Bitcoin users can now deposit and withdraw Bitcoin with ease as the Australia-based Bitcoin exchange Igot is launching in Kenya. The company says that using M-Pesa platform customers would be able to deposit and withdraw in the African nation. This is extension to the reach of Igot which already has presence in more than forty countries worldwide.
Kenya is critical for Bitcoin as the country has seen a lot of activities in Bitcoin ecosystem in the last couple of years. In fact, it has been a major talking point for Bitcoin evangelists over the past couple of years, partially due to M-Pesa’s penetration in the country. Now with the entry of Igot, the customers will have one more choice.
Talking about the importance of bringing his exchange platform to Kenya Igot founder Rick Day said that it will help Kenyans send and receive international remittances with ease. He is aware of the serious issues that Kenyan emigrants face when attempting to send money back home, and he expanded on those problems with real numbers.
Elaborating the immense scope for remittance market in Kenya, Mr. Day said, “Over 2.5 million Kenyan emigrants around the world send money home to their families. Igot aims to make these transactions as easy, fast, and convenient as possible. In 2014, remittance inflows to Kenya increased by USD 137 million or (11 percent) to USD 1,428.5 billion.
He also said that the average remittance transaction costs the emigrant sender between 5 percent and 9 percent which is quite high for average Kenyan. However, with Bitcoin lowering the costs of international remittances is possible. This in fact has been touted as a potential use case for Bitcoin in Kenya.
Bitcoin for Unbanked Kenyans
Putting his views, Mr. Day further added that his company is now seeing huge potential in Bitcoin that can cater the requirements from Kenyans to process remittances successfully and economically. He noted that M-PESA has over 15 million subscribers in Kenya, making it one of the most prolific money transfers on the mobile platform.
Thus, Bitcoin is becoming the right payment option for unbanked people in Kenya. BitX is another exchange offering Bitcoin access to M-Pesa users in Kenya. Such partnerships are giving hopes to policy makers who are concerned about the lack of reach of financial solutions to the majority of Kenyans.