Bitspark Limited, a digital currency startup based in Hong Kong, announces a partnership with Indonesian startup PT ArtaBit Indonesia to enable end-to-end remittance services from Hong Kong to Indonesia, targeting the 165,000 overseas Indonesian workers present in the city-state who commonly send funds to their families and loved ones.
Bitspark, which concluded a partnership with Filipino Rebit.ph back in November 2014, to enable similar remittance services to the Philippines, believes "the benefits of Bitcoin shouldn't only be exclusive to tech savvy individual," and allows Hong Kongese to send funds abroad without the need of having a Bitcoin wallet, nor even knowing what Bitcoin is.
Commenting on their recent partnership with Bitspark, Denny Muktar, business development director at PT Artabit, stated:
"At Artabit, we see the true power of Bitcoin, not as a currency, but as an underlying transport protocol. Few people have an understanding of SWIFT or even have heard of it. Yet, trillions of dollars are moved on this protocol. With our Bitspark partnership, neither the sender nor their relatives in Indonesia have to understand or even be aware of the existence of Bitcoin."
Bitspark utilizes Bitcoin as a mean of transmission, which drastically cuts the cost of overseas remittances and provides quicker transfers to thousands of locations throughout Indonesia and the Philippines, the company stated in an announcement.
The process for the remittance service is quite simple and requires Hong Kong senders to go to BitSpark's counter at World-Wide House, a popular migrant worker hangout, and hand over the amount in Hong Kong dollars they'd like to transfer. Bitspark then coordinates with its Indonesian partner, PT Artabit, which will enable the Indonesia recipient to collect the funds within 24 hours from either a bank branch or a local postal office.
"Indonesia is an exciting opportunity and a key focus for us, it’s a very different market in terms of logistics and distribution than our existing Philippines services with many people using Post Offices as the primary cash pickup location, not third party remittance stores," commented George Harrap, CEO at Bitspark.
"We are the cheapest option to send money to Indonesia and while other remittance services may support either bank pickup or post office pickups, we can do both, quicker and cheaper than the competition it’s a winwin for the customer."
Bitspark said it is currently completing 10 to 20 transfers a day, reported CoinDesk. However, volume has been doubling every week, notably due to business customers who mostly remit funds fortnightly compared to individuals who would typically remit monthly, said Harrap.
Harrap further noted that his company is now transferring more money for companies than individuals. He explained:
"Employment agencies will often have an office in the Philippines where they source many of the candidates. They have bills to pay in the Philippines."
Bitspark charges a flat fee. Hong Kongese making transfers to Indonesia pay HK$25 (US$3.22), while those to the Philippines pay HK$15 (US$1.93).
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