Kenyan remittance service BitPesa in beta

In April, the think tank Overseas Development Institute reported that Africans lose out on $1.8 billion every year to remittance transfer fees.

That is enough money to “provide safe water to 21 million people,” the organization said.

BitPesa is looking to severely disrupt that industry in Kenya.

Last week, the company announced it had begun beta testing its service.

BitPesa works like this: A user anywhere in the world (except the US at the moment) can send any number of bitcoins to a recipient in Kenya via BitPesa, which will convert that money to local currency (with a 3% commission) and send it on to the recipient.

With no hidden charges or additional fees, BitPesa would make sending money back to Kenya three to six times cheaper than via traditional international money senders.