Powered by Cardano, Empowa is a DeFi enabled affordable housing and fundraising project. Holders of the native EMP token can participate in initiatives that focus on blockchain technology and sustainable housing in Africa. Also, participants can purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from the Empowa NFT range to showcase their contribution to the platform. The term “real finance (RealFi)” refers to blockchain-based applications that have real-world impact. As the name suggests, Empowa aims to do just that.
In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the Empowa ecosystem. Also, we’ll discuss the utility of the EMP token, the Empowa NFT, and the RealFi property platform. Plus, we’ll explore the relationship between blockchain technology and sustainable housing and the rise of DeFi enabled affordable housing.
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What is Empowa?
Empower is a decentralized fundraising platform that uses blockchain technology to help build affordable housing in Africa. Powered by the native EMP token, the project seeks to empower Africans by providing affordable, sustainable housing and access to financial services that are largely unobtainable.
There is an extremely high barrier to entry in many countries for access to legacy financial products and services. Often, services are only available for the wealthy minority. For example, the average mortgage rate in the United Kingdom is less than 5%. However, in Zimbabwe, the average mortgage rate is around 45%. One can witness a similar disparity in several nations throughout the world. This results in a disproportionate number of people living without permanent residence.
The EMP token is the native utility token of the Empowa ecosystem. It provides a common unit of value undisturbed by external market forces. Furthermore, holders can use the EMP token to purchase “impact cards” that go towards funding housing projects in Africa. Funds received through the sale of impact cards are held in a “currency stabilizer” smart contract for use in future DeFi enabled affordable housing projects.
This smart contract holds an amount of stablecoins equal to that of the native currency where a housing project is in development. The exchange rate between the EMP token and the native currency is recorded when the smart contract receives EMP tokens using a price feed from an oracle.
Following this, the relevant project partner receives the appropriate amount of stablecoins to initiate the building of DeFi enabled affordable housing projects. Upon completing these projects, a property manager has the task of transferring a collection of funds from rent back into the Empower platform using the same native currency stablecoin.
Using identity information about a specific house or project, the smart contract attributes funds from rent payments to the relevant impact cards. These funds are then converted back into EMP tokens at the same rate as the initial exchange. As such, the effect of price fluctuations in local currencies and the EMP token are minimal. Moreover, this means that the returns card owners receive are not affected. Impact card owners can then exchange EMP token returns at any time.
EMP tokens are locked into smart contracts for several years. The reduction in supply has the potential to increase demand through scarcity. Furthermore, as the market value of EMP tokens increases, holders need fewer tokens to purchase impact cards.
Other features of the platform also receive an amount of EMP tokens accrued through rent payments. This includes the Empowa insurance pool, which acts as a reserve to cover any unexpected costs such as land disputes or shortfalls. Also, returns from EMP tokens can act as rewards for yield generators like liquidity pools and staking facilities. This provides further opportunities for wealth creation.
There is a total supply of 200 million EMP tokens. Of these, 140 million tokens will go to housing project sales. Additionally, 30 million EMP tokens will be split through distribution in public sales. The remaining 20% of EMP tokens will go to the Empowa team, advisors, private sales, an Initial Stake Pool Offering (ISPO), and the Operating Fund to provide early market liquidity. Funds from the Operating Fund will be pooled back into housing projects over time.
To enable a stable token emission, the EMP token is subject to linear vesting periods. This vesting period will allow the Empowa team and private sale participants to access tokens after 36 months. Housing projects will see their EMP tokens unlocked after 60 months, while public sale and ISPO participants will be able to access tokens after just six months. Furthermore, the project offers a referral bonus that provides additional tokens proportionate to the number of referrals made.
The Empowa Initial Stake Pool Offering (ISPO) receives an allocation of four million EMP tokens, equating to 2% of the total supply. Powered by Cardano, the ISPO will enable participants to stake ADA tokens to be the first in line to receive EMP tokens. For every ADA token staked, participants will receive an allocation of five EMP tokens. However, unlike traditional staking facilities, ADA tokens are exchanged for EMP tokens and are therefore non-redeemable.
The ISPO launches on October 4th, 2021, with the initial stage beginning on the 7th. The ISPO will continue until the token allocation is fully distributed. Participants can stake in two stakepool offerings. These are EMP1 (Smiles on Africa) and EMP2 (Proof of Africa).
This delegated staking mechanism uses a tiered structure to reward participants based on the duration of their stake. Also, community members who have been with the project from the beginning receive Founding Community NFT (FC NFT) rewards. Plus, Founding Community members earn higher EMP token staking rewards.
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Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is becoming increasingly present sector-wide, with novel use cases emerging frequently. However, for DeFi to truly reach mass adoption and achieve human betterment on a large scale, it must be stable and reliable. Several projects and applications of this sort are now seeing interaction by mainstream users and are responsible for the creation of “real finance” (RealFi).
Real finance (RealFi) is essentially the same as decentralized finance (DeFi) but has popular mainstream interactions and application usage. Moreover, the term ‘RealFi’ is seeing an introduction through a property application, creating a play-on-words with ‘real estate’.
Additionally, real finance (RealFi) is about creating applications that can interact with the real world, making a positive difference. For example, with Empowa, the project is building new physical houses. Building a house in itself requires many hands, including health and safety aspects, the physical building part, and potentially marketing and promotion. With Empowa, each new house creates around eight new jobs. Plus, houses offer resilience to climate change, a place of safety, and can improve educational circumstances. Cardano is making real finance (RealFi) a reality to enable anyone to take out calculated decentralized loans, invest in housing, and operate a fast, cost-efficient payments network.
Empowa is promising to create a range of non-fungible token (NFT) collectibles to support the building of affordable housing in Africa. The funds from the Empowa NFT range enable holders to “grow wealth and access stories of empowerment”. The stories provide case studies for the life-changing impact the project is having on families and communities throughout the continent. Also, the Empowa NFT range gives holders exclusive privileges, bonuses, and access to events.
There will be a distribution of 1,024 limited edition Founding Community NFTs that will be displayed on the Empowa NFT canvas. Once filled, the Empowa NFT canvas will showcase some of the most dedicated community members and their contributions to the ecosystem. Additionally, 176 randomly chosen community members will receive Founding Community NFTs with a Premium status providing further bonuses and privileges.
The Empowa NFT collection demonstrates that the project can deliver on decentralized fundraising initiatives for affordable housing. Moreover, building a diverse community of businesses and individuals with a common goal is key to the project’s proof-of-concept. Sharing these messages promotes the adoption of the project and helps to inform future initiatives through community feedback.
Project Catalyst – DeFi Enabled Affordable Housing
Project Catalyst is a Cardano community fund for innovation. The Empowa Fund5 proposal is creating partnerships with housing developers to create affordable, sustainable “climate-smart” housing for clients on low incomes. The project is based in Beira, Mozambique. As one of the continent’s poorest and most susceptible nations to climate change, the region has been ravaged by flooding, droughts, and extreme weather conditions. These events have repeatedly destroyed homes and displaced communities.
Furthermore, the country has a population of over 30 million people. However, according to the Empowa website, there are only 600 mortgages in Mozambique. The Empowa Project Catalyst initiative helps the unbanked and underbanked gain financial freedom by providing access to decentralized fundraising.
Empowa is partnering with local housing developers Casa Real, showing that “an inclusive approach to affordable and climate-smart housing is possible, even in a country like Mozambique”. The initiative includes partnerships with local banks to lower the barrier to entry for property ownership.
These homes are more than five times cheaper than the cheapest houses on the market before them, which were available to less than two percent of the urban population. Also, the design of the homes is such that they can incrementally and easily add on extensions as people earn more money. Moreover, the Project Catalyst campaign aims to “give someone financially excluded access to a structurally secure and environmentally friendly home”.
What is Empowa and the EMP Token? Summary
The combination of blockchain technology and sustainable housing initiatives provides previously inaccessible sustainable housing to better the lives of Africans. Plus DeFi enabled affordable housing initiatives are helping to promote the use and adoption of blockchain technology in a way that could help build stronger communities and reduce poverty. Furthermore, Empowa is opting to work with partners who share the same passion for empowerment and opportunity using decentralized technologies.
Real finance (RealFi) is paving the way for the mass adoption of decentralized finance (DeFi) in a way that has a tangible impact. By creating jobs and opportunities while helping people gain financial freedom, the Empowa RealFi property platform is changing lives with the help of blockchain technology.
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