Bitkesh is a startup that uses cryptocurrency token to allow Zimbabweans living in South Africa to send money back home instantly and cheaply. Zimbabweans make up South Africa’s largest group of foreign migrants.
Quick Facts About Bitkesh
- The startup was launched in 2017.
- Bitkesh is wholly owned by Yolft Technology (SA).
- It has offices in Harare, Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Apart from money transfer, BitKesh app can be used for bill payments, school fees settling, grocery vouchers, travellers’ vouchers etc.
Bitkesh was created to fill a need that has been in existence for a long time: A convenient and fast way to send money between South Africa and Zimbabwe with no hidden commission fees, thus making it affordable too, because we realise that sending money between the two countries can be deceptively expensive. We use a peer-to-peer remittance platform which means that effectively no money leaves the borders.
How Bitkesh Works
You need to download the Bitkesh app for Android or iOS. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can use Bitkesh website. Registration has three tiers of verification. For tier 1, a user is required to verify an email address, mobile number and provide an identity document such as a passport, drivers licence or identity document. This tier allows the user to transact a monthly maximum of R3000. Tier 2 requires a user to verify all items listed in Tier 1 and including proof of residence. Acceptable form of proof of residence, are documents such as service bills and bank statements. The name on the statement or bill should match the profile of the user on the website. This tier allows a user to transact a monthly maximum of R15000. The last tier is tier 3 in which a user is required to verify all items listed in Tier 1 and 2, and including a proof of income. Accepted proof of income documents are only payslips. This tier allows a user to transact a monthly maximum of R400000.
How BitKesh Works With Cryptocurrency
BitKesh uses a fungible Ethereum-based digital token, the DCXi. The token is traded on a peer-to-peer basis for the equivalent fiat value. The cryptocurrency makes it possible to send money to Zimbabwe from South Africa instantly and cheaply.
How to Pay for Bitkesh Transfers
At the moment Bitkesh does not transact in cash. It has no agents receiving cash. You can only send money from your bank account. Therefore, you must have a bank account in South Africa. All the money is received in Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) via Ecocash/Zipit or bank transfer.
How Will My Recipient Receive Bitkesh Transfer?
Your recipient in Zimbabwe can receive funds sent using Bitkesh into their bank account or EcoCash/Zipit (Zimswitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology). At the moment, your recipient cannot receive cash.
How Much Does Bitkesh Transfer Cost?
Bitkesh says it does not charge you for sending or receiving money. However, the difference between the prevailing exchange rate and Bitkesh’s fixed exchange rate is their invisible fee. Bitkesh also makes money from the difference between the prices of its digital asset in different peer-to-peer markets.
How Long Does Bitkesh Transfer Take?
All deposits above 100 South African rands should reflect within 5 minutes of depositing. For amounts of 100 rands and less you need to contact a consultant via the app for manual crediting. During business hours, manual crediting takes 15-30 minutes, after hours it may take up to an hour.
Currently, Bitkesh banks with FNB, Standard Bank and Absa. Transactions done to and from any other banks may take up 72 business hours unless the amount is above ZAR3000 or the client pays the bank charge of ZAR50 for an instant payment. Standard to Standard transfers may take anything from 30 minutes up to 24 business hours.
Is Bitkesh Regulated?
Bitkesh is owned by Yolft Technology. Yolft is NOT a Financial Services Provider and is NOT regulated by the South African Financial Services Board nor under the rules of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 37 of 2002 nor the Financial Sector Regulation Act, 9 of 2017. The company promises to self-regulate while waiting for South African authorities to come up with rules to govern peer-to-peer platforms.
Intra Africa money transfer is more expensive than transferring money to Africa from abroad. By using cryptocurrency as a means of sending money to Zimbabwe, BitKesh intends to lower the cost of remittances and allow senders to save money and beneficiaries to receive more money to meet their needs.