Forget PayPal, Kitiwa is the Big Deal Now
There have been many discussions about the difficulties involved in making payments online especially from some parts of Africa due to the fact that some of these countries have been blacklisted by some payment platforms like PayPal.
There are other payment platforms, but some are expensive and even have restrictions that do not permit easy flow of making payments or transactions.
But have you heard of Kitiwa?
Three young and passionate guys, from Meltwater, are giving Ghanaians and Nigerians the opportunity to make payments online by using Bitcoin technology.
See below an interview between Prince Baah-Duodu and Kitiwa.
1. What’s Kitiwa?
Kitiwa is a Bitcoin financial services company. Currently, it allows Ghanaians to buy Bitcoins using mobile money and bank transfers (MPowerPayments). Soon, it will replicate this service in Nigeria. Other products in its pipeline include a Bitcoin remittance service that allows Ghanaians and Nigerians in the diaspora to make cheap and instant remittances.
2. What inspired the idea of Kitiwa?
It is difficult for Ghanaian and Nigerians to make payments online. PayPal is still not in Ghana. Visa and MasterCard cards often get rejected. Bitcoins provide a fast, cheap and easy solution that ‘just works’ and allows Ghanaians and Nigerians to make payments online. This is what started Kitiwa and now, it has plans to use Bitcoins to allow fast, cheap and easy remittances. It also plans to allow Ghanaian and Nigerian merchants to accept Bitcoin payments.
3. How beneficial is Kitiwa to solving a need for individuals, businesses and Ghanaians?
Bitcoins allow individuals and businesses to send and accept money, instantly, to and from anyone in the world. Bitcoins transactions are also extremely cheap (< USD 0.04 per transaction, regardless of amounts). Compared to other options of sending money (Western Union, MoneyGram) and accepting payments (Visa, MasterCard), Bitcoins are much faster and cheaper. Above all this Bitcoins are decentralised which means that the Bitcoin technology will never blacklist Ghanaians and Nigerians like PayPal did. This technology will always be available to everyone in the world. The Meltwater funded start up is currently managed by Mawuli Adzoe, the founder of the company and the head of product and customer service. He is a graduate from the University of Ghana and has started several Bitcoin ventures in Ghana. Falk Benke, a computer scientist from Germany, is the CTO of the company with experience in working for startups in the Berlin startup scene. Nikunj Handa from Singapore, the CEO of the company, has experience in building startups in the USA and in Singapore. He comes from a finance and information systems management background. With this wealth of experience, the team hopes to provide Bitcoin financial services to as many people in Ghana and Nigeria as possible. “We want to allow Ghanaians and Nigerians to buy and sell Bitcoins using local payment options. We want to allow Ghanaian and Nigerian merchants to accept payments using Bitcoins. We want to allow Ghanaians and Nigerians in the diaspora to send money back home using Bitcoins.” says Nikunj Handa, CEO of Kitiwa. Meanwhile, Kitiwa acknowledged that educating the public on Bitcoins and getting regulatory approval for its services are the biggest challenges so far. They are looking forward to meeting payments and crypto-currency enthusiasts who can help in these efforts for the greater good of the region. Notwithstanding, Kitiwa believes that things will be faster and cheaper than the current non-bitcoin solutions due the fundamental advantages of the Bitcoin technology. Kitiwa will be releasing a remittance service as well as a merchant payments solution that allows Ghanaian and Nigerian merchants to accept payments in Bitcoin and exchange them for local currencies in future.