BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian startup BuyCoins is opening up cryptocurrency to everyone with its new product Sendcash, which enables people to receive money into their bank account from any country using Bitcoin.
Launched in October 2017 as a peer-to-peer platform called Bitkoin Africa, BuyCoins rebranded and transitioned into a hybrid of a broker exchange and peer-to-peer platform in June 2018, launching a mobile app for both Android and iOS.
The startup enables Nigerians to easily buy, sell and use cryptocurrencies, and has around US$7 million worth of digital cash traded on its platform each month.
“We found that although there was some interest in crypto in Nigeria, it was pretty difficult to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with Nigerian bank accounts and cards. So, we created a platform to do just that, and we have tried to evolve as we learn more about the market and our users,” BuyCoins product manager Teju Adeyinka told Disrupt Africa.
Having seen increased uptake in usage, BuyCoins is now attempting to extend its user base to include less tech-savvy Nigerians with the launch of Sendcash. The new product enables people to receive money into their Nigerian bank accounts from any country abroad using Bitcoin.
“Basically, we map a bank account to a Bitcoin wallet address, and when anyone sends Bitcoin to that address from anywhere in the world, we convert it to Naira and credit the bank account within a few minutes,” said Adeyinka.
“The receiver doesn’t need to interact with Bitcoin at all as they will get the Naira equivalent into their bank accounts automatically.”
BuyCoins decided to launch Sendcash, which went live in April, after realising some of its customers were using crypto as a way to either receive payments for their work from clients abroad, or to send money to family and friends in Nigeria.
“Although it was a process that worked, it was a tedious one, especially for people who are unfamiliar with crypto. So we decided to build something that worked very simply,” Adeyinka said.
Initial uptake of the new platform has been impressive, with Sendcash processing around US$300,000 from about 400 users so far. BuyCoins, which raised a seed round worth around US$1 million back in 2018 after graduating from Y Combinator and makes money through basic market-making activities and margins on trades, also has geographic expansion on its mind.
“We’re currently operating in Nigeria, but we intend to expand to other African countries in the future. But there is really no rush; we want to deeply understand the Nigerian market and make sure users are really happy,” said Adeyinka.