Caricoin: ‘Social Workflow’
The company, which has offices in Jamaica and seeks to provide banking to the 50 percent of Caribbeans with no banking access, announced the launch in a press release Thursday.
“Much in the way email changed the world by making communication fast and cheap, bitcoin is changing the world of digital finance and reshaping how we perceive, manage and store our money,” Caricoin CEO Karsten Becker stated in view of the wallet’s multifaceted capabilities.
Caricoin’s wallet is the first “social mobile money platform,” the press release explains, to use bitcoin as its base currency. Other currencies are not yet present, with bitcoin taking center stage as the wallet app integrates phone contacts and a chat function as part of the funds exchange process.
Users are hence not required to use a separate interface for payments, while no transaction data is linked to phone book information.
The so-called “social workflow that puts people at the heart of all transactions” is also evident in the wallet’s secondary function as a mobile top-up provider. In the future, Caricoin will seek to cater to the international remittance market by adding a bitcoin purchase facility directly within the app.
“This model has the capability to save the region over US$ 800 million dollars annually in remittance fees,” the company says, citing the World Bank Migration and Development Brief from October 2015.
Beyond Bitcoin’s Benefits
Social enterprise appears to be top of the list for Caricoin as a first mover in the local space, with bitcoin seen as the inclusion factor that could unite communities and strengthen the local economy without the participation of the legacy financial system.
The company hopes that bitcoin could create a “mobile money ecosystem based on a single currency that can easily be used by anyone across the Caribbean,” in so doing supporting the work of CARICOM, the pan-Caribbean organization aiming to improve the lives of the community at all levels.
The Caribbean has nonetheless seen interest from dedicated Bitcoin startups before. Bitt, another umbrella exchange, transfer and merchant support startup based in Barbados, received a $4 million USD investment from Overstock in April 2016.
Like Caricoin, Bitt is similarly focused on “remedying” the financial problems in the region, notably “high frictional fees” levied on remittance transactions from extant fiat institutions.
What do you think about Bitcoin’s potential to change the Caribbean landscape? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Caribbean Island Cruises, Caricoin.