Blockchain Payments Platform BitPesa Acquires TransferZero

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Online blockchain payment platform BitPesa is expanding its reach after announcing the acquisition of TransferZero, an international money transfer platform.

Founded in 2013, BitPesa has become one of the largest blockchain payment platforms for Africa and Europe and has seen a 24 percent month-over-month growth for the last two years, according to Elizabeth Rossiello, founder and CEO of BitPesa, speaking at the Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit: Crypto, in New York.

Such is the growth that BitPesa has experienced that in its first year of launching in Nigeria it went from handling $100,000 a month to $1 million a month in transaction volume by the end of the year. Fast-forward to the end of 2017 and the payment platform closed the year with nearly $18 million a month in transactions.

BitPesa sees itself as a simple way for individuals and companies around the world to buy and sell African currencies through bitcoin. The African nations that it operates in include Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ghana.

As a licensed Authorised Payment Institution by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), BitPesa is keen to expand its reach even further. Now, in a bid to do that it has acquired Madrid-based TransferZero, which sends money to businesses and consumers in 200 countries using more than 50 different currencies.

Licensed by the Bank of Spain as a payment institution this makes it compliant with the second payment services directive (PSD2) regulations across Europe. Speaking of the acquisition, Rossiello said:

“We just doubled our bank accounts [and] our infrastructure.”

Notably, though, Rossiello said that this acquisition doesn’t mean that BitPesa is moving away from Africa.

“We are a frontier market company,” she said. “That’s the heart and soul of this company, that’s where the most value is derived from this business model and that is where the most enormous potential still lies for those of us who know how to do business there, and that’s our team.”

Rather, as Europe is a hub for global remittance and payment companies, Rossiello said that it ‘makes sense’ to expand to Europe in order to serve its customers and clients there. She added that working between Europe and Africa is ‘quite complimentary.’

With regard to expanding BitPesa to the U.S., Rossiello interestingly said she’s ‘not somebody who follows the same path as everyone else,’ and that she ‘doesn’t think the U.S. needs her.’

“I’m not saying Africa needs me, but I think Africa needs more entrepreneurs focusing on building products and I’m happy being one of them doing that,” she added. “I think frontier markets like Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa need more entrepreneurs, they need more market entrance, and I would love to be part of the class doing that.”