Ruby on Rails

Cadenapp is a project I co-founded and built in Bogotá in 2023. It's a Rails app that addresses the problem of financial exclusion in Colombia, where 2/5 adults don't have access to classic banking services, especially in lower strata. As a consequence, 10% of Colombians resort to a method known as "cadenas" to save their money. We tried to offer a digital, user-friendly twist to this age-old practice, empowering individuals to gather funds in a more accessible and transparent way.

2024-02-15-190837.png Cadenapp's homepage

Background and objectives

In Colombia, "cadenas" are informal saving funds created by relatives who collectively commit to sparing a part of their income. This financing technique has existed for a long time under different names across the globe (peer-2-peer lending, savings circles, etc.) but the operating principle remains the same. The practice empowers participants to self-fund projects affordably, without relying on credit or falling victim to usurious lending. They are particularly popular in countries with an exclusionary banking system and a deep informal economy.

What sets cadenas apart from these funds is their structured installment schedules and specific withdrawal sequences. At the beginning of each cadena, participants define when each of them will have to pay their contribution and who gets to withdraw the total amount collected at each turn. This allows the earliest contributors in the withdrawal sequence to quickly access substantial sums of money. And it helps the remaining participants to uphold disciplined saving habits, positioning themselves favorably to finance future endeavors with their Cadena group.

Yet, the advantages of Cadenas have traditionally been hindered by their organizational complexity and their informal nature. The definition of the withdrawal sequence is normally done in-preson and by hand with numbers that are drawn randomly by an administrator. The collection and distribution of the money also requires participants to gather physically at regular intervals. And finally, the accountability and organization of the process depends on the administrator's trustworthiness.

Enter Cadenapp, an app that helps savers to easily and safely build and manage cadenas from their phones!

Our app strives to offer the following primary benefits:

Ease of use

  • Initiating a savings circle with friends and family is as simple as a few taps, and it's free.
  • The participation process is simpler than the traditional method, allowibg instant and decentralized interactions.
  • An automated alert and reminder system ensures contributions run smoothly, reducing delays.

Transparency and control

  • Users meet by invitation, they are validated by the app and the administrator. Any user can withdraw before the start of the cadena.
  • Real-time tracking of payment progress and saved amounts provides users with full visibility.

Financial inclusion

  • Cadenapp does not require an investment goal, bank account, or minimum funds
  • Users can recharge their account through different payment methods, further enhancing accessibility

With Cadenapp, we aim to bridge the gap in financial inclusion, offering a modern, user-friendly solution to the age-old practice of Cadenas, empowering individuals to save and invest in a more accessible and transparent way!

2024-02-15-190838.png The lifecycle of a cadena built on Cadenapp between 4 fictional users A, B, C & D

Our implementation

Details coming soon!

→ Let's get in touch

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