On 14 December, a high court in Kenya will come to a preliminary decision in a battle between Bitcoin remittance and payments company BitPesa, which is suing Safaricom, the telecom company which operates M-Pesa. Also suing is Lipisha, the payment company that gateways BitPesa and M-Pesa.
Safaricom had stopped Lipisha processing M-Pesa transactions, freezing monies pertaining to Lipisha transactions in its accounts – apparently the payment handler was notified by way of a text message. Safaricom later reinstated Lipisha’s access, but only did so on the condition that Lipisha terminate its relationship with BitPesa, giving Lipisha only one hour to decide. Lipisha and BitPesa claim Safaricom has no legal right to do so and is infringing upon “rights to acquire and own property, fair administration and economic interests”.
Safaricom says BitPesa does not meet the grade regarding anti-money laundering requirements, invoking the need for a licence to be able to connect to its customers. Under the auspices of Lipisha, BitPesa converted its customers’ bitcoins into Kenyan shillings and sent them to recipients’ M-Pesa. It is unclear exactly how, or by whom, AML rules will be enforced in this case. In the meantime, transactions between the platforms remain suspended.
Bitpesa told IBTimes UK: “BitPesa