Bitcoin Wallet Goes Live in Kenya (July 9, 2013)
July 9, 2013
A Bitcoin wallet developer in Kenya this month launched a service enabling locals to send and receive the virtual currency to most nations around the world using any Internet-enabled mobile phone or desktop computer, with the capability of converting Bitcoins to M-Pesa, Kenya’s popular mobile money service. Nairobi-based Kipochi Ltd (Kipochi means “wallet” in Swahili) says its cloud-based service is integrated with mobile networks Orange and Yu and though it’s not directly affiliated with Safaricom, which operates M-Pesa, the services are “complementary.” Remittances sent via Kipochi are a faster and cheaper way to send funds to people in the most remote areas of Kenya, Kipochi CEO Pelle Braendgaard said in a blog post.
Users may enroll in Kipochi on the company’s Website by providing a name, email, mobile phone number and national identification or passport, the company says. Kipochi reportedly blocks all funds transfers to and from the U.S., due to regulatory concerns. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in March issued guidance on virtual currency, categorizing administrators and exchangers of virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin and Amazon Coins, as money services businesses, subjecting them to certain registration, reporting and recordkeeping regulations.