Coins.ph, a Philippine bitcoin remittance application and brokerage, has secured an additional $5 million in its Series A funding round led by South African internet conglomerate Naspers’ venture capital firm Naspers Venture.
Making international remittances fair and simple was among the first use cases invented for Bitcoin. Even though the initial concept of low fees and high-speed transactions is now threatened by the increased load on the network and complete absence of any consensus regarding the scalability issue, bitcoin remains a preferable solution for those willing to send money abroad without any involvement of banks and payments processors.
Still, cryptocurrency payments lack the simplicity of traditional payment mechanisms like plastic cards. When one wishes to send money abroad via international remittances services, they don’t have to learn to work with cryptocurrency exchange services. Even though most of them try to offer a user-friendly interface, they mostly focus on traders, not those wishing to exchange their fiat for crypto and then forget the experience as soon as possible. In any case, dealing with cryptocurrency transfers on your own implies many more steps than a card-to-card transfer.
The relative complexity of dealing with bitcoin has urged numerous startups and companies to develop solutions that could make the entire process simple even for rookie cryptocurrency users.
There are numerous solutions that seek to facilitate money remittances for both international and domestic purposes.
One of the world’s most promising markets in this regard is Africa where most people have no access to bank accounts and mostly rely on cellphones. There are numerous services like BitPesa or Bitwala that offer instant remittances of fiat currencies. Such startups are mostly based on concealing cryptocurrency from users. The user’s fiat currency is invisibly converted into BTC, transmitted to a different user, and then again invisibly converted back to fiat. For instance, BitPesa exchanges bitcoins for local fiat currencies by sending the assets to a user’s cellphone account.
In Nigeria, the Central Bank has prohibited the Nigerian citizens to use
After years of operating without clear regulatory frameworks, self-regulated bitcoin exchanges and businesses will most likely be introduced to a new set of regulations and policies by the Indian government in the next few months.
Ever since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, analysts and experts have stated that largely unbanked countries such as India present a potentially massive market for bitcoin. India has about 800 million unbanked citizens whose financial ecosystem and system worsened as a result of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetize the widely used 500 and 1,000 bank notes.
The removal of the two banknotes led to nationwide financial turmoil and instability. Hundreds of millions of citizens have struggled to obtain cash to fund day-to-day operations and purchase necessities. India’s financial system deteriorated further when the country’s ATMs began to run out of cash.
According to State Bank of India (SBI) deputy general manager Ajoy Kumar, more than 90 percent of ATMs in India have no cash to dispense, and around 70 percent of ATMs in three districts are out of cash.
“Nearly 70 per cent of our 648 ATMs in the three districts are out of cash. The rest will also become dry in the next few days as we do not have cash to refill the machines. We are helpless from our side,” said Kumar.
While the state-supported monetary system has declined and demonstrated a high level of incompetence over the past few months, the demand for bitcoin has been on the rise. Major bitcoin exchanges including Zebpay and Unocoin have experienced huge mid-term growth in their trading volumes and user base.
Sunny Ray, co-founder of Unocoin, wrote:
“It took two years and ten months for Unocoin to reach 100,000 users. It only took another six months to reach 200,000