June 23, 2003
The First Killer App for Microfinance

Remember last month’s piece predicting the emergence of “microfinance”?

Guess what? It’s come true!

PayDemocracy is a new service that allows users to create their own fundraising campaigns around any issue they wish. PayDemocracy then acts as an aggregator for donations — you just pass around the URL for your campaign, and users can make their own small donations through the Web site. When you close your campaign, PayDemocracy then sends the total amount contributed (minus a small service fee for credit card processing) to up to four politicians (currently, the service only lists Federal candidates — Presidential, Senate, and House) of your choice, along with your description of the goals of the campaign that raised it.

In other words, it lets anybody form their own PAC, for any issue you please. And they solve one of the other big problems with microfinance — giving people confidence that their money will end up where they expect it to — by cutting out the middleman and sending the checks to the politicians directly, rather than to the person who organized the campaign.

PayDemocracy is brilliant. It’s the first really great application of microfinance in action. It has the potential to completely change the way citizens interact with government, by giving individual citizens a way to raise money without having to pay for the expensive infrastructure that parties and interest groups have. I highly recommend you give it a look. (Props to my colleague Sandy Smith for finding this.)

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at June 23, 2003

Um, Grameen Bank?

Posted by: AC on July 5, 2003 5:30 PM

"Killer app" == software product or service. I've written about Grameen as a pioneer in microfinance before; the reason PayDemocracy is so cool is precisely because it indicates that the Grameen idea is spreading.

But then again, why did I just bother giving you a serious answer when you posted as "anonymous@coward.com"? Sheesh...

Posted by: Jason Lefkowitz on July 5, 2003 6:13 PM
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