A company that provides Bitcoin payments says it aims to usher Africa into a new digital age and deliver a compelling alternative to fiat currencies.
Patricia, a financial solutions business based in Lagos, Nigeria began as a straightforward e-commerce startup. Now, the platform has gone global, and the company estimates that more than 300,000 people use its services to meet their everyday needs. The company also has offices in Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The team behind Patricia uses the power of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to create alternative solutions to existing financial infrastructure, enabling consumers to buy and sell BTC at what they claim are the best rates in Africa, with no hidden charges. Digital assets can then be stored in Patricia’s “safe, secure and flexible wallet,” and users have the freedom to make conversions between Bitcoin and fiat currency the Nigerian Naira whenever they wish.
Founder Fejiro Hanu Agbodje recently told The Guardian: “I had an uncle who visited Nigeria, who used to give me an iTunes gift card. I didn’t own an iPhone, so I literally had no use for it, so I tried to find where I could exchange this for real money. I couldn’t find any local company doing that and I ended up getting scammed of the card. At that point, I realized I had stumbled on something special.”
Now, Patricia is thriving — and it has evolved into something even bigger than Agbodje first envisaged.
Making Bitcoin usable
Although many see Bitcoin as a speculative asset or a store of value, Patricia believes that this misses the point: Sizeable numbers of people want to use the world’s biggest cryptocurrency to make everyday purchases, pay their bills, renew subscriptions and so much more.
One of the company’s flagship products is a customizable debit card that allows Bitcoin holders to withdraw cash at any ATM machine. Purchases can also be made at countless merchants around the world.
In a push for financial inclusion, an instant bank account can be opened within minutes, and Patricia says it delivers some of the lowest transfer fees on the market. All of this helps to protect a customer’s cash, meaning high rates won’t eat into people’s hard-earned money.
Other features include the ability to buy and sell gift cards anywhere in the world, with top brands including Google Play, Amazon and iTunes available. Those who successfully sell their gift cards can then access their cash quickly.
Then there’s Patricia Refill, which allows customers to purchase airtime for major mobile phone networks directly from Bitcoin wallets, as well as data subscriptions. Better still, excess airtime can be converted back into cash — a novel feature that’s rarely seen elsewhere.
At the beating heart of this fintech company’s offering is an app where all of these services are just a tap away. The software is available on Apple’s App Store and on the Google Play platform.
For some consumers, the world of cryptocurrencies can be a steep learning curve. That’s why Patricia has created an in-depth learning portal that educates users on how all of its features work. Straightforward guides are also provided that explain what a crypto wallet is, and set out the benefits of Bitcoin.
Patricia is well-positioned to capitalize on the ever-growing demand for mobile payments in Nigeria and around the world. According to figures released by the country’s Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme, such transactions have surged by 391% since May 2019, and the volumes of money being transferred have risen, too.
The company has received plenty of publicity, including from some of Africa’s biggest publications. For example, The Guardian newspaper of Nigeria has regularly been keeping tabs on Patricia’s progress, marking how Fejiro Hanu Agbodje has developed the brand into a multibillion-naira company in the span of just three years.
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