BTCjam mentioned in The Guardian: Are virtual currencies a plus for poor countries?

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March 9, 2015The Guardian

ZF Could you tell me a bit about the story of BitPesa? How did you come into being?

ER Sure. I came to Kenya in 2009 to work as a microfinance rating analyst and what you saw was the institutions that successfully incorporated mobile money is their operating expense figures suddenly started to plummet. So, it was a really exciting time seeing this new technology have real change in the way businesses can be built and structured. You know, when I explain bitcoin to people back home in the US or here at my other home in Kenya, I find they get it at the same level. Here they just say oh, an international M-Pesa, and back home they’re like, oh OK, it’s sort of like PayPal but not really. So it’s interesting to see how quickly it’s picked up here.

EM My name is Eliud Mungai, I am a Kenyan entrepreneur. Bitcoins I’ve been using since October 2014. BitPesa, I started using in December. I started using it for speculative stuff, buying bitcoins and just checking on the price to see how it’s moving and then I discovered about a platform called BTCjam, it aided in my micro-lending, I actually do micro-lending on the side, so I got into this platform and I found another valuable use for my bitcoins. So once I started using BTCjam and the trading became the conversion of the bitcoins to Kenya shillings frequent, that’s when I started using BitPesa.

ZF At this point bitcoin isn’t that well known in Africa. How do you plan to deal with that?

ER Well, we’ve been building a community here in Kenya, which is exciting, so in early 2014 we would have weekly or monthly meet-ups where there’d be like three people, five people, but pretty soon by six months in we had a kick-off event with 120 people.

EM BitPesa, I use it let’s say like two times in a week. The biggest transactions I’ve done with it is for conversion, I’ve been able to get a loan to fund my retail business from BTCjam and I was able to convert, because it was a big bitcoin amount, I was able to convert it choosing BitPesa into Kenya shillings. And also now because I refer a lot of my customers who have been lending to BTCjam the amount that they need to be lent I convert it to bitcoin, so I use BitPesa on a weekly basis because I usually try to get at least two customers in a week, I convert their Kenya shillings to bitcoin so that I can lend to my customers.

BTCJam Adds Bank Account & Credit Card Verification!

BTCJam continues to lead the way in global peer-to-peer lending! Today we are excited to announce a new and significant improvement to the BTCJam platform.

Introducing Banking Integration for Credit Scoring

BTCJam’s mission is to bring affordable credit to people all around the world while generating strong returns for investor’s portfolios. We have already facilitated close to USD $8 million in loans. At BTCJam, we keep pushing the envelope while bringing affordable and accessible products to people all over the world.

In order to further improve our industry leading credit-scoring algorithm, our hard working development team has integrated a unique feature that allows us to leverage data from a borrower’s actual financial transactions. Through this new function, BTCJam will be better at verifying good borrowers while detecting fraud and bad borrowers. This makes it possible for good borrowers to improve their credit score by connecting a bank account or a credit card from over 5000 financial institutions around the world.

MasterCard                          Visa

Our credit score will now include:

  • Verified Salary Payments
  • Credit Card Payments
  • Car Lease Payments
  • Mortgage and Rent Payments
  • and much more

We are convinced that this game changer will lead to lower default rates over time, thus, decreasing rates for good borrowers and enabling better returns for investors! We believe that this will have a monumental impact on the entire global lending industry.

Why connect my bank account or credit card?

Lending, especially without collateral, is almost solely based on trust. By connecting your bank account or credit card, you can significantly increase the confidence the investors have in you. It will show on your profile and your loan listing that you have verified your bank account with us. Connecting your bank accounts may lower your interest rates while at the same time creating stronger trust with investors; this will overall improve the speed at which your loans get funded.

Is it safe to connect my bank account?

BTCJam uses the best-in-class encryption services to make sure that all the data we access on your behalf is securely stored.

The financial institution credentials that you provide us are transmitted to one of our partners and are securely stored on their servers. For improved safety, we intentionally do not store any of your credit card or bank account credentials.

How do I connect my bank account?

Step 1: Go to Dashboard -> Credit Rating -> Financial Institution and click on Add Financial Institution.

Step 2: Select your country; select the type of account you want to connect. Then the financial institutions will appear. You can also search for your bank by typing it in the search box below.

Step 3: Now you provide your login and password to your bank. Don’t worry! We never store your login information on our servers.

After that we will import the information from your bank account and we will display “Bank Verified” on your profile. Congrats!

What if my country or bank is not listed?

We are constantly working on adding new banks into the mix. If your bank is not listed yet, please email us at support@btcjam.com with the exact name and country of your bank. We will try to accommodate these banks over time.

Thanks again for using the BTCJam platform. We’re very excited to have you here and hope you will take advantage of our latest improvements to get better returns and lower rates!


Your BTCJam Team