The refugee crisis is still a huge problem. It affects the developing world as people leave war-torn or famine-stricken countries and resettle in refugee camps, often in other developing nations. And it affects countries like the United States and western European nations as refugees seek to build new lives in places with economic opportunities.
But those economic opportunities are not always accessible to refugees - sometimes because of immigration policies, but often because they have no way to validate their history or their identity.
"Life is about a collection of activities and events. It’s like starting your life all over again every time, when you don’t have an identity. So it has a huge implication on whether you stay in poverty or not, and whether you have access to the global economy or not," says Hamse Warfa, a former refugee now living in Minnesota.
Warfu is one of the founders and the executive vice president of business development for BanQu, an app that uses the technological backbone of Bitcoin to help refugees reclaim their identity.
He explains, "The technology that Bitcoin leverages is called blockchain, and blockchain is a decentralized distributed ledger. It empowers people to have a secure means to collect data and build a credit history without corporate control, without a centralized database."
Since its founding around five years ago, BanQu is in use with more than 25,000 people on four continents.