Bitcoin exchange igot has expanded to Kenya following the acquisition of TagPesa, a local cryptocurrency exchange and remittance gateway, and integration with M-Pesa's mobile payments service.
Igot's Kenyan customers can now use the exchange's services by depositing and withdrawing Kenyan shillings either from their local bank accounts or their M-Pesa accounts.
The company, which is based in Australia, also provides remittance services to over 40 countries worldwide, including the EU, Middle East and Africa. The acquisition of TagPesa allows igot customers around the world to send funds directly into a friend or relative's Kenyan bank account.
Rick Day, co-founder of igot, said that Kenya's remittance market was huge and "largely untouched by bitcoin companies".
While over 2.5 million Kenyan emigrants around the world currently remit money back to the African nation, Day said, traditional money sending services currently available are expensive.
"Bitcoin offers to solve this problem and igot plans to use this tool to make global transfers much easier."
"We hope that this market would perform really well in the next six to 12 months," he continued. "We expect to get a lot more traction as bitcoin becomes more ubiquitous."
How it works
Users can deposit and withdraw funds using their regular bank account or their M-Pesa account.
However, in order to complete a transaction, the exchange requires that the user becomes verified by providing scans of a government-issued identity card and a utility bill.
To deposit funds, the consumer will have to create an order and then proceed to transfer the money via their bank or M-Pesa account.
Once this process is completed, the bitcoin will be deposited in the user's igot wallet.
To remit money, customers must visit the 'Global Transfer' section of the site from the navigation menu, select the country to which they want to send funds, and complete the form with amount and recipient's name and local bank details.
Igot will continue to monitor the remittance market, said Day, explaining that the exchange will introduce new features to attract "not only the seasoned bitcoin traders, but also everyday people who may have heard about bitcoin but want to use it with ease and for something other than just speculating".
The company's 'Pay your bill' and 'Pay your Rent' bitcoin features have performed well in the Australian market, he continued, saying that these would be rolled out to other markets in future.
The co-founder also commented on the possibility of expanding to India. Indian e-commerce has soared in the last five years, he said, adding that they "were in the process of integrating some big names there to accept bitcoin as a payment method".
"We want to be their obvious choice in the local market to accept bitcoin."