BitKesh, a Zimbabwean startup, has figured out how to use crypto to allow Zimbabweans living in South Africa, to seamlessly send money back home.
The startup, which launched in late 2017 during the Bitcoin frenzy, is currently processing about 1, 200 transactions per month.
The BitKesh app already has over 5, 000 downloads and the potential for growth is huge.
“We believe from a market of over one million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa there is still a great potential to improve.” ~ Reginald Tsvetu, Co-Founder, BitKesh.
The Intra-African remittances are some of the highest globally with South African corridors being the highest in the world. On average, the cost of sending money in Africa stands at 9.3 percent, significantly higher than the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target.
In addition, a lot of the money transfer service providers are brick and mortar and operate only a few hours a day. Being heavily reliant on the availability of cash also limits these service providers, especially in countries like Zimbabwe facing a fiat crisis.
According to Tsvetu, BitKesh comes to solve these challenges.
How BitKesh Works
BitKesh uses a fungible digital token on the platform to enable transactions. The Ethereum-based token, the DCXi, is then traded in different markets on a peer-to-peer basis for the equivalent fiat value.
The service allows users to both receive and deposit funds in ZAR and USD RTGS. A chat service is also enabled allowing the user to talk with merchants via WhatsApp for any help or queries regarding the service.
Once you download the app, available on both Android and iOS, you see an easy-to-use interface as shown below:
Here are the steps to use the service when sending money from South Africa to Zimbabwe:
- Click on ‘Buy’
- Select ‘Deposit ZAR’ to get your banking details using your BitKesh number
- Navigate to the Home Page and enter the amount you wish to send
- Hit ‘Send Money’ and edit ‘Beneficiaries’ section
- Select either ‘EcoCash’ or ‘Bank’ and enter the account number
- Hit ‘Next’ to save the beneficiaries details
- Use the ‘Search’ feature to now search for the added beneficiary
- Enter your 4-digit PIN
- You will receive a confirmation of transaction SMS on your BitKesh number
BitKesh makes money from the difference between the prices of its digital asset in different markets.
Like all crypto players in the greater South African region and Africa as a whole, BitKesh is still facing regulatory challenges. According to Tsvetu, the lack of central banks regulation means the number of partnerships that can come onboard is almost non-existent.
“All possible partnerships have died because the first question everyone asks is ‘are you licensed?’ There is room for collaboration amongst new players, with the old players, and with the regulators.”
“Blockchain technology allows for increased transparency, gives African countries freedom from the international monopolies that control how funds move, and can contribute towards improving KYC / AML policies to the sector and others. I see a future in which central banks sit down with the innovators to find ways of benefiting from this technology. It could be our solution for an integrated regional payment platform.”
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