Another disruptive technology powered by the Blockchain is set to completely eliminate the outrageously high cost of remittances to Africa.
Cointelegraph Spoke to Kumar Gaurav, Cashaa’s co-founder & CEO, about how the application can solve Africa’s exorbitant cash transfer transaction costs. On average it costs 10-12% to wire cash to Africa, where there is an estimated 80% of the population without access to banking. This is compounded by the lack of a transparent exchange rate. Needless to say many African households depend on remittances from the diaspora. In fact, in some countries remittances dwarf foreign aid.
Cashaa is a peer-to-peer marketplace which enables free cash transfer powered by the Blockchain which can use any kind of digital token or cryptocurrency. The remittance application model is based upon connecting private individuals who wish to send and receive money anywhere in the world. A network of cryptocurrency traders accept the physical cash from the sender in one location and give it to the receiver in another location. Traders then exchange the cash through buying and selling their cryptocurrencies.
The money transfer requests are selected and matched through a live bidding process by cryptocurrency traders. Though Cashaa is powered by Bitcoin traders, the platform is cryptocurrency neutral and can eventually operate through whatever digital currency or token the traders prefer. It enables priority money transfers 24/7 in real time, with a transparent exchange rate. This free money transfer service, along with other features, is one that the cash remittance industry has not seen until now.
Merging two markets
Cointelegraph asks Kumar Gaurav, Cashaa’s co-founder & CEO, about how the application can solve Africa’s exorbitant cash transfer transaction costs.
“We consider ourselves as an Uber of the cash transfer industry. Cashaa is the first to solve the problem of the single geographical focus by making the cash delivery and entry points peer-to-peer. We developed this innovation by merging two unique markets. Without an official launch of our MVP we already have more than 10,000 plus cash-in/out points in 1040 cities, with this growing day by day.”
Cointelegraph: Is Cashaa a solution to the excessive cost of remittances to Africa?
Kumar Gaurav: Yes, according to the reports of the World Bank, Africa is one of the most expensive areas in the world to both sending and receiving cash and, at the same time, is one of the fastest growing areas in the world in terms of the penetration of smartphones. Currently, cash remittance institutions are maximizing their efforts to exploit every dollar which is sent or received from Africa. At Cashaa we want to disrupt their plans by starting with a zero fee model to this continent.
CT: Did you specifically design this with Africa in mind?
KG: Cashaa’s mission is to provide an empowering platform which facilitates cash transfer with as low a fee as possible to all countries across the globe. Africa is one of the areas where I believe this mission can be accomplished due to the high demand and extortionate current fee structure. This marketplace will get the maximum advantage through Cashaa’s system ultimately saving ordinary people billions of dollars, which are currently lost in fees.
Our priority was to make the world of cash transfer more fair and a just marketplace. Therefore, by designing this concept we are aiming at removing corruption in a society which exploits the common person, in particular those of greater need. Money is simply a form of value transfer, it enables people to buy the real sources of life – food, yet those who grow the food are exploited by the cash remittance industry through extortionately high fees.
I have always been attracted and intrigued by how the banking and financial systems work. I come from a farming family and this experience has helped me to design a solution which has solved a significant problem caused by an overly greedy financial system.
Cashaa is still not globally launched but we expect to launch by the end of this month.
During our trading platform beta test for technical reasons we had selected two countries, the Philippines and Indonesia. The entire $1.6 M transactions took place only within these two countries. However, during our beta test a few users from African countries signed up to our platform. Having said that, we have not communicated and promoted our service in any ways at all to African countries.
CT: With no transaction fees, how do you and merchants make money?
KG: We enable traders to trade their cryptocurrencies to the international market, while solving the issue of how they get paid without going through traditional ways such as Western Union or banks etc which eats their advantage of doing international deals. Secondly, our crypto currency traders make money thanks to the cash senders. It drastically increased their trading opportunities and this also remunerates our costs to keep the platform up and running.
CT: Do you see this as an opportunity for job creation in Africa?
KG: During our development process we considered this very carefully. The Beta test started in April 2016 as an anonymous platform to validate and test this idea. We wanted to get traders feedback from developing countries where technology and education could be a barrier. We had optimized the platform in such a way to make it easy to use without the complexities of a typical trading platform. Cashaa opens doors to allow any individual to start their own business and become self-employed. This is an advantage of the peer-to-peer marketplace model. For example, Uber is creating numerous jobs for their drivers to earn money. In the cash transfer industry Cashaa can facilitate and allow anyone with very little capital to start working as traders (merchants) to buy and sell cryptocurrencies to earn money and work as a cash pickup and end point.