In the past, the international remittances market has been dominated by large money transfer operators such as MoneyGram and Western Union. However, that has begun to change with the entry of bitcoin startups that are evening the playing field. With the rise of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, companies are now embracing bitcoin and blockchain technology to improve international remittance services.
In this post, you will discover five bitcoin remittance services that are disrupting the status quo of international money transfers in Africa.
Abra is an app that uses peer-to-peer technology where the money being transferred goes directly to the recipient with no middlemen involved. Users are able to store money in their mobile wallets through debit cards or an Abra teller.
In addition, the user does not require a bank account to sign up for the service, and he/she can transfer money from his mobile device to countries like Morroco, Gambia, Malawi just to name a few. Using Abra, sending and receiving money is free and you can use the app to buy bitcoin directly. You can check which features of Abra’s app are available in your country here.
BitPesa allows entrepreneurs in Africa to make cross-border FX payments. Nairobi-headquartered BitPesa provides a platform for African businesses to send and receive international payments using bitcoin as the in-between currency to lower transaction costs, thus reducing users reliance on slow and expensive bank legacy systems.
In addition, the exchange of African currencies with other international currencies makes it a better alternative to the US dollar as a benchmark currency for foreign exchange.
Hong Kong-based BitSpark has created an end-to-end international money transfer platform that uses blockchain technology to facilitate transactions. The company has recently expanded its services to Nigeria, one of the largest remittance markets in the world with $21 billion in remittances received each year.
BitSpark new remittance channel into Nigeria will be 14.4% cheaper than its competitors, thereby offering an excellent blockchain-based alternative to MoneyGram and Western Union for Nigerians.
Remitano provides an escrowed peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace where people can trade bitcoin easily and securely. The platform has a simple user interface and offers many payment methods to make bitcoin purchases. Remitano allows you to deposit and withdraw fiat money from almost anywhere in the world.
What makes Remitano an easy-to-use bitcoin remittance service is that once users receive bitcoin on their Remitano wallets, they can easily convert them into local currency on the peer-to-peer exchange itself.
Geopay is a South African peer-to-peer remittance service that runs on the blockchain and enables people living abroad to remit money across borders. Unlike normal banking systems, the company does not require documentation to facilitate cross-border money transfers.
In addition, there is no bank account involved when sending and receiving money. Withdrawals are made from a network of agents, making it the perfect platform for micro-transactions in different parts of Africa. With a 3 percent transfer fee, the company seeks to offer an affordable option to traditional money transfer services like MoneyGram.
Remittances play a big role in the economies of African countries. However, migrant workers sending money home have had to put up with expensive transfer fees from traditional remittance services. Bitcoin and the blockchain are improving this by lowering the transaction fees and increasing the speed of remittances. There is no doubt this is just the beginning for blockchain-powered remittances in Africa and it will be interesting to see what role they will play in the future.