Bitwala has announced a new bitcoin to M-Pesa service meaning users can now send bitcoin to an M-Pesa account in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania for free. M-Pesa is a widely used mobile phone-based money system used in Afghanistan, India and Africa.
“We want to be a part of the mobile money revolution, and we’re stepping it up a notch by enabling anyone to send money to any mobile money account in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda using bitcoins,” said Jörg von Minckwitz, CEO of Bitwala
One of the most successful examples of mobile money in Africa is MPesa. In layman’s terms, MPesa is a mobile money transfer application where you can send money straight from your subscribed cell phone without the need of having a bank account. MPesa was first introduced in Kenya back in 2007 by Safaricom in partnership with Vodafone and have transformed how money is sent across the African continent.
In sub-Saharan Africa, mobile phone penetration continues to rise with roughly 76% of the population having a mobile phone subscription. Mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa hit $656 million in 2014, and is expected to double, reaching $1.3 billion in 2018.
MPesa was designed as a solution for foreign workers in sending remittances back home. It was also designed to provide unbanked people with a more affordable and easy payment system. It has enjoyed a high level of adoption, with over 96% of households outside of Nairobi having at least one MPesa account today.
MPesa is a disruptive force, where at least 25 million Kenyans have transacted $28 billion in 2015 through the Safaricom-owned service. To put things in perspective, this was equivalent to 44% of Kenya’s GDP at the end of the period.