Kenyan bitcoin startup wins $100k Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant

Kenyan bitcoin startup Bitsoko recently won a Grand Challenges Explorations grant worth US$100 000. It went on to announce it will be sponsoring a Blockchain Events Series in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to the Bitsoko website, The Blockchain Event Series will consist of six events held monthly at the iHub innovation hub. The aim is focus on Blockchain education, networking, and opportunities for local startups.

The event wants to help local startups innovate the industry. It will also feature speakers from local and international blockchain communities. Attendees will receive a small amount of Bitcoin at the start of each event, which should help them start putting ideas together.

The company uses Bitcoin to offer digital currency services. These range from payment processing to remittance while only charging 0.1% transaction fees on each transaction. Currently, they have built a mobile and point-of-sale service for the crypto currency.

Merchants only need to use a Bitsoko username, phone number, and bitcoin wallet address to make use of these systems. They are looking to offer options for paying household bills and payrolls, which should encourage awareness of the platform.

Read more: Bitcoin’s first killer app? Bankymoon lets you pay your utility bills in digital currency

Allan Juma, Bitsko co-founder and lead developer, weighs in on how they aim to help Kenyans:

The financial structure in Kenya and throughout Africa has changed rapidly since the birth of mobile money by M-Pesa. We believe that this will only continue to grow, and tools such as Bitsoko that leverage Blockchain technology to lower transaction costs will be at the forefront of this boom.

Bitsoko recently won a Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With US$100-million committed to the grant program, it is given to those who show innovation with early-stage projects in various fields.

Read more: Bitcoin exchange BitX launches digital currency services in Nigeria

It looks to help those in poor countries who live on less than US $2 a day. These individuals in poverty-stricken countries need transact, but don’t have access to formal financial products.

Bitsko will receive US$100 000 from the grant. If their project is successful they could receive an additional US$1-million in funding. From this, the project will spread to Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone.



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