E27CO: Singapore-based fin-tech startup Toast is raising a US$750,000 seed round, with half the funds already committed, e27 has learned. The Startupbootcamp (Fintech Singapore) incubated startup founded by British entrepreneur Aaron Siwoku, which just relaunched following a rebranding from Cryptosigma last week, has already received S$24,500 (US$18,000) in return for an eight per cent equity stake from the accelerator.
MASABLE: Facebook Messenger has finally rolled out its payments feature across the entire U.S. so that any stateside user can pay friends right inside the app, if they like. David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, quietly announced the news via Facebook post on Tuesday, describing the payments feature as “easy and safe.” (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Currency Cloud, a UK-based provider of cross-border money transferring services that are in turn used by a number of money transfer and payments businesses, has landed an $18 million round of funding. The Series C round — which brings the total raised by the company since 2012 to $36 million — is notable not only because it underscores progress for the company, but also because of who is doing the investing. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Azimo, a mobile money transfer startup out of London that was once feted by Facebook, is jumping into the funding ring with a $20 million raise. CEO and co-founder Michael Kent says the company will use the investment to continue to build out its operations across Europe and deeper into the community of migrants who already form the bedrock of its services. (more…)
The Economist: Paying for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York, thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-PESA. Launched in 2007 by Safaricom, the country’s largest mobile-network operator, it is now used by over 17m Kenyans, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the adult population; around 25% of the country’s gross national product flows through it. M-PESA lets people transfer cash using their phones, and is by far the most successful scheme of its type on earth. Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money? (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Bitcoin’s most disrupting feature is its decentralized architecture. Indeed, bitcoin relies on a P2P network of computers to proceed money transfers. Each part of the network works to create new bitcoins (‘mining’), keep the network alive and validate transactions. All the transactions are registered in the blockchain that is used to validate a transaction using cryptography technology: it ensures that you can’t use a bitcoin you don’t own or you don’t use the same bitcoin more than once. This last action previously required a third party, but with bitcoin this is not the case anymore: the network replaces financial institutions and banks. (more…)
PCWorld: The amount of money sent to sub-Saharan Africa via mobile services is expected to hit $33 billion this year, reflecting the increasing number of mobile phone users on the continent. There has been significant growth in mobile money remittances in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda recently but there has been stagnation in Nigeria, Africa’s largest telecom market by investment and subscription, according to WorldRemit, a global money transfer company. Still, Nigeria, which received $21 billion in 2014 via mobile money, accounts for two-thirds of remittances to the region. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Remittances – sending cash overseas – has always been bitcoin‘s killer app. Now the guys at Robocoin have made it more killer. Their new product, called Romit, is basically a way to send cash through a Robocoin ATM to another ATM or merchant account at fees far lower than other remittance providers. (more…)
ВВС: Bitcoin might conjour up visions of dark doings on the Silk Road website and wildly fluctuating value for some – but could it provide a safe haven for the money sent home to loved ones by Africa’s diaspora? Over 30 million Africans live in the diaspora. They sent almost $40bn (£26.5bn) home in 2014, a figure that is likely to grow significantly in the coming years.