“The remittance industry in Africa is highly inefficient,” Beam’s CEO Nikunj Handa explained. As well as the costs, which can be up to three times those in Asia, delays are also commonplace. “It can take up to two to three days for remittances to be finally delivered in someone’s bank account or in cash,” he said.
Beam aims to outdo its entrenched rivals by fixing these problems with a faster, more affordable and more convenient solution: bitcoin.
“By using bitcoin to accept payments from remittance senders,” he said, “we are able to receive payments instantly and with almost no fees. This keeps our costs very low, and allows us to pass on those savings to our customers.”
Senders using the service are charged a flat-fee of £1 ($1.60) on each transaction, regardless of the amount. In addition, the firm levies a 3% markup on its exchange rate.
- ^ $3.2bn in 2011 (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Western Union (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ ripe for disruption (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ global expat total (siteresources.worldbank.org)
- ^ $138m (www.theglobaleconomy.com)
- ^ $25m of that coming from Britain (siteresources.worldbank.org)
- ^ World Bank (www.theglobaleconomy.com)
- ^ 7.4% fee (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ according to a report citing the World Bank (www.developingmarkets.com)
- ^ Beam (beamremit.com)
- ^ Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (www.meltwater.org)
- ^ MEST incubator programme (meltwater.org)
- ^ Meltwater Foundation (www.meltwater.org)
- ^ Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Africa (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Beam (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Ghana (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Remittances (www.coindesk.com)