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Meet Africa’s Blockchain Startups: BitFinance

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BitFinance

Harare-based BitFinance is one of the leading bitcoin startups in Zimbabwe. In 2015, BitFinance received funding to start BitFundi, Zimbabwe’s first and only local bitcoin exchange.

Inspiring Background

The founders of BitFinance include Tawanda Kembo, Tawanda Maguze and Verengai Mabika. After lengthy studies and experiments, they launched BitFinance in 2014. The trio launched the company to provide better currency solutions to the fragile Zimbabwe economy. With bitcoin as a promising new alternative currency, they believed it could revolutionise how people do business in the country.

Kembo says he was inspired by his friend William, who was living in the United States. He wanted to send money to his wife in Zimbabwe but the charges at the traditional money remittance providers were exorbitant. William decided to send the $300 in bitcoins to Kembo, who would get about five percent, who then gave fiat currency to William’s wife. This would save William more than five to ten percent in transaction fees than if was using traditional money transfer services. After noticing that transferring money was hard for millions of Zimbabweans, software Kembo developer came up with the idea for BitFinance.

Initially, it was hard for the startup to find investors to scale up their venture. The business people would turn down any investment deal in Zimbabwe due to the ailing economy. So, the three co-founders applied to multiple startup organisations around the globe. One of the addresses for their letters was the Silicon Valley-based Boost VC’s accelerator program. The organisation later turned down their application.

Initial Funding

A year after launching, they received venture funding from Nairobi-based Savannah Fund. They used the funding to build a team of ten people to help develop Zimbabwe’s first bitcoin exchange.

According to Kembo, in January 2016, they only had 62 new clients on BitcoinFundi. In that month, users only traded a volume of $759 on the platform. But in November that year, a total of $31,000 was exchanged. That was about 7,650 percent higher than the beginning of the year.

Also, in late 2016, BitFinance managed to raise additional capital from local angel investor Taurai Chinyamakobvu to improve the BitFundi platform and to expand its customer base.

How Does BitcoinFundi work?

BitFinance’s bitcoin exchange BitcoinFundi.com allows Zimbabweans to create an account and start selling or buying cryptocurrency. After a successful account registration, Zimbabweans can turn their fiat currency into bitcoin and vice versa. BitFinance only takes one percent as fees for the transactions, which is very low compared to other exchanges in Africa.

In light of Zimbabwe’s growing interest in bitcoin, BitFinance has the potential to become a big African startup success story despite coming from such a challenging environment for tech startups.

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46 Companies Join Binance Charity to Launch Stablecoin in Support of Feminine Health

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Binance Charity

An alliance of blockchain companies has joined forces to support a philanthropic project focused on the African continent. Led by Binance Charity Foundation (BCF), the charitable arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, the initiative will involve the issuance of Pink Care Token (PCAT), a stablecoin that will operate on Binance Chain.

BinanceThe project will help channel funds to Uganda for the purchase of sanitary products, which many women lack access to. The first batch of Pink Care Token and sanitary pads is scheduled for delivery in the country in mid-July in Uganda, with the aid of government ministers.

“Pink Care Token is the first social-impact stablecoin issued on Binance Chain. A part of our mission is to promote cryptocurrency adoption, and I think charity is one of the most efficient ways to bring cryptocurrency value to more people,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).

Leading blockchain and financial companies that have pledged their support for the initiative include Ripple, Tron, Vechain, Matic, Arrington Capital, and Celer. As the size of the cryptoconomy has grown, delivering outsized returns to its early believers, many supporters within the ecosystem have sought to share their success with the world through altruistic means.

Despite their global nature, crypto assets have yet to permeate many of the world’s most underdeveloped nations, where access to food, shelter, and medicine remain challenges that must be overcome in addition to realising full financial access. Initiatives such as Pink Care Token provide an effective way of helping communities in some of the world’s most impoverished regions while capitalising on the transparency that is one of the hallmarks of the blockchain technology that underpins the industry. All of the funds that are contributed to the project and delivered in Uganda can be tracked on-chain.

Contributors are encouraged to join the campaign by donating at:
https://www.binance.charity/period-poverty

Funds will go towards ending ‘period poverty’ through providing sanitary products for Ugandan women, improving their quality of life and providing a clear demonstration of what the crypto industry can achieve through multilateral philanthropic efforts such as BCF’s Pink Care Token.

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Luno Survey Shows Low Consumer Confidence in Current Financial System

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Low Consumer Confidence

As the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 1, Luno released findings indicating that consumers from emerging markets have low confidence in the current financial system. The conference, also known as the Bretton Woods Conference, established the financial system we use today in 1944.

The Future of Money Survey

LunoLuno’s Future of Money survey discovered that security is one of the areas of concern in the current financial system. These views were given by 36 percent of respondents from South Africa, 35 percent from Nigeria, and 24 percent from the UK. The other areas of main concern are transparency and economic benefit.

Marcus Swanepoel, CEO of Luno, said: “The survey results show that emerging markets are seeking a change to the financial system which was created 75 years ago. The increase in population, changes to the distribution and inequality of wealth, at a time of tremendous steps forward in technology means that the current financial systems need to undergo another Bretton Woods moment.”

Furthermore, the survey showed that consumers from emerging markets have a more developed understanding, protection, and knowledge of money compared to those from developed markets. This is because they do not have direct access to wealth, the report explained.

Struggling Economies

Although our current financial system was established 75 years ago, many countries are still struggling economically. According to the survey, 27 percent of South Africans and 23 percent of Nigerians felt that their economies were performing poorly. This view was held in rural areas more than in urban areas because the former has inadequate financial systems.

Moreover, 23 percent of respondents in Nigeria and 22 percent of respondents in South Africa said it was challenging for them to send money overseas.

“We have seen little change to the global monetary system over the last 75 years, particularly amongst developed economies where financial institutions have built a system around the transfer of currencies, assets, and commodities which benefit a stable and strong economy. As technology advances, it is important that institutions globally find a way of adopting these advancements, enabling emerging markets to have the same access to money and transfer of assets,” Swanepoel stated.

The survey further revealed that 91 percent of South Africans pay for a personal bank account while 75 percent use mobile banking. Additionally, South Africa had the second highest percentage of respondents that said they invest in products such as mutual funds and stocks.

Luno is a global crypto company that carried out the Future of Money survey to understand the world’s view of the current financial system. The survey questioned more than 7,000 people from South Africa, Nigeria, Italy, Malaysia, the UK, France, and Indonesia.

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Youngest Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur in Africa Leads Education Drive in Ghana

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BlockXAfrica

Ghana and the rest of Africa continue to lack behind in bitcoin usage and adoption. Despite the fact that Ghana led the Google Trends chart for the keyword “bitcoin” recently and continues to be part of the top three on the same chart, the West African nation has recorded very low patronage of blockchain technology.

BlockXAfricaIn light of this, the ​Youngest Bitcoin Entrepreneur in Africa​, Elisha Owusu Akyaw, who started his journey of innovation in the blockchain space at the age of 16 seeks to promote bitcoin and blockchain adoption in Ghana through an education campaign.

The young Ghanaian has made headlines with his work in the industry, being described as the youngest “Bitcoin Entrepreneur” and was listed as part of the ​Top 20 Blockchain Influencers in Africa​ by BitcoinAfrica.io.

Elisha’s education drive will be done under the BlockXAfrica brand. BlockXAfrica is a Ghanaian based blockchain startup that seeks to bridge the blockchain and cryptocurrency education gap through advocacy, collaboration, and innovation.

BlockXAfrica believes that blockchain has a lot of potential in accelerating the development of Ghana, including fixing our financial woes through cryptocurrency usage, checking corruption through blockchain backed record systems, fixing our birth and death registry with blockchain solutions and more.

BlockXAfrica is made up of a group of young people from Ghana with the aim of teaching, advocating and spreading the gospel of cryptocurrencies. The aspiring blockchain advocacy powerhouse intends to do this through strategic educational campaigns and social intervention programs & projects.

BlockXAfrica’s education campaigns seek to enlighten people on the importance of cryptocurrency and its various use cases across the continent while addressing the various cryptocurrency scams that have invaded the industry in Africa which is one of the highest contributing factors to distrust in the technology by promoting tested industry standards.

Aside from education, ​BlockXAfrica​ will also be partnering with local developers to create innovations backed by blockchain technology to solve various social issues in Ghana. What’s more, the company will be donating some of its proceeds to charities across the country, as a way to show the masses how blockchain can change lives.’

BlockXAfrica organised its first meetup during the last weekend and plans to embark on a tour across the country.

The guest post was contributed by BlockXAfrica. 

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