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South African Blockchain Startup Ekasi Bucks Aims To Provide Financial Services to Townships

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South African-based blockchain startup Ekasi Bucks aims to offer financial systems to township-based enterprises operating in an economy worth 50 billion Rands ($4.7Bn).

Ekasi Bucks notes that the unbanked population has been disadvantaged and has had problems of controlling their money. Thus, the start-up wants to redistribute wealth to give them back the control over their money.

“We are […] bringing mobile banking over the blockchain to more than 300,000 unbanked clients on our database,” the company’s press release says.

Ekasi Bucks provides cryptocurrency wallets and money exchange services. The company is tapping into these services to enable local merchants to receive point of sale systems with loyalty programs. Furthermore, Ekasi Bucks’ cryptocurrency is not governed by the South African Reserve Monetary System, which means that its value shall not get affected by local economic situations or political atmosphere.

Ekasi BucksEkasi Bucks also provides a mobile wallet that is linked to the company’s Prepaid MasterCard. The transactions involved in their network are cheaper than conventional money transfer methods. With this in place, the company states that it will provide “Township P2P & B2B instant money transfer at a fractional cost currently being charged.”

The start-up is planning to raise capital through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) where it will issue a 100 million Ekasi-Bucks out of the available 200 million, at less than R7 ($0.5) per Ekasi Bucks coin. The ICO is set to begin on Friday the 7th and run for three weeks to 31st July 2017. During the ICO, the company also intends to give out bonuses for early backers. Those who make the purchase in the first 24 hours will get a 50% discount. Those who buy in the second week will get 20% and the last week buyers will have a 5% offer.

Bringing financial services to low-income areas is a not an easy feat, which is why Ekasi Bucks is reaching out to the cryptocurrency community to raise funds using an initial coin offering.

Ekasi Bucks president and co-founder Lucky Kgwadi told BitcoinAfrica.io:

“We are aiming to raise at least R50 million, which will be used to purchase POS equipment for our township clients and [any] further funds will be utilised for building container-based cashless malls for our clients.”

“We already have pre-lease agreements signed up for those interested in renting the space in four townships, Soweto, Soshanguve, Umlazi and Gugulethu. This is due to increasing number of shopping malls being built in the Townships and small businesses cannot afford rental space to operate and gain more fleet,” Khgwadi added.

* The article previously incorrectly stated that Ekasi Bucks has entered into a partnership with Lykke. Instead, Ekasi Bucks has joined the Lykke Streams programme to use the Lykke Platform to provide services to South African Businesses but there is no official partnership between the two startups. 

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