Start-up snapshot: Championing the use of bitcoin in Kenya

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Start-up: Bitsoko

Gibson Juma (23) is co-founder of Bitsoko, a Kenya-based bitcoin start-up. He tells How we made it in Africa why he is passionate about bitcoin, and his company’s efforts to build an infrastructure around the cryptocurrency. Below are edited excerpts.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Bitsoko is an Android digital wallet that enables you to send money. It is as simple as sending an SMS to another person across the world. Users simply download the app and set their password, top up with bitcoin and send digital currency to other people. They can also pay bills and make purchases from merchants.

We are currently conducting market research in Kenya and Ghana ahead of an official launch later in the year. The market response has been overwhelming over the last year since we launched the beta version. Nearly 30% of our users are from Russia, something we never anticipated. We think we have been getting users from Russia because of the banning and blocking of some bitcoin related websites in the country.

We are one of very few bitcoin setups in Africa, which gives us an advantage. We also have users in the US, South Africa, Britain, South America and of course Kenya. We charge users 0.1% to send any amount of money. Our goal

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