Bitcoin startup seeks to transform Caribbean economy
Thu 30 Jun 2016
Caricoin, a UK-based bitcoin startup, has just introduced a bitcoin wallet app targeted at the Caribbean market. Created in conjunction with blockchain security platform BitGo, Caricoin seeks to provide users with an alternative to traditional banking services which are difficult or impossible for many customers in the Caribbean to access.
In a recent press release Caricoin announced the availability of the first bitcoin-based mobile money platform in the Caribbean, offering immediate access to a bitcoin account for any user with a mobile device with internet access.
Activation is immediate upon downloading the app and linking it to a mobile number. This is a radical change for customers in the Caribbean, where an estimated 50% of the population does not have access to traditional banking services. Traditional processes are antiquated and labor-intensive, and out of reach for a large segment of the population. Even for small businesses, opening a traditional bank account can take up to 90 days.
By providing fast, easy access to banking services, and allowing instantaneous transfers between users – including bill payment services – the company’s long-term goal is to create a ‘mobile money ecosystem’ in the Caribbean using bitcoin as the standard currency.
Caricoin is also seeking development of a zero-cost remittance corridor for Caribbean people working overseas to support families back home. By transferring money through bitcoin wallets, rather than through traditional banking services, Caricoin believes it can save users over $800 million in fees per year.
Karsten Becker, CEO of Caricoin, said, “Much in the way email changed the world by making communication fast and cheap, bitcoin is changing the world of digital finance and reshaping how we perceive, manage and store our money.”
In a follow up interview, he added, “In comparison to banks and the mobile money platforms which are struggling to take off due to over-regulation, we make it extremely easy for anyone to open an account ‒ all you really need is a mobile phone with an internet connection.”
“In some areas of rural Jamaica it can cost more than the amount on the utility bill just to travel to go and pay the bill,” Becker said. “Making payments easier without the red tape is just one of the ways our wallet can help people in the Caribbean, something that saves money for both the people and the companies they support with their hard work.”