Using digital currency, investors in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo can send money directly to bank accounts in China. This is great news as many finished products sold in African countries are purchased from Asia.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency (digital currency) and payment system that came on board since 2009 before becoming a major medium of exchange between merchants and clients online. It has no ties to sovereign states and only exists as zeros and ones in cyberspace. Read: Bitcoin: All You Need To Know About it
Digital Currency Bring Africa Closer to China
Many companies both online and offline now see bitcoin as a valid means of payment for the products they are selling. Now, a Kenyan start-up is bringing Africa closer to its biggest investor, China, by letting companies on the continent send payments to the Asian nation which are traded in Bitcoin.
Using BitPesa’s website: https://www.bitpesa.co/, users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo can send money directly to bank accounts in China.
It’s fast and could cut conventional money transfer costs by up to 60%, according to the company.
Until now African companies have had limited options for paying their Chinese suppliers in a swift and affordable way, says CEO Elizabeth Rossiello.
How BitPeSa works
Take a solar power start-up importing their panels from China, for example. They can register via BitPesa’s website and request to make a transfer. BitPesa then calculates the transaction fee, based on the amount and currencies involved.
The fee is agreed and the user pays with mobile money or by bank transfer. “It arrives, depending on where you are, just a few minutes or hours later in the Chinese bank account,” Rossiello says.
“We request your ID, your address, your date of birth (at registration). We check them against the same databases the banks use,” she adds, highlighting the site’s emphasis on security.
BitPesa takes care of the Bitcoin trading at the back-end, and for the user, the experience is much like sending money by any other independent money transfer service.
For Nigerians, the minimum that can be paid is 1,000 NGN. The maximum that we allow to be purchased through BitPesa is currently 1,000,000 NGN ($5000).
How To Buy BTC With Your Debit Card Or Paga Account In Nigeria
There are several ways to buy and sell bitcoins in Nigeria and BitPesa is providing its own unique experience to customers using her platform for their business. The below guide demonstrates how to buy digital currency like bitcoin using the BitPesa platform.
- Select New Transaction on your Dashboard.
- Choose NGN in the “I have” field and BTC in the “I want” field.
- Enter recipient name if not yourself.Select recipient as either yourself, someone else or a recent contact you’ve used before.
- Enter recipient name if not yourself.
- Enter bitcoin address of the recipient and continue to the confirmation and payment page.
- Make payments via bank transfer or through Paga.
- You will receive bitcoins as soon as you make the payment!
BitPesa is Setting The Digital Currency Pace
Established in Kenya in 2013, BitPesa — which has raised $4 million in capital — is not the only operator trading with Bitcoin in Africa, with others in this sector mostly based in South Africa.
With trade between China and Africa estimated to have hit $220 billion in 2016, as Chinese companies invest heavily in small businesses across the continent, it’s a smart move.
Already, the company has seen interest from large multinationals. “We are very excited by the initial uptake,” says Rossiello, who pays her international staff in Bitcoin too.
International money transfers can be costly and often go via payment corridors that zigzag the globe before reaching their destination — an inefficient and archaic method, says Rossiello.
“Why not have [money moving in] direct lines instead of spaghetti bowls?”
BitPesa hopes to keep expanding, proving that Bitcoin should not be feared but embraced as a tool which connects the continent.
Not everyone is so easily persuaded, with some firms still wary of Bitcoin, Rossiello adds.