Daniel Vogel
2016, Mexico
Using the widespread ownership of mobile phones in Mexico and his Bitcoin based platform to increase access to banking services
Computer Science

When Daniel Vogel was studying an MBA at Harvard University (USA), he became aware of some important problems in Mexico: only 40% of adults have a bank account and the rate of access to loans drops to a mere 20%. These statistics seemed alarming to him, so he decided to improve them through financial inclusion projects. Then Vogel uncovered another statistic: in Mexico there are 100 million mobile phones, of which 80% are smartphones. Mexico, therefore, was an unbanked country in which the majority of the population carries a high tech device in their pockets. And it was specifically the intersection between these two trends which led him to define a solution: a mobile-based bitcoin exchange platform, which has led to Vogel´s inclusion in MIT Technology Review´s Innovators Under 35 Mexico 2016 awards.

Under the commercial name Bitso, established in 2014, Vogel offers a "digital bitcoin exchange platform which allows Mexican citizens and companies to establish relationships more quickly, easily, securely and transparently," the young engineer explains. The reliability and security stem from the Bitcoin technology, based on blockchains. Thanks to this technology, "now diverse transactions can be performed which previously would have been impossible," according to Vogel. He detected the growing use of the digital currency in the U.S., Europe and Asia, but noticed that no one in Latin America was aiming to do anything similar.

To date, Bitso has signed agreements with Mexican banks and has achieved direct linkage to deliver funds to mobile bank accounts. "Mobile banking users can receive payments directly in bitcoins," the young computer science engineer from the University of Stanford (USA) points out. Thus Bitso has become a bridge for Mexicans between digital currencies like bitcoin and, according to its founder, there are no other companies in Mexico which offer the services, technology nor pricing structures like Bitso´s.

"Unlike the U.S. and Europe, Mexico has an enormous financial inclusion problem and banking services are expensive, lacking in quality and inaccessible," states Vogel. Accordingly, "facilitating access to Bitcoin technology and its varied benefits in Mexico represents an enormous challenge since money is mainly moved around in cash," according to the associate investor from Dalus Capital Alessandro Paganini. In this jury member for the Innovators Under 35 Mexico 2016 awards´ opinion, "Daniel has achieved this with a secure and innovative project."

Discover all of the winning projects from Innovators Under 35 Mexico 2016