed to the deeply-rooted complexities and barriers built into the financial systems. Many of the current solutions to economic inclusivity within Sub-Saharan Africa have so far been largely unsuccessful. Well-documented sub-economies of mobile phone credit cashless credit have grown out necessity due to the lack of access to proper banking services. Incredibly, a mobile money transaction fee can be as high as 100% of the transaction.
Building the Future
With her background in behavioral economics, Martinez decided to take a different economic approach and began testing incentives models as a means to influence financial behavior. As a result, Wala was born. So far the startup has received an unprecedented signup and use rate, with over 100,000 Dala wallets and over 3 million on-chain transactions. Wala is aiming to help create a financial platform for the next 3.5 billion people in the emerging markets. Utilizing dual-chain technology,Ethereum and Stellar, certainly seems to be a clever and winning technological framework.
Future plans include further efforts to expand digital services, targeting key demographics. Martinez is well-deserving of the Up-And-Coming Cryptocurrency Founders spotlight.