BitMinutes Inc. is a startup fintech company founded in the U.S. in 2012 by a team comprised of Harvard and Stanford graduates and is a financial services technology company leveraging blockchain and pre-paid minutes tokenisation to provide financial inclusion to the global consumer. BitMinutes’ tokens also allow peer-to-peer value transfer to millions of bank and mobile accounts across 70 contracted countries and prepaid airtime top-ups to over 4 billion mobile accounts in over 120 countries.
They recently announced that they added a feature to its application that will make it easy for Nigerians to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) as well as US Dollars. This functionality is currently only available only in Nigeria but later planned for Kenya as well.
In a little over two years in Nigeria, BitMinutes created a Trusted Agent Network (TAN) of merchants that accept the Nigerian BitMinutes for goods and services as well as exchange Nigerian BitMinutes for local currency. That network spans more than 1,300 TAN agents, serving more than 7,000 citizens.
The latest feature will allow account holders to easily purchase BTC of US Dollars, using Nigerian BitMinutes, from their phone or computer.
Speaking about the new feature, Tom Meredith, the CEO of BitMinutes, said, “The Nigerian BitMinute is a stable coin that can be used as a currency in Nigeria. We believe adding this feature will further solidify our foothold in Nigeria, and further position to expanding our existing operations in other countries on the continent, such as Kenya.”
The recent announcement comes on the heels of another one that Prime Trust, LLC, a highly respected U.S.-based Trust and Custody firm, has partnered with the parent company of BitMinutes to expand the TAN concept in the United States.
BitMinutes plans to facilitate the expansion of micro-credit lending in communities where lending is rare and too expensive for most individual borrowers. BitMinutes’ ownership and transactional records will establish a new type of consumer credit score for emerging market consumers who currently struggle with limited access to capital and a lack of traditional banking services.
In addition, BitMinutes will create payments platforms in countries where it launches to facilitate mobile payments similar to the M-Pesa platform which has achieved success in Kenya, but which has not yet been widely adopted in other countries, according to the company.
Finally, the reach of BitMinutes has been impressive overall. According to their website, “Many early stage startup endeavors can be risky since they typically raise capital for incomplete projects that do not address a proven consumer market. BitMinutes are in continuous production, targeting the combined global remittance and mobile prepaid industries market valued at $1.2 trillion.” BitMinutes’s global distribution in place can reach over 4 billion mobile phones as well as over 1.2 billion bank and mobile wallet accounts.