A new price comparison site hopes to boost bitcoin remittances in Latin America by placing traditional and digital currency-based services side by side.
Pelle Braendgaard, co-founder at Mondome, said:
“Bitcoin is clearly a great technology for remittances. However, for most people there are no alternatives to the two or three remittance companies you see signs for every day on the street.”
“If bitcoin is going to change this”, he added, “we need to first of all show normal, non-technical people in immigrant populations around the world the benefits there are.”
In practice, users are able to input source and destination countries and an amount to be remitted and Mondome will bring up a dynamic list of search results. Users will even be able to see bitcoin entries move up and down the list in real time as its price fluctuates.
The technological process was "a bit more complex than we first thought we would need", said Braendgaard, adding:
"It turns out that it is a very complex multi-step procedure. We have to somehow combine different exchanges and their various supported payment methods and compare them with the apparent simplicity of traditional remittance."
Even though it originally set out to be "a simple search engine, it is actually a lot closer to the flight search engines such as Sabre and Amadeus rather than Yelp or Airbnb", he explained.
Mondome officially entered beta on Tuesday.
Need for education
Braendgaard, who is based in Nicaragua, said that “there is a lot of interest [in bitcoin] but the problem in most countries in the region is the lack of exchanges”.
There is still a need for education about bitcoin in Latin America, he said, adding that "the people who could most benefit from it are the ones least likely to know about it".
Braendgaard believes that there are “many opportunities” in South America, and that that the region has “some of the largest and most competitive remittance corridors in the world”.
“There are also many remittance corridors that people outside the region don’t know about. Some of them such as Costa Rica–Nicaragua and Panama–Colombia are fairly well serviced, but other important ones like Argentina–Paraguay are extremely expensive."
Competing against "actual top money transmitters such as Western Union", Braendgaard said that he would like to add all possible exchanges, but explains that "there is development work and considerable research every time we add one".
Mondome is planning to integrate additional features and expand its English version to North America and Europe in March. Eventually, the team also hopes to add support for other cryptocurrencies, such as Ripple.
The service has already partnered with Coinbase in Europe and North America. Braendgaard said: "When picking exchanges we are specifically prioritising based on ease of use and signup for people in our target communities".
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