American Bitcoin technology makes waves in Africa and Venezuela

American Bitcoin technology, platform and exchange providers have risen to prominence very rapidly, with new infrastructure being set in place continually, backed by not only seasoned venture capital investors, but also governmental regulators with a view to making virtual currency a mainstay in North American financial technology.

The total contrast to last year, which curtailed investor confidence due to lack of security, the demise of various exchanges and marketplaces whether at the hands of the government or mismanagement leading to the unsecured loss of substantial amounts of client money, has been turned around almost full circle.

The latest development within America’s increasingly highly sophisticated virtual currency ecosystem is the will for companies to export their technology to new and emerging markets, as in the case of New York-based technology platform BlinkTrade.

Blink Trade considers itself to be the first decentralized Bitcoin exchange, and is preparing to launch an exchange in West Africa, under the name of UbuntuBitX, which follows closely on the heels of the company’s introduction of a Bitcoin exchange in Venezuela one week ago, operating under the SurBitcoin designation.

In terms of functionality, BlinkTrade provides a technology solution which, rather similarly to some of the end-to-end technology provisioning firms in the retail FX industry, provides a keenly priced method for an independent Bitcoin exchange to start its operations and removes the need for in-house developers and support staff.

Turnkey solutions such as this can be used to establish similar exchanges in different regions, with, in this case, Blink Trade providing access to Bitcoin liquidity in regions in which virtual currency trading is not widespread.

As a technology provider, BlinkTrade itself does not hold client funds, whether in sovereign currency or Bitcoin. Instead, the brokers which use the solution have entire custody and are required to publish all of their Bitcoin addresses in order to achieve transparent business ethic.

As the company further establishes itself, it aims to provide its global users with the option to select the most popular brokers within their region, however there is no immediate plan to implement this facility. Current priorities include the focus on empowering as many exchange operators as possible from regions in the developing world.

At the time of going live last Thursday, SurBitcoin, BlinkTrade’s Venezuelan client, stands itself in good stead to offer services to citizens in the nation which have no access to reliable banking facilities.

Popularity on a national level in South America has already been clearly demonstrated with Argentina taking Bitcoin as a clear alternative to its inflation-prone and unstable Peso which has lost credibility with many Argentinian citizens. The government in Argentina also levies extremely high charges for processing Peso into other currencies, and maintains strict capital controls, rendering it obsolete and unaffordable as a currency with which to do business for many Argentinians, hence their widespread adoptation of virtual currency.

In Venezuela, BlinkTrade estimates that the number of unbanked citizens could be as high as 70%, and the inflation rate is even higher than that of Argentina, with the sovereign currency having completed 2013 with an unsustainable 57% inflation rate, making Argentina’s 20% pale into almost insignificance.

West Africa’s forthcoming exchange which will use BlinkTrade technology has a different remit when it goes into service today.

Based in Benin, the exchange will serve users in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sénégal and Togo.

Centralized exchanges don’t help the remittances market from any country, Souza explained, adding that high fees and a lack of liquidity restrict bitcoin from thriving as remittances.

Africa is important because of the need and potential of micro-remittances, remittances less than $100.

Could this be the beginning of turnkey solutions for Bitcoin providers?


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