Bitcoin Breakthrough? Japanese Giant Opens Corridor To Africa

Japan money transfer giant SBI Remit is now letting nearly half a million customers send money to Africa using the bitcoin blockchain.

Designed to be a faster more reliable way to send money to Africa’s often overlooked markets, the new treasury management services are being provided by venture-backed BitPesa, which has raised $10 million from Greycroft partners and others to turn the bitcoin blockchain into an enterprise payment rail.

Instead of relying on a number of banks and other middlemen to move yen into U.S. dollars or euros and then out into African currencies such as Nigerian lira or the Ghanaian cedi, the licensed BitPesa uses a combination of the bitcoin blockchain and other services to create new currency pairs.

In addition to settling remittances in as little as one hour thanks to the bitcoin blockchain’s fast settlement times, SBI Remit director Nobuo Ando believes BitPesa’s multiple international licenses will help jump start African commerce with Japan on a larger scale by adding a much-needed layer of trust and transparency.

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