5 African Bitcoin Startups to Watch
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Bitcoin is gaining traction worldwide, with the first quarter of 2015 seeing record levels of investment pumped into Bitcoin startups globally. Africa is no exception to the trend, with startups springing up with innovative applications for Bitcoin in the African context – disrupting the remittance market, and making the cryptocurrency available over SMS. Here, Disrupt Africa names the five startups leading the way with Bitcoin in Africa.
Bitcoin remittance startup BitPesa allows individuals to remit money in Bitcoin that the company then converts into physical currency. The company also recently started the sale of Bitcoin in Kenya and Ghana.
Since its launch, BitPesa has taken Africa’s emerging Bitcoin market by storm, raising follow-on funding of US$1.1 million less than a year after launching; taking total investment to US$1.7 million.
On the back of this funding, BitPesa last week announced the roll-out of its services to Tanzania, with further expansion to Uganda also planned for the near future.
Ghanaian Bitcoin startup Beam is also aiming to disrupt remittances to and within Africa, primarily by cutting the cost of transferring money.
Beam undercuts traditional remittance services, and in so doing believes Bitcoin uptake will be boosted in Africa.
While traditional remittance companies charge an average commission of 12 per cent of the funds being transferred, Beam takes a cut of three per cent.
The startup also allows funds to be remitted directly to mobile money wallets, in a bid to make Bitcoin more accessible to African markets.