First for Bitcoin in Africa: Launch of first international SmartWallet, from Brazilian Bitcoin mining company, coinBR
coinBR, an established Brazilian cryptocurrency company since 2014, has announced it will be launching in South Africa on 4th of May 2017.
coinBR mines cryptocurrencies from its mining facility based in Paraguay where they mine Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero(XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and DASH. coinBR mines these currencies for themselves and for their clients, giving them the opportunity to own their own cryptocurrency miner, hosted, managed and maintained by coinBR. Miners cost from $1,000 to $3,600 once off per machine.
The online application has been successfully operational in Latin America since 2016, after its initial launch in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In Brazil, SmartWallet users are even able to pay their taxes and bills via the coinBR online application.
The Next Step
Launching into Africa was the next natural step for coinBR Brazil after achieving great success within the cryptocurrency trading and mining arena in Latin America.
“We chose South Africa as our point of entry into Africa,” says Rocelo Lopes, CEO of coinBR, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, “Because we believe it is the economic powerhouse, fintech hub and setting the cryptocurrency scene for the rest of Africa. In many African countries, the flat currency is unstable with fluctuating rates. Bitcoin offers a security blanket for users wanting more stability and control.”
Cryptocurrency and the Internet of Things
“Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT),” says Lopes. “The real Internet of Things is when you have a cryptocurrency mining machine, based in Paraguay, mining Bitcoin. That BTC gets automatically transferred into your coinBR SmartWallet in South Africa. You have programmed this wallet to automatically take one third of the BTC, sell it at the market rate, and deposit those funds into your South African savings account. The wallet is also programmed to take another third, and save it in BTC, and transfer it to your pre-created coinBR savings wallet. The final third you’ve programmed the wallet to automatically pay your telephone bill. That’s the real Internet of Things.”
A First for Africa
The coinBR SmartWallet is the first for Africa because of the functionality above. Users don’t need to own a mining machine to enjoy the benefits of the wallet, but coinBR believes that the real benefit lies in owning your own miner, as the miner makes the money and the SmartWallet provides the control users need, thus taking Bitcoin to the people of Africa, for the people of Africa. “Our technology is user friendly and easy to use,” says Lopes. “We believe it’s essential that even an 80-year old grandmother would be able to use the online application comfortably.”
“Remember why Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi in the first place,” says Carmen Potgieter, Director of coinBR South Africa. “It was created so that individuals could transact in safe peer-to-peer transactions without the normal time spent building a trusting relationship. In Bitcoin you don’t need to trust the other person - the system ensures the trust. We are demystifying cryptocurrency and making it accessible to the people it was invented for.”
“Another thing that makes coinBR unique,” says Potgieter, “Is that we have a constant, high volume supply of cryptocurrency, unlike other wallets that might only have a limited daily amount available for purchase.”
“coinBR is in communication with the Reserve Bank to ensure that the full service is available to foreigners who are in possession of a valid South African bank account. This is also a first for South Africa,” says Potgieter. “We are also working with the financial institutions and regulators to make the FICA process easier for our clients.”
“We don’t compete with the banking sector,” says Potgieter. “Clients still need bank accounts to pay their money into. We don’t want to become a bank and hold the money. We will leave that to the financial institutions to do what they’re good at. The intention of Bitcoin was never to take over a country’s currency, but to run alongside it. There are things Bitcoin does better than fiat currencies, and that’s where we come in.”
The Blockchain Academy
“When coinBR started investigating the potential to launch in Cape Town, we reached out to the key players in cryptocurrency and fintech,” says Potgieter. “Sonya Kuhnel and Theo Sauls from The Blockchain Academy were instrumental in paving the way, in that they have gathered and educated many of the leading financial minds in South Africa on the opportunities in cryptocurrency, and they have created a space for key thinkers to collaborate via their annual conferences, making the introduction of coinBR smoother and faster.”
Potgieter adds, “We are also very excited about our partnership with Xapo, an established Bitcoin company with secure wallet as our first introduction to the SA market, where we are currently acting as an agent to facilitate their BTC sales in South Africa. Transactions between coinBR SmartWallet clients and Xapo clients will be an off-chain transaction due to our partnership, ensuring an almost immediate transaction time.”
The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative
“Cryptocurrency meets FinTech at the Bandwidth Barn,” says Potgieter. “coinBR has chosen to launch at the Bandwidth Barn, because we feel that the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) are instrumental in creating an empowering ecosystem where fintech and crypotocurrency development can thrive.”
The Blockchain Academy’s Sonya Kuhnel says, “We believe that we are on the brink of significant developments in the field of cryptocurrency in Africa, and our collaboration with coinBR has the unique potential to change how people access cryptocurrency.”
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