BitPesa, the Bitcoin exchange service company based in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is planning to expand its operations to neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania in the next weeks after raising 1.1Million Dollars (KSh99 Million) in its second round of funding.
In existence in just over one year, BitPesa allows users to send money to family and friends in Africa by use of Bitcoins, with an initial focus to offer exchange services from Bitcoins to Kenya shillings.
The young company now also allows for Bitcoin payments to Kenya and Ghana, with plans to launch in more African countries as part of efforts to grow its presence in the continent and provide a solution to the unbanked population as the money is sent directly to mobile wallets.
Founder and CEO Elizabeth Rossiello said the company is witnessing growth every waking day and every month and said there are planned initiatives to help educate Kenyans and Ghanians more on Bitcoins use and encourage uptake in the service.
In a blog post, Rosiello mentioned that BitPesa will be carrying out workshops for traders in various cities where it’s present, including Kenya’s Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Ghana’s Accra.
“Our average trade amount increases daily and each user is trading more frequently every month – we are seeing real traction,” reads part of the post. “Last month we started selling bitcoins and that has been well received by Kenyan and Ghanaian small businesses needing to make payments abroad.”
With a team of 9 and so far having raised a total of 1.7 Million Dollars, the company now provides brokerage services as it buys and sells bitcoins on behalf of customers in both Kenya and Ghana, with its remittance service being influenced by how cheap or expensive it is for clients to buy bitcoins in host countries.
Use of bitcoins for payments is still a mystery that has been in existence for a while now, with most people not knowing what the digital currency is all about. In the U.S, for example, where the currency has been in use for a while now, people still don’t understand what it is, according to a recent report.
In Africa, on the other hand, Bitcoin is almost non-existence with only few a people understanding the metrics behind the currency. BitPesa and other bitcoin startups will act as a big help for the majority of people, especially through the planned workshops that will contribute largely to educating traders.