BitFury Invests in Pan-African Bitcoin Trading Platform BitPesa
Founded in 2013, BitPesa sees itself as an easy way for businesses and individuals worldwide to buy and sell local African currencies through Bitcoin to Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania with the monetary settlement taking place directly with African banks and mobile money accounts.
BitPesa is also one of the few Bitcoin organizations in Africa that provide bank deposits and withdrawals, which allows senders and receivers to take advantage of cheap, efficient and quick payments using Bitcoin to exchange African and international currencies. This removes the dependence on other currencies such as the U.S. dollar that have high international conversion rates.
BitFury CEO Valery Vavilov told Bitcoin Magazine there has been a serious lack of investment in financial infrastructure across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This has resulted in the highest FX margins globally,” he said. “Incoming transfers to Sub-Saharan Africa average 12 percent with bank transfers often taking a week or more to settle.”
However, by offering a fast, easy and efficient way to buy and sell African currencies, more companies can do business with and across the African continent.
Why Invest in BitPesa?
BitPesa is an Authorized Payment Institution that is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It has gained a solid reputation within the Bitcoin community as well as with international businesses by maintaining close relationships with those it works with.
Understanding the solid presence of BitPesa around Africa, BitFury decided that by establishing a strategic relationship with BitPesa, which was made under the BitFury Capital investment arm, the two companies would be able to deliver a secure and transparent way of exchanging money to those who use Bitcoin. The investment will also help grow the Bitcoin trading platform and universal payment system BitPesa is offering.
“Partnering with BitPesa was a perfect fit,” said Vavilov. “Not only is BitPesa Africa’s fastest and most affordable Bitcoin trading platform, but the company is also working to expand across the pan-African continent to provide access to fast and secure payments to millions of people.”
By partnering with local networks and payment networks, BitPesa is working to make Bitcoin payments accessible to the public who face obstacles to financial growth and those who are underserved by the banks. Since BitPesa is licensed by the FCA, it is a more trusted way of sending and receiving money compared to using informal brokers or cash agents, which is the typical route in Africa for most people who want to exchange currency nationally and internationally.
BitPesa CEO Elizabeth Rossiello told Bitcoin Magazine that the Bitcoin blockchain technology enables the company's instantaneous and secure transfer of funds.
“Every transaction is secured by the Bitcoin blockchain, which is a public unalterable ledger of transactions,” she said. “BitPesa also enforces strict KYC [Know Your Customer] and AML [Anti-Money Laundering] policies for every customer transaction.”
What Does the Future Hold for BitPesa?
When BitPesa first started it was simply acting as a way for expat and freelance workers from the U.K. to be able to send money to friends and family in Kenya. The company gained a lot of attention in Kenya, enabling it to generate sufficient revenue to expand its services into Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.
Due to the heightened demand for Bitcoin, BitPesa was able to provide its customers with a trading platform using Bitcoin that gave users access to low conversion rates as they traded in the digital currency.
According to GSMA, a mobile telecom industry trade body, there are around 370 million mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The organization has predicted that by 2020 the number of smartphones will increase to half a billion.
With such a popular mobile phone market and a lack of existing financial services, the African continent is fertile ground for increased adoption of Bitcoin in the near future. With the financial assistance and network of BitFury, BitPesa aims to drive the implementation of Bitcoin in the African region where its potential to change financial services is great.
“We believe in BitPesa’s mission,” said Vavilov. “[We] are excited to help the company grow, bringing the power of transformative technology for the benefit of people.”