EthicHub is a crowdlending start-up based on Blockchain. The company has been distinguished as one of the best proposals of Fintech for this year and won the FinTech 2018 Award for “FinTech with the Greatest Social Impact”. Recently we interviewed Gabriela Chang Valdovinos (Gabriela below) from EthicHub and she shared us how EthicHub is disrupting the Fintech market and their further steps.
GO: Who is EthicHub?
Gabriela: EthicHub is a social network to invest in positive impact projects, directly connecting borrowers and lenders on a profitable relationship for both parties: a true peer-to-peer interaction thanks to blockchain. We are a multicultural team of highly qualified professionals from different backgrounds, and above all, visionaries and dreamers with a strong belief on the common good as guideline for real progress. EthicHub is also a very commited community who has given this project lots of valuable feedback and the economic support to build its foundations. Thanks to them we were able to launch our platform’s prototype almost three months ahead our ICO.
GO: What inspired your idea?
Gabriela: Living between two worlds (europe and latinamerica) provided the necessary insight to understand there were two problems that could be the solution to each other: on this side we get low profits from our savings at the banks, whilst there they have difficult access to loans, with very high interest rates even for profitable projects.
GO: What particular benefits brings the blockchain technology to your project? Would this very same project be impossible to carry out without the blockchain?
Gabriela: Originally we intended to carry on this business idea with Fiat, but all the regulatory and financial barriers for the movement of small amounts of money across borders made it unfeasible. Blockchain enables direct connections (peer-to-peer) and allows for a global financial inclusion, and at the same time provides the transparency needed to trust stranger across the world.
GO: Recently you launched EthichHub Alpha, what are the major obstacles that you have had to face especially throughout this tricky stage?
Gabriela: We are one of the very few startups already working on smart contracts. Blockchain technology is still on a very early stage, thus everything is still developing. The UX (user experience) is still too difficult for the average user but it’s just a question of time, so we encourage our community to become pioneers and help them through the whole process. Our support team is amazing!
GO: We are increasingly starting to see companies whose main purpose is trying to improve society as a whole, as a way of making profit. This ground is being defined as social business responsibility. What is EthicHub´s differentiator and what is your strategy for making an impact in our society as a socially responsible company?
Gabriela: We believe mutual benefit should be the driver of sustainable economic development. But money by itself is not enough: it needs to be accompanied by training and education to really transform a society for better. We intend to make an asset out of reputation, so people will learn that being trustworthy is actually profitable.
GO: We would like to congratulate you for winning the Spanish Fintech Awards for Social Impact. We understand Social Impact is your main driver, has this accomplishment inspired you even further in the direction of Social Responsibility?
Gabriela:We are very proud but even more grateful for receiving this kind of awards because they give visibility to the project and more people and institutions get interested and involved: we have wonderful collaborators, as the UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) which is conducting the Impact measurement of the communities receiving this loans.
GO: We have heard about your partnership with Mobilum. How is this new synergy going to affect your goals and business development strategy?
Gabriela: Mobilum is a payment processing platform which enables real-time cryptocurrency payments at points of sale using customers existing debit or credit card. EthicHub will integrate Mobilum’s wallets into its platform, enabling EthicHub users an easier handling of their crypto and fiat currencies. This will be paramount for the unbanked farmers living far from banks: Mobilum technology will allow them to have a nominative debit card to receive their loans and to pay them back. And also, EthicHub loans will be displayed on Mobilum’s App to offer their users the opportunity to invest in highly profitable positive impact projects.
GO: Can you share with us your future expectations for this project? How far are you planning to go?
Gabriela: We want to prove that a better and more inclusive economy is possible and that ICOs are a wonderful way of democratizing access to funding great ideas as long as it is used with common sense and good practices. To the average cryptoinvestor we may look a bit conservative, but we are adopting traditional VC strategies in order to scale globally: our “niche” is 2 billion unbanked people, so we have a roadmap to fulfill our goals stage by stage and become a global reference.
GO: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who would also like to make a profitable impact in society?
Gabriela: Find a real problem to solve and don’t give up, find the right team who shares vision and values and build a community of true believers because this is the most valuable asset for a blockchain project.
GO: Talking about Blockchain, in EthicHub’s words…are we in the right track for a new tech era in the near future or you believe our society is not ready yet for such a massive change?
Gabriela: Technology modifies the way people relate to each other: Think of social networks and all the Apps that allow us to share car rides or houses with strangers, to attend meet ups on new cities. I think blockchain will further improve trusting this kind of relations because we are shifting from capital based economics to community based economics because of the value of this interactions. So we not only believe we are prepared, we believe we are already living this evolution to Human Based Economics.