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Author Topic: [2014-06-11] Cash transfers in Africa - Bitcoin for the poor  (Read 1094 times)
ganabb
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June 11, 2014, 09:48:04 AM
 #1

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2014/06/cash-transfers-africa

Up to 80% of African adults have no bank account, but at least 16% use mobile-money platforms. The continent annually receives $50 billion in remittances, which are subject to fees of up to 12% charged by wiring services like Western Union. If one could improve internet access and provide immediate conversion into local currencies, entrepreneurs speculate that Bitcoin might be able to undercut remittance services. Zach Harvey, the chief executive of Lamassu, the ATM’s manufacturer, could train his sights on companies like Western Union.

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bryant.coleman
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June 11, 2014, 09:57:46 AM
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When M-Pesa integrated Bitcoin payments through Kipochi, there was a lot of hype about the effect Bitcoin going to have on the African remittance sector. But unfortunately, the service died down only a few months after it started.
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June 11, 2014, 11:02:27 AM
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When M-Pesa integrated Bitcoin payments through Kipochi, there was a lot of hype about the effect Bitcoin going to have on the African remittance sector. But unfortunately, the service died down only a few months after it started.

Kipochi as a service was a failure but the idea of a SMS network being developed in Africa like 37coins piqued my interest

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June 18, 2014, 07:23:42 PM
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 I could send some BTC to my relatives in Kenya and Somalia, but what's the point if they cannot spend it? What we need to see in Africa (other regions as well) are more pay out locations so that Africans have options to hold or sell their BTC. More pay out locations leads to more incentives for businesses to ask for BTC from customers.
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June 18, 2014, 07:28:57 PM
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I could send some BTC to my relatives in Kenya and Somalia, but what's the point if they cannot spend it? What we need to see in Africa (other regions as well) are more pay out locations so that Africans have options to hold or sell their BTC. More pay out locations leads to more incentives for businesses to ask for BTC from customers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrRXP1tp6Kw

They need to find buyers, if they do that then there's nothing stopping them from doing person to person sales like in LocalBitcoins, if this guy can do it, so can you, it's just a matter of getting it set up.
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June 19, 2014, 07:09:24 AM
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Kipochi as a service was a failure but the idea of a SMS network being developed in Africa like 37coins piqued my interest

Any idea why Kipochi failed? There was a lot of hype when they launched their service, and at least initially, a lot of people were using it. What happened after that? Also, what is the status of 37coins now?
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June 19, 2014, 07:43:04 AM
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http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2014/06/cash-transfers-africa

Up to 80% of African adults have no bank account, but at least 16% use mobile-money platforms. The continent annually receives $50 billion in remittances, which are subject to fees of up to 12% charged by wiring services like Western Union. If one could improve internet access and provide immediate conversion into local currencies, entrepreneurs speculate that Bitcoin might be able to undercut remittance services. Zach Harvey, the chief executive of Lamassu, the ATM’s manufacturer, could train his sights on companies like Western Union.

cue in google project "loon." that would be totally cool if google decided to not only provide internet access to people in poor areas, but also to help them save millions or billions in remittance fees.
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June 19, 2014, 06:06:47 PM
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I think it is too early for Bitcoin ATM in Africa because the level of development of the economy will not be able to promote rise of the ecosystem
bambino
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June 19, 2014, 06:21:18 PM
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I think it is too early for Bitcoin ATM in Africa because the level of development of the economy will not be able to promote rise of the ecosystem


I think you're wrong because Bitcoin can helps Africa's integration to the worldwide economy and  international monetary relations
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June 19, 2014, 07:40:47 PM
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I could send some BTC to my relatives in Kenya and Somalia, but what's the point if they cannot spend it? What we need to see in Africa (other regions as well) are more pay out locations so that Africans have options to hold or sell their BTC. More pay out locations leads to more incentives for businesses to ask for BTC from customers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrRXP1tp6Kw

They need to find buyers, if they do that then there's nothing stopping them from doing person to person sales like in LocalBitcoins, if this guy can do it, so can you, it's just a matter of getting it set up.

Bitcoin in Uganda - Empowering People
Fantastic video: It really shows the potential for Bitcoin to change the world of money.  Smiley

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June 19, 2014, 08:26:19 PM
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i think it would work best in the most populous areas, where people with ties to the west can open up a shop to make the exchanges. if that were the case, they could just pay in the local currency and people wouldn't need to have any technical skills - all they do is go to the shop, show proof of ID, and collect cash.
Swordsoffreedom
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June 19, 2014, 09:01:30 PM
 #12

When M-Pesa integrated Bitcoin payments through Kipochi, there was a lot of hype about the effect Bitcoin going to have on the African remittance sector. But unfortunately, the service died down only a few months after it started.

Kipochi as a service was a failure but the idea of a SMS network being developed in Africa like 37coins piqued my interest

Ah here give this a read
http://spelunk.in/2014/04/02/bitcoin-mpesa-and-kenya-can-it-really-work/

To put it simply blocked!

Kipochi doesn’t actually work

Enthusiasts from all around the world showered a lot of praise on Kipochi when it was launched. It was a huge step for Bitcoin and it had great potential, but unfortunately, the service doesn’t work and there’s an unconfirmed rumor saying it got blocked a few days after its launch.

To see if the rumors are true, I tried using the service. A friend sent the BTC equivalent of a dollar to my Kipochi account and to my dismay, it didn’t go through. It also seems Kipochi can’t even work as a regular wallet since the transaction is not listed in my history. I don’t know where the money went and I have sent a message to the support team asking if the service has any issues. I’ll update this if I get a response. The CEO and co-founder Pelle Braendgaard (Twitter: @PelleB) could not be reached for comment.

What Kipochi tried to do – despite the fact that it doesn’t work – is a huge step for Bitcoin in Africa but it had its limitations. Only people with access to the Internet can use the service, and while the number of Internet users rises every year (it was around 12 million in 2012) I am skeptical about the number of smartphone users who would adopt the service and learn what Bitcoin is, and its advantages.

Carlton Banks
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June 19, 2014, 11:03:25 PM
 #13

Something Africa has that will help: a culture of using the cash form of currencies that are world standards (i.e. some reserve status). I don't know how widespread it is exactly, but I've experienced various evidence for this over the years. The business dealings with the Chinese may mean the yuan gets added into this mix (in addition to USD and the Euro). If chinese and western investors who are looking for a place to invest their money begin to come to Africa using bitcoin, the entrepreneurial class in Africa may begin to catch on too. There's evidence that the less politically connected (but still wealthy enough to prospect abroad) chinese are already using bitcoin to circumvent state capital controls.

Something that's universal, like cash, like bank accounts and like gold is sure to capture the imagination of business oriented Africans. So they could end up using it in parallel to local fiat, so the perceived need to exchange it will disappear. This whole BitPesa/Kipochi thing plays into that "good payment system, not good currency" argument. Anyone on these boards who's done well riding out the so-called bitcoin price bubbles will tell you what they think of that nonsense.


Vires in numeris
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June 20, 2014, 06:16:54 PM
 #14

I think it is too early for Bitcoin ATM in Africa because the level of development of the economy will not be able to promote rise of the ecosystem


Posts That Make No Sense #331: How I Skipped Through My Economics Degree

I hate to be so theatrical about this, but you have no made any sense at all. Since bitcoins can be divided down to 0.00000001 (and infinitely, in theory), then they are the perfect currency to unite economies of different levels of development. Even a single US penny has very significant value in Africa and can make the difference between being about to eat dinner or not. We need money that can be divided much further than pennies so that commerce is more smooth for those people who mostly deal in very low prices, like Africans.

Africa doesn't need an ATM. It just needs one guy in every village with a cellphone and a wallet app or text program. That would solve the entire problem.
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June 20, 2014, 07:54:31 PM
 #15

I think it is too early for Bitcoin ATM in Africa because the level of development of the economy will not be able to promote rise of the ecosystem


Posts That Make No Sense #331: How I Skipped Through My Economics Degree

I hate to be so theatrical about this, but you have no made any sense at all. Since bitcoins can be divided down to 0.00000001 (and infinitely, in theory), then they are the perfect currency to unite economies of different levels of development. Even a single US penny has very significant value in Africa and can make the difference between being about to eat dinner or not. We need money that can be divided much further than pennies so that commerce is more smooth for those people who mostly deal in very low prices, like Africans.

Africa doesn't need an ATM. It just needs one guy in every village with a cellphone and a wallet app or text program. That would solve the entire problem.
Or better yet 2 or 3 on opposite sides of the village.  No central point of failure;)

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