Can you believe that the Stellar Community Fund is already in its 10th round? With the deadline for project submissions rapidly approaching, we’re feeling nostalgic and decided to catch up with one of SCF’s former winners – Alfred Pay.
Alfred Pay is a fintech company building a LATAM-focused remittance platform, first rolling out in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Leveraging the USD Coin (USDC) on Stellar, Alfred Pay wants to make local payments, remittances, and cross-border payments as easy as possible for the sender and recipient. See what Alfred Pay has been up to, and what nuggets of wisdom they have to offer to prospective SCF applicants!
Alfred Pay first came about when Diego Yanez met with his eventual co-founder, Marino Marrero, in the Dominican Republic. Despite the pandemic, the DR still boasted a strong remittance market – the third largest in LATAM. Haiti’s economy had not fared so well, and many Haitians immigrated to the DR, causing them to send money back to their home country in high volumes. Wanting to leverage the DR’s robust remittance infrastructure ($10.4 billion in 2021), Diego and Marino decided to set up a fintech business that would facilitate seamless and affordable remittances back-and-forth between the US, DR, and Haiti, all powered by the Stellar network.
Alfred Pay plans to operate as both an anchor and as a consumer product on Stellar. As an anchor on the Stellar network, Alfred will set up payment corridors between the US, DR, and Haiti. For the US specifically, Alfred has partnered with Wyre to build a fiat-to-crypto onramp that permits users to access USDC on Stellar. Alfred will then build a crypto-to-fiat off ramp into the Dominican Republic and Haiti so that users will be able to exchange USDC for local fiat currencies.
These on/off ramps will then plug into Alfred Pay’s consumer product: a wallet app that will let users send and receive remittances quickly and easily from their phones. With the wallet app, senders may choose to send money either to another Alfred wallet or directly to the recipient’s bank account; users will also be able to locate their nearest ATM to withdraw funds from their Alfred wallet.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working behind the scenes because nailing the first impression is critical. Latin Americans pride themselves on going above-and-beyond in the service they provide incoming tourists, and that’s exactly what we want to do for our users too.”
– Diego Yanez, Co-founder of Alfred Pay
What distinguishes Alfred Pay from other payments-focused products is how its services are tailored to its LATAM users. Taking inspiration from Batman’s butler, Alfred Pay is meant to be a trusted service that provides help in any way possible, no matter what the use case.
For example, the DR has a prominent cash economy and tourism industry; however, on-the-ground workers are unable to maximize their earning potential because tourists often don’t have cash on hand to tip. Alfred Pay will partner with tourist organizations, restaurants, and more to ensure that workers have access to a digital tipping solution without tourists having to deal with the inconvenience of carrying cash.
Philanthropy and charitable work are also at the core of Alfred Pay. The fintech is constantly looking for ways to serve its users with more than just its product, working with nonprofits like Blue Missions to provide clean water and sanitary environments for the DR community.
Alfred Pay wants to build payment corridors and expand its business across all of Latin America. “De la gente, para la gente,” said Diego, pointing out how the Alfred team represents the users the company is meant to serve.
Alfred Pay expects to launch its anchor services in the Dominican Republic this June, before setting its sights on Haiti. As for the Alfred wallet, quick-but-steady wins the race. Alfred Pay plans to launch the wallet product in phases, focusing on strategic growth and polishing the user experience for its first 100 users, before rolling out the wallet into a full launch.
When Alfred Pay saw who it was up against in its SCF round, the team was excited by the caliber of projects leveraging Stellar’s powerful features and by the unique experience of participating in SCF overall. The team realized that building trust in the ecosystem would be key, actively participating in Discord channels and generating bi-weekly videos educating the community about Alfred Pay’s vision and product.
“Interact with the channels and community as much as possible. So many times we felt our posts weren’t being read or acknowledged but it was far from true! I’d recommend establishing a road map like every other product and delivering important information about your product/team that the community would value. Additionally, we were able to build strong relationships with other competing projects and those relationships that will evolve into partnerships down the road.”
– Diego Yanez, Co-founder of Alfred Pay
Winning SCF has opened doors for Alfred Pay to grow and scale. Most recently, Alfred Pay secured a highly coveted spot in the 2022 Cohort of the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, a joint venture between several organizations at UC Berkeley that will provide non-dilutive support in the form of professional development, mentorship, networking, and more.
We can’t wait to see how the rest of Alfred Pay’s journey unfolds! If you want to stay updated on Alfred Pay, check out its website.
And for anybody thinking of apply to the Stellar Community Fund – go for it! More details can be found here: https://communityfund.stellar.org/