New SMS Bitcoin Service Aims at Emerging Markets
Singapore's CoinPip is partnering with a US startup to launch a low-tech solution to send bitcoins via SMS.
Singapore-based payment processor CoinPip is introducing new payment options, allowing anyone in the world to send coins via SMS.
It integrates seamlessly with the 'SMSwallet' system developed by US-based 37coins, which itself is aimed at developing and emerging markets where access to smartphone and desktop PC apps is limited.
It allows consumers to pay in bitcoin via any CoinPip Merchant POS from any mobile device with SMS functionality.
Anson Zeall, co-founder of CoinPip, is planning to expand across Hong Kong and Indonesia within the next month or so.
His company's vision is to make bitcoin and other digital currencies as safe and easy-to-use as any other form of money. He also has sights set on other regions in Southeast Asia where 3G mobile connections are limited, adding:
To beging using a 37coins bitcoin SMS wallet, mobile users simply need to visit www.37coins.com and enter a mobile number in countries where the service has been launched.
Once confirmed, the gateway can then be opened by anyone from any location and users can send and receive bitcoin from anywhere with mobile access.
CoinPip also recently launched an online API for merchants that want to accept bitcoin online and uploaded its merchant POS app to the Google Play store.
CoinPip Merchant allow merchants in some Southeast Asia region countries to accept bitcoins, and receive in their local currency. Instant exchange is available in Hong Kong and Singapore, while an on-demand exchange is available for an extra fee in Australia, China (ex Hong Kong), Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. CoinPip has plans to add more countries soon.
Where instant exchange is available, bitcoins are converted to local currency and deposited into merchants' bank accounts daily. Users can track orders using their CoinPip account online and view transactions on an Android device. It also allows businesses to refund customers in bitcoin or local currency as required.
37coins' aim is to make bitcoin easy, secure to use, and accessible to everyone. It is similar to Kenya's M-Pesa mobile payment system, a leapfrogging technology that uses the country’s fiat currency. However, 37coins uses bitcoin and can potentially be used anywhere in the world.
Based in the US, 37coins' focus is on connecting the world's 'other four billion’ to the global economy with low-tech, secure, scalable solutions and apps aimed at low-end Android devices. It does so without requiring any new infrastructure or hardware.
37coins.com was founded by social entrepreneur Songyi Lee, developer Johann Barbie and designer Jonathan Zobro.
“The 37coins gateway system is distributed, and modeled after bitcoin itself. A person that deploys a gateway gets a tiny percentage of the transaction which turns it into an entrepreneurial opportunity," said Barbie.
"It’s simple and is even usable on the Nokia 100, this basic SMS phone. While M-Pesa is just in Kenya, 37coins can work anywhere in the world," added Zobro.
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