In a bid to reduce the cost of money transfer in Nigeria as well as ease access to micro-loans, US-based blockchain company, BitMinutes Inc., has launched a blockchain token and an agent network in the West African country.
BitMinutes first made the announcement in January while confirming its partnership with BODC Trading and Investment Company.
BitMinutes said its partnership with BODC is to enable them break into the Nigerian market and also give Nigerians the opportunity of buying goods and services using the BitMinutes token (BMT), send them to loved ones as well as convert unused mobile phone minutes into BMT which could in turn be converted to Naira for deposit into a bank account.
More so, as part of its futurw plans, BitMinutes plans on granting Nigerians access to micro-loans.
The BitMinutes token (BMT) is a prepaid airtime minute on the blockchain. The prepaid minute is a real asset that can be traded. Though the company claims it is already being traded informally by mobile phone owners around the world.
Tom Meredith, CEO of BitMinutes while expressing excitement on its project in Nigerian, said, “We’re ecstatic that Nigeria’s citizens have embraced the BitMinutes Nigeria program. They recognise that the economic incentives, including five percent cash back on purchases of BitMinutes and 12 percent annualised return on those BitMinutes that remain in their account, are very compelling propositions.”
He noted that Nigeria would be used to properly test-run BMT, ahead of its proposed plans to expand to other countries in Africa.
Although, BitMinutes plans to have a Trusted Agent Network (TAN) in the country, but would mostly be small businesses that will be physically present. BitMinutes Nigeria team will ensure these TAN agents are identified and properly managed.
It is the duty of these agents to sell BMTs that can be converted to phone minutes on a user preferred carrier and also help them convert unused phone minutes into BMTs, which can be used for payments of goods and services at any TAN retailer.
TAN agents have also been trained to facilitate the process of giving microloans to interested users. The program already has over 100 trained agents.
Ravi Narain, the Director of the BitMinutes program in Nigeria, said, “We have been very pleased with the interest of Nigerians, both in becoming trusted agents and BitMinutes account holders.”
It is expected that more Nigerians and cryptocurrency enthusiasts will embrace the BitMinutes program, as the the company seeks to create more awareness through TAN agents and also expand to other regions within the country.