Humaniq: crypto-finance for the undocumented and unbanked - Smith + Crown

Humaniq: crypto-finance for the undocumented and unbanked

Humaniq aims to increase the use and awareness of cryptocurrencies in some of the poorest regions of the world. They will implement bio-identification and mobile technology to bring crypto-finance services to the unbanked.

Update: Due to Chinese exchanges freezing withdrawals, Humaniq has postponed its ICO to April 6th, 2017.

The World Bank estimates that there are 1.5 billion people globally who don’t have a  government issued ID. This makes it impossible for these individuals to meet Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines and open up a traditional bank account. Humaniq proposes to solve this problem by using bio-identification to create personal identities on a blockchain.

A recent World Bank study found that more than 50% of adults in the poorest nations are unbanked. This lack of financial inclusion is a major obstacle to global poverty reduction. It is a relatively untapped market that banks have been trying to enter, but the lack of consistent, reliable identification has been a barrier to offering services.

Recently, Smith + Crown published original research about another blockchain project trying to increase financial inclusion–WeTrust. WeTrust wants to provide  people without credit histories with access to short term personal loans sourced through community lending circles. While the lack of credit history is a significant hurdle to gaining access to basic financial services for some, Humaniq aims to tackle an even more fundamental barrier facing many of the unbanked–a lack of official identification.

Project Description

What is the project?

Humaniq is a mobile wallet for transacting and storing Humaniq Coins (HMQ). The app will use universally recognizable symbols instead of words, in order to make it accessible to a diverse group of end users. The app will be designed with the cheapest Android smartphones in mind, making it affordable to the users who need it most.  

The Humaniq app will use biometric identification technology, such as face and voice recognition, to verify user accounts in lieu of government issued ID. Bio-identification will require a smartphone with a front facing camera and a microphone. The most affordable android phone on the market that meets these specifications costs about $20. Users will be rewarded with free coins for verifying their account with bio-identification. Humaniq hopes that bio-identification will help them bring crypto-finance services to previously unbanked individuals.


Bio-identification will serve two functions on the Humaniq network–a form of identification that simulates an official government issued ID, and as a method of accessing user wallets that replaces passwords and cryptographic keys. When a new user joins Humaniq, they will be required to set up a biometric-ID that will later be used to sign them into their account. Once the biometric-ID process is complete, the user is eligible to begin minting Humaniq Coins and transacting across the network. Presumably, the biometric-ID is linked with a cryptographic hash that serves as their permanent address for sending and receiving payments.

Storing bio-identification on a blockchain is challenging–biometric-ID markers have to be linked to hash keys such that the hash key is immutable even when a person’s voice and facial features may change. biometric-IDs also have to be stored securely and accurately. A digital library of even 1 million biometric IDs (Humaniq is looking to have upwards to 2 billion users on their network) would require a significant amount of storage space and computing power to manage. A decentralized network of low-end smart phones would probably not be able to provide the resources needed.  It is not clear how Humaniq plans to overcome these technical challenges. Humaniq will partner with a biometric-ID technology firm rather than creating those technologies from scratch. They have yet to announce an official partnership.

What is the token being sold?

What is its role on the platform?

The Humaniq coin is intended to be used as a store of value and a means of payment. It doesn’t have any other roll on the network. In order to make the Humaniq Coin intuitive and to simplify the math involved in transactions, the coin will not be divisible. All transactions over the network will require whole integer amounts.

Ethical Token Emission

Cryptocurrency distribution globally has been concentrated in regions with the greatest access to capital and infrastructure resources. This has partly been a function of mining rewards, which distributed the majority of cryptocurrency rewards in the United States, Europe, and SE Asia.

Humaniq proposes an emission schedule that rewards users for creating identities on the blockchain and transacting over the network. In this scheme, the number of coins that a user can earn through minting is limited. Early adopters earn the largest rewards, starting at 860 coins for the first user who signs up and decreasing incrementally until it drops to 140 coins for the 2 billionth person to sign up. Coins are rewarded to users over time depending on how often they use the network, rather than all at once as a lump sum.

The emission rate will respond to the market price of the Humaniq coin, pausing when the price is falling, and resuming when the price rises. The price will be considered “falling” when the current price is less than the average price for the previous week.

What are the sale terms?

Humaniq Pre-Sale

In December 2016, Humaniq raised 133 Bitcoin in their presale, worth $110,000 at the sale’s close. Since the pre-ICO, Humaniq has made significant improvements to their websites and sought out advice from experts.

What is the price?

The Humaniq ICO runs from April 6th, 2017 to April 27th, 2017. The sale will accept Bitcoin and Ethereum. 1 ETH will buy 1000 HMQ. ICO participants can earn bonuses by contributing early on in the sale, but at time of writing, the bonus schedule for the new ICO dates hasn’t been released.

Because HMQ are non-divisible, bonuses will be rounded down to the nearest whole number. The fractional bonuses that aren’t distributed will be summed together and placed in a pot. At the end of the ICO, one participant will be rewarded the pot, rounded up to the nearest whole number. The winner will be selected pseudo randomly with an edge given to users who contribute the most heavily. This will discourage users from contributing multiple times using different addresses.

How will HMQ be distributed?

The white paper says that 20% of the total supply of HMQ will be distributed in the pre-sale and the ICO. The total supply of HMQ  will be five times greater than the amount sold. The white paper does not specify what will happen to 80% of the supply not sold off in the crowdsale. Presumably it will be distributed to users through the emission mechanism outlined above.


Escrow services are being provided by three top members of the Humaniq team and two third parties. This is somewhat unusual. Generally, the purpose of an escrow is to prevent team members from accessing funds until after token distribution.  

What is the project status?

Humaniq has already has a prototype version of its application for iOS and Android. The apps aren’t publicly available, but the Huamaniq team promises to send the prototype person of the app to anyone who requests access through their website. A The full product launch is scheduled by the end of April 2017.

Who is the team behind the project?

The Humaniq team consists of blockchain evangelists from all over the world including Botswana, Australia, Zimbabwe, Sierra leone, Ghana, Lesotho, and South Africa. They do not seem to have any developers listed on their website.

Founder Alex Fork

Cheif Marketing Officer Richard Kastelein

Bitcoin Evangelist Alakanani Itireleng

  • Alakanani was Botswana’s first Bitcoin Evangelist. According to her bio on Cryptor Trust, she has a BA in Education and a MA in Business Administration a well as 10 years of experience working as an educator.
  • In 2014, Vice published an article about Alakanani on their Motherboard blog.
  • In March 2017 she has opened Satoshi center for Bitcoin education  in Botswana.