In order to solve economic stagnancy in low-income communities, Quipu creates local digital markets that enable trade through a mutual credit system. Through Quipu, institutional, self-employed, formal and informal sector workers belonging to the same community can create their own business profiles and exchange goods and services using a local currency.

The local digital market increases business activity by promoting visibility and connecting businesses to their community, ensuring that wealth is created and shared locally. The creation of a local mutual credit system increases users purchasing and saving power because, as a complement for trading, they can use the local credit to buy within the local market and reserve national currency to either save, invest, or spend outside of the community.

Quipu operates on a web based and app platform that takes advantage of the high penetration of smartphone and internet in informal settlements (75% penetration in Latin America). We aim to be a disruptive digital tool to build economic justice in communities of the Global South by fusing technological innovations like blockchain with grassroots-community-organizing in order to alleviate some of the pressing market failures that plague such communities. The app improves a seller’s management and visibility, helps organize collective buying from suppliers and/or replace imports with local production, and create new associations between shoppers in the same industries. The registered transactions between users are then used to create a financial score within Quipu that can enable access to bank loans to empower their businesses or improve their living conditions in the long term, incentivizing the use of Quipu.

Mercedes Bidart

Juan Cristobal Constain

Gonzalo Ortega

Jonathan Laguna

Francisco Susmel

A marketplace digitalization of informal economies operating in low income environments