Bitcoin Startups Believe Africa Is Fertile Ground for Crypto-Solutions
Bitcoin is growing in popularity in Africa particularly in regions such as Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. This week the Hong Kong-based Bitspark has launched a remittance service to Nigeria at rates 14.4 percent better than competitors, by leveraging the speed and efficiency of the Bitcoin network.
Also Read: U.S. Government Cracks Down on Illegal Bitcoin Money Transmitters
Bitspark Offers Cheaper Remittances by Leveraging the Bitcoin Blockchain
The startup Bitspark is a cryptocurrency-financial services provider servicing the Asia-Pacific region and now countries located in Africa. The company has created an end to end remittance service powered by the Bitcoin blockchain. Bitspark says they will focus on Nigeria first as the country has the largest population and economy within the African continent. According to statistics, Nigeria has received an annual US$21 billion in remittances from countries across the globe.
Bitspark details that its newly launched Nigerian payment service will save people transaction costs as the company believes it is far cheaper than remittance competitors.
“For every one dollar you send to Nigeria you’ll receive $0.14 more than if you use a competitor’s offer which at the end of the day can work out to be hundreds of dollars to the average transaction,” explains Bitspark.
This is made possible by using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the payment method without the need for banks. This is a great benefit to the end user receiving the money and Nigeria as a whole ensuring more money makes its way into the hands of the people which in turns helps develop the rapidly growing economic prospects of the nation.
Significant Interest Stems from South African Countries
South African countries are embracing bitcoin as Google Trends points out significant interest is arising from Nigeria and Ghana. Furthermore, according to a research report from the wallet provider Luno, concerning South Africa, bitcoin is attractive to citizens within the country. Luno’s report also details that 66 percent of South Africans surveyed say they trust bitcoin. 12.9 percent of responses say South Africans are using it for faster payments but 39.6 percent of those surveyed are holding bitcoins as an investment vehicle.
Other Bitcoin-Based Payment Service Startups Are Targeting the African Continent
Just recently the payment platform startup Bitwala announced a new service offering bitcoin-to-M-Pesa transactions at zero cost. Bitwala customers will be able to utilize the service to send funds to friends and family members in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania free of charge.
Other companies focused on bitcoin remittance applications in Africa are also making headway in the region. Last month the African payment services provider Bitpesa partnered with the bitcoin-based lending platform Bitbond. In order to make cross-border lending possible both companies utilize the bitcoin blockchain for faster, more efficient payment processing.
“This means that a small business owner from Kenya can receive loan funding from investors from all over the world via Bitbond and have the funds paid out to his mobile money account in 20 minutes,” explains the founder of Bitbond Radoslav Albrecht. “This is an unprecedented level of innovation and convenience in the entire online lending space.”
Bitcoin-centric businesses are focusing in on Africa, and the South African region as cryptocurrency interest is growing fast.
What do you think about bitcoin’s success in Africa and the South African region? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Bitspark, and survey images courtesy of the Luno website.
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