Kenya: Are Bitcoins the Future of Mobile Money?
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Want to go to the market, pay for a taxi or send money back home? In Kenya, all you need is your mobile phone.
Ever since Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile-network operator, launched the mobile-payment systemM-Pesa in 2007, some two-thirds of Kenya’s adult population have subscribed, and an astonishing 31% of the country’s GDP is now spent through mobile phones.
Kenya has been at the forefront of popular technological innovation for the past 5 years, and now there are indications that the country could usher in a new era of mobile banking. On 1 July, a company called Kipochi launched a new ’digital wallet’ service that allows Kenyans to not only send and receive money domestically but, using the online peer-to-peer currency Bitcoins, transfer it internationally.