BitInka, a bitcoin platform that operates in Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil will soon expand its services throughout Argentina, Colombia and Chile, to become South America’s first universal bitcoin platform targeted for the unbanked.
Founded in 2013 by Roger Gabriel, BitINKA is one of the only companies in South America which implemented bitcoin trading to create a bitcoin exchange that allows its users to convert/withdraw bitcoin for many local currencies of South America, including the Peruvian Nueva Sol and the Argentinian peso.
Through its international and instant bitcoin exchange platform, the bitcoin startup aims to penetrate mainstream bitcoin adoption by implementing bitcoin in day-to-day finances and to provide a platform for users without any prior knowledge about the currency.
Since 2013, BitINKA has partnered with local banks, financial institutions and local collection agencies including Banco de Crédito del Perú and Banco de Crédito de Bolivia to enable a fast and easy withdrawal processes for its users. For some regions, BitINKA’s bitcoin exchange and wallet platform will be the first bitcoin-related application to be introduced.
Targeting Mainstream Bitcoin Adoption and the Unbanked
According to the BitINKA team, the biggest market of South America is based on day-to-day expenses, which includes e-commerce, convenience stores, taxis, kiosks (small stores), etc. However, credit card penetration is substantially low in South American countries and thus, is often not used apart from e-commerce platforms. Furthermore, banks and financial institutions require a long list of documents and qualifications for bank accounts, and credit cards including two government approved licenses, tax income of at least two years, and financial statements from at least two different financial institutions.
Pierna Caballero, the co-administrator of BitINKA told Bitcoin Magazine “In some countries where Bitinka operates, people are educating themselves recently to use Bitcoin and they are realizing that is something very easy and also is a currency that people themselves control. In Peru for example this is something new and gradually has captured the public interest, in Bolivia it is prohibited Bitcoin as a payment method, so Bitinka works as a virtual wallet for businesses and users affiliates.”
Bitcoin is widely used in countries like Argentina, where well-established bitcoin payment processing startups and exchanges like BitPagos are based in. BitPagos is one of the most prominent bitcoin merchant payment platform which raised over US$600,000 in a funding round participated by Tim Draper and Barry Silbert. The startup is already close to processing US$1 million per month.
However, bitcoin is still unfamiliar to a large number of people in the continent. BitINKA aims to help those unfamiliar with the benefits of the digital currency to easily accept, trade and receive payments using bitcoin.
Caballero explained, “Brazil is a country that already use Bitcoin in different ways, as an investment, savings, etc. in Peru just a few people know Bitcoin, Peru is a country where new things are more difficult to be accepted so what we are doing with Bitinka is helping Bitcoin to incorporate in people’s lives.”