Joel Monegro, partner of Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures has recently launched a Telegram Bot that allows users to purchase mobile minutes with bitcoin instantly.
Mobile Minutes is a prepaid funding system provided by several internet service providers and telecommunications corporations in the U.S.
How it Works
The Telegram Bot user works by sending a simple command “/start” to BitMinutes on Telegram, users can begin the process of purchasing mobile minutes with bitcoin.
After the Telegram Bot receives the message, it responds to the user “Select how much value you’d like to add to number.” As soon as the user replies with a specified amount in a text, Telegram Bot waits for the confirmation of the bitcoin transaction and sends Mobile Minutes balance to the specified number.
The Telegram Bot that was developed and launched by Monegro is built on top of the BitRefill API, a mobile service that allows users to top-up balances with bitcoin simply by providing their mobile number.
Launched in October 2014, BitRefill continued to receive a very enthusiastic reception from the bitcoin community. The BitRefill service is much cheaper than other financial alternatives such as credit cards, and could be used with ease in regions with extremely low credit card penetration, like India.
“Compared to online services — for example, credit card based ones — we’re significantly cheaper. Our goal however is to go further and be competitive with local physical retail merchants,” BitRefill CEO Sergej Kotliar told Cointelegraph. “In a 7-Eleven, you normally pay 100 to get a refill of a 100, which is our goal to offer worldwide, that is ‘no surcharges.’”
“We already offer that in a number of countries, most prominently in India, and we’re working hard to get better deals and reduce our prices for our end users. It’s no secret that we’ll be announcing some big price drops soon and will not rest until we’re 0% fee everywhere,” added Kotliar.