Many people consider the blockchain, and the crypto economy, to be the future of the financial industry. The ability to log transactions in a decentralised manner, i.e. without the requirement for a third party regulator, with transactions verified by a network of “miners”, has unleashed a new wave of financial services products built on the blockchain.
These service providers are often able to carry out traditional banking functions faster, cheaper, and with less bureaucracy than high street or investment banks. This definitely applies where money transfer is concerned. Blockchain technology is being employed all over the world to try to make it easier, and fairer, to send money to friends, family and loved ones either domestically or abroad, whether using fat currencies, or crypto coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
Often these services are mobile based; mobile finance seems set to be another major trend dictating the future of finance. Below, we take a look at five of the most advanced blockchain based mobile services for sending money abroad. Not all are available outside the countries they have been developed in, but we would be surprised if they were not rolled globally in the not too distant future.
So, without further ado, we present 5 blockchain apps that deliver international money transfer solutions, with a brief commentary on the current state of play with each one.
Line is a popular messaging app that originated in Japan and has spread to countries like South Korea and Thailand where it is often the millennial party generation’s communication tool of choice. Line recently launched a new company, Line Financial Corporation. The new entity will look into ways to apply blockchain technology to money transfer services, as well as supporting a new platform to transact and exchange currencies.
The new cryptocurrency services will be made available via Line’s Pay app – which provides money transfer and exchange services. Last year, Line saw its overall annual transaction volume rise to nearly 480 billion Japanese Yen ($4.1bn dollars), and users exceed 40 million.
Verdict: a big deal in the East, we hope to see Line make waves in the rest of the world soon.
Monaco’s strapline is “spend anywhere, without fees”. For sending and receiving money, Monaco’s app allows users to make transactions without fees at interbank rates. The money is received immediately and can be accessed and spent by recipients using the Monaco card.
The app permits users to hold, spend and exchange cryptocurrencies including ethereum, and bitcoin.
Verdict: an exciting early stage solution with plenty of potential
Abra is available for smartphone users on both Android and iOS in the US. The app provides instantaneous P2P money transfer between friends, using just a recipients’ mobile phone number, and the recipient can be anywhere in the world and still receive the funds transfer.
Abra has been looking at ways to integrate blockchain technology into its app in order to give users freedom from holding their funds in escrow at a bank, and recently launched its latest service in teh Philippines.
Abra is also empowering individuals or businesses, who can earn money by buying or selling digital cash to and from any consumer through the Abra app, christening such users as “human ATMs”.
Verdict: Abra are finding unique ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
CoinPip wants its users to optimize their profits, and minimise their profits” by offering them a faster, simpler and cheaper way to transfer money.
Originating out of Singapore, CoinPip is mainly focused on B2B, enabling businesses to pay freelancers, contractors and employees across the world. CoinPip offers services to more than 40 countries worldwide and offers same day delivery, as well as mobile to mobile payments services.
By leveraging bitcoin’s blockchain, CoinPip drives down the cost of money transfer, whilst users retain the option to use the currency of their choice.
Verdict: one to watch, but the current focus is mainly on B2B
BitPesa is focused on payments between Africa and the rest of the world. The service covers 85 countries, and more than 6,000 users – mainly businesses based in Africa.
BitPesa plans to use bitcoin to help workers overseas send money home to Kenya for a 3% flat fee, compared to the 12% that is often charged for the same service by banks and money transfer agencies. BitPesa uses a trade and execution model and is also focused on the B2B market
Verdict: one of a cluster of disruptive solution coming out of Africa, with a solid reputation and client pool.