One of our goals in 2018 was to be more active at conferences in getting the word out about the Mifos Initiative and the great work our community and ecosystem has been doing. To that end, we’ve had an active presence at a number of conferences this summer and a couple on their way this fall.
ApacheCon North America 2018
Next week I’ll be traveling to Montreal to give a talk at ApacheCon. Check out my separate post on ApacheCon to learn more about the Fineract Fintech track taking place on Tuesday.
Linux Foundation Open Source Summit Europe
In October, I’m going to cross over the pond to Edinburgh, UK to give a keynote at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit Europe. My talk will highlight the massive need to bring financial services to the more than 3 Billion underbanked worldwide and how we can only do that through the game-changing OPEN approach we’ve pioneered that unites open source technology, supported by open community and sustained by open business models.
This will be an awesome chance to promote our initiative and community to the broader tech community in Europe. Thanks to Dave Neary for the introduction and to Angela Brown and Jillian Hall for making this happen.
We returned to OSCON once again for the 8th time and as is tradition we hosted a booth in the Non Profit Pavilion under the sponsorship of O’Reilly.
Our booth really helped us capture and experience how big of a fintech presence there was at the conference; as compared to years past, the financial services sector has really been starting to embrace open source. We were able to tell the story of our ecosystem and the innovation its enabled on top of our open API to representatives of companies including Square, Paypal, American Express, MasterCard, Capital One, Royal Bank of Canada, Farm Credit, Decred, Thomson Reuters, IBM, HyperLedger, Sovrin Foundation, and more. Read more
Next week ApacheCon descends upon Montreal – we’ll have a large contingent of our community in attendance and Fineract will take center stage with PMC VP, Myrle Krantz, giving a keynote entitled Banking on Open Source.
I’ll be giving a similar version of the talk James Dailey and I delivered at OSCON, Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform. In this talk, I’ll show firsthand what Open Source Banking truly is by presenting four enterprise case studies on Fineract adoption, implementation, and contribution at financial institutions ranging from fintechs to microfinance banks.
This is my first ApacheCon and I’m looking forward to it – for the chance to put faces to names for the many ASF members I’ve interacted with on the lists and to attend sessions to further immerse myself in the Apache Way.
For any of the Mifos or Fineract community in North America, I’d highly recommend you try to make it the conference because Tuesday, Sept 25, will house the Fineract Fintech track. Thank you to Rich Bowen for making this dedicated track happen.
Myrle Krantz, Apache Fineract VP will kick things off with a keynote that morning entitled “Banking on Open Source”. Next up will be Rajan Maurya sharing his experiences as an intern on Branchless Banking and Promoting Financial Inclusion in the Fragile States. My talk on Open Source Banking will then follow and later in the day, Gaurav Saini will speaking about building an Offline-First Expense Manager App with Apache CouchDB. Daniel Ruggeri of Mastercard will be giving his talk, Bringing Enterprise into the Open Source World that fits nicely into the theme as it chronicles Mastercard’s Open Source contribution journey.
A big thank you also to the Apache Travel Assistance Committee whose generous travel sponsorship is enabling Rajan Maurya, Kumaranath Fernando, and Sanyam Goel to travel all the way from India to attend.
It seems like each year Google Summer of Code passes us by even more rapidly than the last year and this year it was no different We worked with another stellar class of interns, and once again grew our participation to our highest levels yet with 13 Mifos Initiative interns and 4 Apache Fineract interns. With the large intern class and taking on multiple projects on Fineract CN for the first time, this was our most challenging year to date. Our mentors were stretched to their limits and our interns did a great job producing impactful code on all fronts – on the mobile app front, we’ve significant enhanced our mobile field operations app and both our mobile banking app and mobile wallet app. We even built the first client-facing banking app on Fineract CN and evolved Fineract CN Mobile. On the web and front-end we made substantial progress in completely re-writing our Mifos X Web App onto Angular 6 and advanced our online banking app. On the Fineract back-end, we implemented much needed scalability enhancements, rolled out a robust architecture for our payment gateway, and explored new frontiers with scorecards for machine learning and a Mifos chatbot. Lastly on top of Fineract CN our Mifos intern enabled containerization via Docker and Kubernetes while the Apache Fineract interns implemented a new microservice for email and SMS and began implementing the first functionality for group lending and group management. This post will showcase the outstanding work they did with the community and part 2 of our official GSOC Wrap-up will focus on their reflections on their journey throughout Google Summer of Code.
Before we take a closer look at the results of the summer, we want to first off thank everyone who made Google Summer of Code another successful year.
Google Open Source Programs Office
First off we want to once again thank the Google Open Source Programs office for giving us the opportunity to participate once more in both Google Code-In and and Google Summer of Code. For our community, GSOC has really become a life-blood of our project. In our talk at LinuxFest Northwest, we documented how GSOC helps us organically grow our community year after year. While we unfortunately missed the GSOC meetup at OSCON, it was a pleasure seeing Stephanie, Mary, Josh and Helen at the GCI grand prize trip and we look forward to hopefully seeing Cat too at the Mentor Summit in October. We are always impressed by the awesome job they do in coordinating such a massive global collaboration handling all the moving pieces so smoothly. We look forward to participating in GCI and GSOC for many years to come!
A huge thank you to all our mentors who are the most critical piece of the puzzle in having a successful Google Summer of Code. Without our mentors being there at each step of the way to help guide our students in their journey, we couldn’t get through the summer. Some of our mentors really had to step up big time as a couple of our mentors had to step away due to unforeseen conflicts. We value this redundancy but need to grow our mentor participation for next year so are eager to welcome any community members who’d like to make the leap, to step forward now!
Thank you to our mobile development mentors – Rajan Maurya, Tarun Mudgal, Puneet Kohli, Naman Dwivedi, and Ishan who had some limited time to review code. Thank you to our web development mentors – Gaurav Saini, Pranjal Goswami, Raunak Sett, and Mohit Bajoria. Thanks to our mentors on the platform side – Avik Ganguly, Nayan Ambali, Aleksandar Vidakovic, Steve Conrad, Rahul Goel, and Victor Romero. Thank you to our Fineract CN mentors – Yannick Awasum, Isaac Kamga, and Myrle Krantz. A big thank you to other community members and volunteers like Sundari Swami, Santosh Math, and Shruthi Rajaram.
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our interns from across the globe who poured their energy into their projects. This year they were ever-perseverant in working on brand new codebases, changing requirements on the fly, and working on experimental solutions. What is always most rewarding is seeing how collaborative and supportive the interns are of each other helping to solve coding problems, helping with collaboration tools and just being great all-around community members. We wish them the best of luck in whatever they pursue next and look forward to their continued contributions to the Mifos Initiative. Already, despite the program being officially over, many of our interns have continued making contributions and wrapping up loose ends of their projects.
For those of you whom I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, my name is Braden McDarment. I am a junior at the University of Washington, Seattle campus, studying Political Economy and Economics.
Just a few weeks ago Ed Cable, James Dailey, and I drove down to Portland for the 20th anniversary of OSCON! The event was hosted at the Oregon Convention Center, where it will be held again next year. At the end of each event day I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many renowned individuals of the open source community.
During the day Ed and I manned the Mifos Initiative booth. At the booth we informed attendees about our mission and how we go about tackling financial inclusion. The attendees asked several keen questions and were eager to learn more about how they could help our community grow. The discussions helped me broaden my knowledge about Mifos and the open source community.
Many of the attendees we talked to expressed interest in volunteering after learning more, and some even wanted to join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating to Mifos. You can also join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating today! Without your support Mifos won’t be able to reach the millions of people in desperate need of access to financial services. Click the link below to be a supporter.
Also at OSCON, I had the chance to attend a few of the talks. The subjects varied from blockchain to open banking. One talk that stood out to me was “Cloud-native Open Source on the Blockchain for Financial Inclusion” by Myrle Krantz. She is the VP of Apache Fineract and has been passionate about financial inclusion ever since she worked at Mifos. She spoke about how 10% of humanity lives on less than $1.90 a day, and how 2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to financial services. Mrs. Krantz discussed how Apache Fineract CN makes it easy for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to be more efficient and successful. Because many MFIs don’t want to host their own database, Apache Fineract CN is a perfect solution to this dilemma. I’m excited to see the impact Apache Fineract has on the world in the coming years.
Ed and James also led a discussion called “Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform”. I recommend you can take a look at their slides here.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at OSCON. Being able to meet people at the other booths, as well as at our own, taught me a significant amount about open source and its community. I want to say thank you to O’Reilly Media, Inc. for putting on the event and to the attendees who expressed interest in helping the Mifos Initiative in the future. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.