Bitcoin firm considers mobile operator deal

Bitpesa, a Bitcoin-based remittance provider, is looking for potential partners, including mobile operators, ahead of the forthcoming beta of its service in Kenya, according to Bloomberg.

The company is in talks with two of the country’s banks and is considering a partnership with at least one operator and one-money transfer agent, according to CEO Elizabeth Rossiello.

Kenya has four operators including Safaricom, the market leader and the provider of the dominant M-Pesa mobile money service. The country’s other operators are Airtel, Orange and Yu.

M-Pesa offers remittances only domestically, leaving a market opportunity for an equivalent service internationally.

Bitpesa’s service envisages a customer in a foreign country using an internet-based service to send funds, which the company will then trade into Bitcoins. In Kenya, Bitpesa converts the Bitcoins back into local currency so that the recipient can collect via their mobile phone or a bank account.

Kenya is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest market for international remittances behind Nigeria and Senegal.


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