Premise is a San Francisco-based technology company with the mission of bringing visibility to the world’s hardest-to-see places. The company tracks macroeconomic and human development trends in real-time by collecting data via an Android application. They index and analyze millions of observations captured daily by leveraging their global network of contributors, who are paid to take pictures and collect data on the ground. Large institutions such as the World Bank use Premise’s data and analysis to make more effective investment and policy decisions.
Premise in Venezuela
Venezuela is one country that Premise believes could benefit from more visibility. The local currency there, the bolivar, has depreciated in value significantly over the past several years and there’s been a severe shortage of consumer goods throughout the country. In January 2015, Premise began shining light on what’s going on there by tracking resource security issues, including line lengths inside and outside supermarkets, shelf stocks, and the patterns of police presence and fingerprint scanners across Venezuela. The picture below, taken by a Venezuelan using Premise, shows a box of soy milk that was recently on sale in a grocery store in Caracas for the equivalent of $175 worth of bolivars (using the government fixed exchange rate).
Upon launching in Venezuela, Premise quickly realized how difficult it is to pay people there. There simply wasn’t a good solution that allowed them to make micro-payouts cheaply and efficiently. Additionally, Premise learned that some people in Venezuela don’t want to get paid out in their native currency because of the capital controls imposed on the banks there. After spending a lot of time looking, Premise discovered a solution to both of these problems.
Using bitcoin for payouts in Venezuela is one of the first use cases where Bitcoin, the payment network and bitcoin, the digital currency, are both significantly better than any other option that exists. There is no other payment option in Venezuela that allows Premise to do micro-payouts as cheaply, quickly and easily. Additionally, many Venezuelans actually prefer to get paid out in bitcoin, as they would rather store value in a currency that they have full control over. After choosing to use bitcoin three months ago, Premise has paid out over 45 bitcoin to over 150 people there — and they believe they are just getting started. Using a mobile phone to earn bitcoin for completing small tasks allows many Venezuelans to take control of their own money and has powerful implications.
What’s Next for Premise?
Premise’s global presence continues to expand and they’re increasingly finding that Bitcoin is an important payment solution for them. They’re excited to empower individuals to participate in the global economy using bitcoin payouts in more countries in the near future, including Egypt, where they are currently actively recruiting users. If you’re interested in their mission and would like to contribute or learn more, check out the app!