A new consumer remittance startup is on the block, and it’s bringing bitcoin to new corridors in Europe, China and Mexico.
Freshly out of private beta, Moneytis has now opened its beta to the public. The service allows users to send international transfers from their bank accounts to the receiver’s for a fee of two percent or less. The startup uses bitcoin to send the money to its destination, but users would never know because Moneytis keeps it all in the background.
Users first create an account by filling in basic info and bank account credentials. Next, they select the amount and the type in the email address of the recipient. The money is then deducted from the sender’s account and sent to the person receiving the money. In order to access the money, the receiver has to create his or her own Moneytis account. The startup also claims to use an algorithm to test its fee against other providers, and if a cheaper deal is found, Moneytis will redirect to the competitor’s website.
A Bitcoin Backbone
According to Moneytis co-founder, Etienne Tatur, the idea behind Moneytis came to him after having a difficult time sending money to a friend in China. According to Tatur, they had hard time finding out if his bank would do the transfer and then how much it would cost. After figuring it all out and sending the transfer, they were hit by a sudden change in the foreign exchange rate, adding a huge unseen cost.
When the time came to send his money again, the two decided they would use bitcoin, which for them turned out to be more complex, but cheaper. The bitcoin transfer was enough to inspire them to found Moneytis in early 2014 and make a bitcoin-based solutions without the user-experience issues.
Since then, Tatur and his co-founder Christophe Lassuyt have been developing the company’s money-transfer technology and refining its user experience from feedback gathered from the private beta.
“We are thrilled to release publicly our online solution and to see the feedback of our first users,” said Tatur, Moneytis CTO. “Some of them already used the solution to send money to their family and to pay education fees.”
If you added up all the remittance corridors the startup is operational in, it would come to a sum of tens of billions of dollars, according to 2012 data gathered by the World Bank. But the actual potential remittance market for Moneytis is much smaller.
First, it is a pure digital remittance provider, which is a very small section of the market. Estimates vary, but Ismail Ahmed, CEO of digital remittance provider WorldRemit, said digital represented only of 5 percent of total remittance volume. Second, it currently provides only bank-to-bank transfers, which is probably more limiting as it alienates a large amount of remitters who send and receive cash via physical stores and the online remitters who favor quickness.
All things considered, if Moneytis was a remittance provider where the user actually needed to use bitcoin it would be in a much more niche market.
But it’s a start, and already, in terms of number of corridors, Moneytis is among the head of the pack when it comes to bitcoin remittances. In order to grow, the startup is planning to expand beyond bank-to-bank transfers and add more payment options in the future.
Jeffrey Maxim is a marketer and writer studying the emerging intersection of mobile, marketing, retail and fintech. Currently living in Uruguay, Jeffrey enjoys soaking up the country’s rich culture and listening to jazz and ska in his free time. He is also a hobbyist coder learning the basics of web development. Follow him on Twitter @jeff_maxim.