Billetera Activa – a digital wallet accessed via a secure mobile app
A Groundbreaking Model for the Students of San Luis, Argentina to Promote Financial Opportunity, Literacy, Education, and Inclusion
Across Argentina, blockchain technology has been around since the early days of Fintech and cryptocurrency. Initiatives aimed at promoting blockchain development are gaining even more momentum recently with many emerging blockchain-based startups and university programs focused on finance, logistics, supply chain management and more are gaining increasing speed in Argentina.
Most notably, the inland province of San Luis, Argentina has become its own distinct hub of innovation, building on a strong history of deploying social and economic programs to help its communities thrive. This rural region stands apart for its forward-looking adoption of high-speed internet access, vocational training for high-tech jobs, modernized telemedicine, digital prescription services and other technology-backed initiatives that spur information access and promoting economic opportunity and upward mobility.
In fact, San Luis Governor Dr. Alberto Rodríguez Saá has proclaimed digital inclusion to be, “the first human right that is not born from the economy, but from science and technology.” The province’s multiple World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) medals for technological advancements are “proof that [San Luis’s] projects, in the south of the southern cone, are as innovative as in the most developed countries” according to Alicia Bañuelos, the Minister of Science and Technology.
Education is a cornerstone of San Luis’ efforts. In 2010, the province began offering financial incentives for students to earn their high school diplomas, boosting graduation rates by 20% and positioning San Luis above the national average graduation rates. Despite the program’s success, its original graduation award framework, which had been distributing the awards to students via paper certificates that students would physically redeem at a bank for Argentinian pesos, not only made the process of the award’s redemption inconvenient but also made it susceptible to the country’s legendarily high inflation which made its value plummet whether students redeemed the certificate immediately or waited to cash it in. And because students spent the cash from their redemption immediately instead of save the proceeds, that indirectly reinforces a spend-not-save dynamic among the young student population which is a lesson contradictory to what behaviors the province hoped it could avoid but could not in a country with such high inflation.
By 2020, San Luis leaders saw an opportunity to amplify its modernization efforts through blockchain technology. To test the efficacy of this initiative, they decided to launch a pilot program involving the graduation award system, enabling evaluation of this modernization strategy without subjectiving stakeholders to undue risk.
Officials went looking for answers and asked AccelOne to devise a robust and secure technology solution that would entice digital-native users, make their financial data more accessible and secure, and encourage savings and smart money habits by preventing rampant devaluation. Government and project leaders aimed to pilot the initiative with students to gain traction before expanding to the broader population.
“When we started this project, we knew there were opportunities to serve our community with blockchain technology, with a very specific goal in a very short amount of time. The AccelOne team was able to envision the opportunity to make a real impact. We are very grateful for AccelOne’s responsiveness and willingness to work as a team from the beginning; taking our idea and turning it into an application with a real impact on the community, giving their engineers the autonomy to be creative and diligent.” Jeremias J. Thuer. San Luis product owner