Bitpesa founder and CEO, Elizabeth Rossiello, has claimed that bitcoin-based remittance services have reduced the costs of international payments by 75%, and reduced the average time of settlement from 12 days to approximately 12 hours. Rossiello also discussed the African cryptocurrency economy and changing attitudes towards bitcoin on the part of major international financial institutions and mainstream media outlets.
Bitpesa CEO, Elizabeth Rossiello, Claims Bitpesa Has Transformed the African Remittance Industry
Bitpesa was created in 2013 and has achieved significant success providing a cheaper, faster remittance service to African markets than Moneygram or Western Union.
Bitpesa CEO, Elizabeth Rossiello, claims that Bitpesa has transformed the African remittance industry and created positive change across the African continent. “Bitpesa was the first company in the world to establish a market between African currencies and digital currencies. We lowered the cost of international payments by 75% and reduced the time to settle between currencies from 12 days to less than 2 hours.”
Bitpesa currently primarily operates in Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania, and has headquarters in Luxembourg. The company is licensed in the UK by the FCA. Aside from offering services to individuals and small businesses, Bitpesa claims that numerous multi-national corporations rely on their services to circumvent inefficient and unreliable payment settlements that plague the African financial sector.
For Rossiello, Africa offers a unique opportunity to bitcoin and cryptocurrency services. The lack of economic development and poor juridical apparatus associated with Africa begs for the types of services that bitcoin and cryptocurrency can offer.
There has been such an under-investment in infrastructure for so long in Africa, there was a lot of opportunity to bring efficiency into this market. It’s a big opportunity.
Africa Citizens Are Starting to See Expansion in the Bitcoin-Based Remittance Services
Rossiello also discussed the changing attitudes held toward bitcoin by major international financial and super-national organizations, as well as the mainstream media. “There was a big misconception repeated in the media about the technology being less safe – despite the fact that the Bank of England, the World Economic Forum and the IMF have all conducted research stating the technology has a low-risk for fraud, certainly much less than cash and traditional transfer methods. The technology is here to stay and the tone has begun to change in the media. Making global payments using the bitcoin blockchain is safer, more efficient, and cheaper.”
Citizens accross the african continent are starting to see an expansion in the bitcoin-based remittance services offered that are available to them. Vietnamese based/African incorporated remittance service provider Remitano has recently expanded its services into the Nigerian, Kenyan, and Tanzanian markets, moving to directly compete for Bitpesa’s market share.
Although the positive benefits from bitcoin-based remittance providers operating in Africa are undeniable, it should be noted the majority of major companies are based off-shore – resulting in a minor maintenance of the ‘foreign-based money transmitters profiting from African labor’ business model that cryptocurrency remittances were seemingly destined to annihilate during the wide-eyed infancy of bitcoin.
The recent announcement that Zimbabwe based remittance company Bitmari has become the first bitcoin company to work in partnership with an African commercial bank comprises excellent news for the African bitcoin remittance industry. African companies developing an early foothold within the bitcoin remittance-space would drive much needed economic dynamism on the African continent, and potentiate a total recapture of the capital lost through the process of international money transmission on the part of the African economy.
Do you think that bitcoin-based remittance services are having a positive impact on Africa’s economy? Share your thoughts below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock & Bitpesa