Bitcoins Payable Through Kenya’s M-Pesa Service Via Kipochi Mobile Wallet

July 20, 2013
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July 20, 2013
By Jason Campbell – Jr Editor
A new service which opens the M-Pesa system to Bitcoin currency has energized Kenya’s mobile commerce sector.
July has marked the launch of Kipochi – Swahili for wallet – a free service developed by veteran digital programmer Pelle Braendgaard.
The service allows users to purchase bitcoins through M-Pesa – Kenya’s leading mobile-payments service at 44-million strong.
Launched back in 2007 through a partnership between Safaricom and Vodafone, M-Pesa allows users to send payments via mobile phones to merchants and fellow users.
Until now, M-Pesa has been limited to the Kenyan market. In Braendgaard’s view, Kipochi will allow the nation’s mobile users to accept fee-less remittances from relatives in other countries via the Bitcoin system.
As one of the world’s leading virtual currencies, bitcoins can be transferred for free through peer-to-peer software, or at faster speeds for users willing to accept small fees.
Nonetheless, the Bitcoin system has its complications, particularly on the currency-exchange front.
Designed to remedy these complications, Kipochi is equipped with back-end servers that connect to local exchanges for Bitcoin currency.
Kipochi facilitates user-to-user payments by connecting personal mobile numbers with the numerical codes that Bitcoin uses for authorization purposes.
Since M-Pesa’s transaction amounts are low, Kipochi is geared for small-range bitcoins like the millibit, which roughly translates to eight cents.
Though Kipochi functions solely as a web service, Braendgaard hopes to extend its functions to feature phones in the near future.

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