Kenya’s Bitpesa leads charge in Africa’s Bitcoin market

In Leadership

Kenya’s digital currency payment startup BitPesa is leading the charge in Africa’s Bitcoin market while reshaping the way trade is done between Africa and the world.

The platform BitPesa which has closed a US$2.5 million series A funding round, with a view to expanding its services further across West and Southern Africa, as well as in the UK and Europe is also helping traders make payments with counterparts in countries such as China.

BitPesa is a universal payment and trading platform for Africa headquartered in Nairobi, with offices and staff in Lagos, London and San Francisco.

BitPesa, through its website, is helping businesses in China and Africa to send instant payments in local currency directly from African bank accounts to Chinese bank accounts.

READ: How Blockchain technology works and why you should care

BitPesa accepts bitcoin payments and exchanges the bitcoin for local currencies, which it then deposits into bank accounts or mobile money wallets. Transactions are available in over 30 currencies.

Send money directly to bank accounts in China

Users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo can now send money directly to bank accounts in China. The remittance service offered by BitPesa is low-cost as it cuts conventional money transfer costs by up to 60%, according to the company.

The trade between China and Africa increased to more than $170 billion in 2013 according to the World Bank and is estimated to have hit $220 billion in 2016, as Chinese companies invest heavily in small businesses across the continent.

BitPesa which operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the DRC, the UK and Senegal said the successful round of funding will help the company expand further to western Africa and Europe. The company’s total funding after the success of last year’s round is now at an estimated US$6 million since its launch in 2013.

BitPesa last year went through regulatory headwinds after the central bank of Kenya said it does not recognise any Bitcoin transactions and shut down accounts linked to Bitcoin companies.

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