Beam, a startup that was offering bitcoin remittance service in Ghana has decided not to do so anymore. The change of business model comes as part of a major pivot, currently underway.
Beam has been active in Ghana from past October and the startup has been instrumental in introducing bitcoin based services in the country. By using bitcoin technology, Beam was so far able to provide low cost cross border payment service in the country. Beam has been offering multiple payout options where users could choose how they want to use the received funds.
Beam’s multiple payout option enabled users to pay their mobile bills, buy airtime (in case of prepaid cards), pay utility bills and even make donations with bitcoin. However, unlike few African countries, bitcoin adopting in Ghana has not been as expected. In addition to poor adoption rate, the cost of exchanging bitcoin to local fiat is costlier than other places. These factors are said to be responsible for making Beam rethink its business and pivot.
Beam will be shifting their focus from bitcoin to international debit and credit cards. In a recent interview with Disrupt Africa, the CTO of Beam Falk Benke stated that the decision made by the company is a business move and it is in no way an indicator of bitcoin’s future in Ghana. According to him, he still has faith in bitcoin and it has the potential to change the payments scene in African continent.
The new Beam will enable Ghanaian diaspora to pay their bills, send gifts, buy goods and services for those back home using their international credit and debit cards. The company’s move to shift from bitcoin to plastic currency may also be influenced by the recent exit of Nikunj Handa, another co-founder from Beam.
The charges associated with the new Beam service is still not known. Going by the current industry standards, we can assume that the charges associated with the new service will probably be greater than that of bitcoin based service.
I see, I think and I do… passionate about digital currency, start-ups and social good. I believe that if you mix them right, you can change the world. Find me @gautham_n on twitter or /gautham,nm on facebook
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