• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Kotani Pay & Banking the Unbanked –Kenyan Ways of Using Crypto

Oct 3, 2021

No doubt that 2020 will be always be remembered in the history of crypto. This is obvious because it was the year when mainstream global recognition was secured by crypto. But one crucial aspect which resulted in the mainstream global recognition for crypto was the Covid-19 pandemic. While there were restrictions imposed on movement worldwide, investors’ craving for looking at alternatives grew. This ultimately led them to virtual currencies. However, there were people from the African region who were not able to capitalize on the global crypto boom.

For instance, in Kenya, there is very little usage of smartphones. There is widespread misinformation with regard to virtual currencies. Even the internet speed and accessibility is poor. These are some of the reasons why there is very less amount of people who are using cryptocurrencies in Kenya. However, the country and people residing therein have developed great interests in virtual assets. This is probably because in other African countries like South Africa and Nigeria, there is mass usage of virtual currencies. But there are some people in Kenya who are working tirelessly to apprise Kenyans about the multiple benefits of crypto usage.

One concerned organization in Kenya is Kotani Pay. It is a firm established as a fintech company aimed with the objective of providing locals on and off-ramp blockchain-based services. The person behind this firm is Brian Kimotho who is working as the company’s CMO.

Kimotho was recently interviewed by a crypto firm called “Bitcoin.com”. Kimotho was asked what was the reason behind establishing of Kotani Pay. In response, Kimotho told that prior to Kotani Pay, people in Kenya were not aware of technologies such as Blockchain. Apparently, there was acute shortage of smartphones in the country because the living conditions are poor. Instead, most of the citizens, had feature phone through which they can only make/receive calls and send text messages. But it was Kotani Pay that introduced them to the technology and made them aware of the benefits.

He said that Kotani Pay was established keeping in mind that Kenyans cannot afford smartphones along with internet connections. Therefore, a system was developed solely for such people which required to use USSD code from feature phones. Once the code is dialed, then a pop-up menu opens up at their feature phones from where they can send or receive payments.

He was then asked what he thinks about crypto usage in Africa and what is the best method? He quickly responded that the best method for crypto usage in Africa is “banking the unbanked”. He said that throughout his continent still majority of people do not own bank accounts. The reason behind is the non-availability of identification documents with most of Africans.

However, now blockchain has been introduced and Kotani Pay is tested, it is time for Kenyans for embracing virtual currencies. But the key to future is in giving banking facilities to consumers, opined Kimotho.

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