EthicHub: ReFi protocol to secure lending for impact investing on unbanked small farmers

Name of Project

EthicHub

Almost a quarter of the world population was left excluded from the traditional financial system. The majority of them are smallholder farmers living in poverty despite having productive activities.

Because agricultural cycles quite often last a whole year, these farmers need to borrow working capital to cover for the very basic needs of their family and land until their crop is harvested and sold. With no valid guarantees to access the traditional system, the alternative is shark loans at interest rates higher than 100% yearly and conditioned to selling their harvest at below market price. This is known as the Poverty Cycle or Low Productivity Cycle, because the expensive money they get is also scarce so it is not enough to improve their productivity. After paying the debt, there is little money left so they need to borrow again in an endless and hopeless loop.

Money has a different value depending on the part of the world it is located in. It is way more expensive where it is scarce and difficult to access. But thanks to blockchain and DeFi it is now possible to equalize the access of the money for those currently excluded from TradFi, providing them working capital secured by a collective collateral to improve their productivity and set them free from the Poverty Cycle.

It is possible and very important to solve the financial exclusion of over 1.2 Billion smallholder farmers, not just because of ethical reasons but also because they produce a third of the world’s food. Financing a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture generates a triple impact: social, economic and environmental.

Our solution

EthicHub is an ecosystem to boost and secure impactful financial inclusion for smallholder farmers in a win/win model where all stakeholders benefit from interacting.

Investors from all over the world can benefit from lending working capital to small farmers to improve their living standard through their own productivity.

Investors can also stake collateral on behalf of the farmers to secure their loans so more investors would be willing to lend them working capital, creating a virtual circle for impact investing.

The benefits of our solution

-The powerful synergy from our combined services: a blockchain based crowdlending platform (focused on financing productive agricultural users), secured by our DeFi crowd-collateral with our own token.

-By securing loans for the farmers, we are offering a protected environment for institutional impact investors, thus solving the long time issue of making these funds reach the very base of the pyramid without being diluted among finacial intermediaries.

-We serve the uderserved: the smallholder farmers excluded from the traditional financial system and also from other alternatives because they don’t have data or tokenizable assets.

-Loans on EthicHub’s platform are only intended for productive activities (microloans’ ill reputation for worsening debt levels from borrowers comes from indiscriminated lending for consume).

-Triple impact: social, economic and environmental. By providing means to the small farmers with sustainable agricultural activities (e.g. agroforestry) the rich biodiversity sheltered in their lands is protected.

-The proper incentives loop (game’s theory) created with our token allows for scalability of our solution. To date over $1.5 Million USD have been lended to over 500 families and defaul is kept below 1%.

-Lenders and stakers in EthicHub can be proud of their profits. They don’t need to chose between profits or impact.

Our progress

Summary, as of February 2022

EthicHub was forged by the end of 2017 and six months later, in June 2018 (against odds and cryptowinter) a blockchain based technological bridge was tended between Spain and Mexico: our fully functional MVP was launched, enabling the first transference from a lender in Madrid (Spain) to our first small farmers community in Tapachula (Mexico) using ETH as mean of value transfer, on Ethereum main net.

After a pre-seed led by the IDB Lab by the end of 2019, the crowdlending platform operated with DAI as stable coin.

Some months later, because of the high gas price, in 2020 xDAI was implemented.

By the end of 2021 the Ethix token (ERC20) was launched (on Ethererum main net) and our Compensation System (Crowd-collateral) was implemented to secure all the loans. Up to this date, a default of less than 1% has been kept, and this 1% was fully compensated to lenders by liquidating Ethix from the Compensation System.

Validation, case studies, testimonials, milestones

-A fully operating blockchain based crowdlending platform since june 2018
-Over $1.5 Million USD in microloans with less than 1% default
-More than 500 smallholder farmers benefitted with affordable loans.
-Serving small farmers in Mexico, Brazil and Honduras for now.
-Traded 140 tons of specialty coffee with a 20% price improvement for the producers.
-A fully operating DeFi based crowd-collateral platfom to back the crowdlnding platform.

-IDBLab trusted us in a very early stage (pre-seed)

-Awards and prizes from Fintech, Development and Impact space.

Quotes from lenders:

Capacidad de respuesta, Profesionalismo
Gran proyecto! hace un par de años vengo invirtiendo a través de ellos y feliz de la experiencia y de los resultados obtenidos! Muy recomendable!

Una plataforma para poder invertir en proyectos en los que ayudas a productores agrarios en zonas pobres sin acceso a recursos bancarios. Un win-win en toda regla. Además los chicos que lo llevan son bien majos.

Quots from farmers
”Thank you for trusting us even when you didn’t know us!” ”EthicHub helped us to keep working on our coffee lands, thank you to all the people who lended us money to work”

Our vision

To become the leading protocol to secure impact investing for smallholder farmers excluded from the traditional financial system.

Our mission

To improve the living standard of the smallholder farmers through their own productivity.

Our view on the market & where it’s heading

The Unbanked are a blue ocean opportunity and blockchain allows to serve them financially. Most of them are smallholder farmers producing one third of the world’s food, so the current timing is perfect with its focus on sustainability, food, financial inclusion and triple impact (social, economic and environmental).

Our long-term strategy

We are creating a shorter and more sustainable supply chain where every link adds value and the small farmers are no longer the weakest link.

Why we’re the right team to do it

We count on on-field experience with the problem, so we can translate code into tailored solutions. All of our team members are fully alignd in values y moved by purpose.

This seed round will provide the funds for further technical capabilities (auto invest, NFT bonds going multichain, etc) but also liquidity for the token, listing on CEX, marketing within the crypto space, EthixDAO design and launching. We need help to provide larger liquidy to our token and getting in contact with a wider community to explore synergies.

Proposal ask

$350K USD

External links

https://app.ethichub.com/projects

https://ethix.ethichub.com/

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Based on Harmony Project X’s program (d13: jack-ed), approving this $350K investment

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Based on Harmony Project X’s program (d13: jack-ed), approving this $350K investment

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Investment funded with the following transaction hash recorded on the Harmony Block Explorer

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Hello Harmony Community!
Our main milestones for the month are:
-closing the financing round (still waiting for some impact investors to decide)
-launching the risk minimized bonds (user decide amount and term, the longer term the higher yield, and invest in exchange for an nft bond overcollateralized with ethix tokens). this will be launched in ethereum but we are working on the multichain front end so we can launch in harmony asap.
-4th loan originator kick off.
-at least 6 events in the just opened cryptocafe in madrid which is also our office. this is an independent company funded by gabriela and myself where we want to partner with harmony so it have big protagonism (logo in one door, a cocktail with the name, accept payments on one, regular meetup to actualize about last developments in the community, etc).