South Africa’s Bitcoin software company Switchless acquired the largest Bitcoin exchange on the African continent, but the total transaction amount was not disclosed.
Switchless is a company based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and he acquired it less than a year after the BitX exchange was established. According to Marcus Swanepoel, the head of Switchless, he bought the exchange, which is also located in Stellenbosch, for the BitX team.
The BitX team consists of three people, one of whom is Timothy Stranex, a former Google engineer, who co-founded the company in February. The total number of employees of Switchless has reached 8.
Swanepoel is unwilling to describe his company too much. The company’s business is very confidential. It just says that it develops Bitcoin software for financial institutions. One of its investors is FireID, an incubator also located in Stellenbosch.
“This is related to transaction software, and how to ensure the security of your Bitcoin, such as a wallet method,” Swanepoel said of his product. “The company’s strategy is to continue to invest in construction to help other financial institutions.” BitX said on its website that it is the driving force of Switchless enterprise bitcoin software.
BitX is the location of the most famous Bitcoin exchange on the African continent. The company’s daily trading volume is about 10 BTC a day, which is surprisingly low and surprising. But Swanepoel attributed this to the uniqueness of Bitcoin transactions in the African market. He said:
“There are many transactions in Africa that don’t have to be done online, they are run by exchanges. In Zimbabwe, people have offline gatherings of Bitcoin.
It is quite difficult to measure the overall market size. Obviously it will not be as big as Germany and the United States, because it has just started. “
Although the current transaction volume is small, Swanepoel believes that the transaction volume will increase substantially in a short period of time. One thing that helps to achieve this is that quite a few people on this continent cannot use the services of banks.
“A big problem in Africa is to transfer money across borders. We don’t think this problem can be solved quickly, but at least it can be much cheaper and more efficient than now.” Swanepoel said, adding that Bit Currency can play an important role in solving the global remittance problem. There are two problems: people transfer money within Africa, and foreign workers send money home.
Safaricom’s M-PESA digital cash system already has more than 14 million active users, and Switchless hopes that Bitcoin will also be popular in this country because it offers similar advantages.
Many people in Africa do not have a computer connected to the broadband Internet. In fact, according to Credit Suisse’s data, the per capita computer penetration rate in the Middle East and Africa is only 7%, while in Europe it reaches 50%.
However, the penetration rate of mobile phones is predicted to be much higher, and the penetration rate of mobile users in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach 114%.
When the penetration rate exceeds 100%, it means that the number of mobile phones is more than the total number of people. This sounds a bit abnormal, but in many countries it becomes quite common because: each person has more than one device, which is aimed at business , Machine-to-machine connection.
Most of these mobile phones are feature phones, and the adoption rate of smart phones in this area is only a poor 9%, and in Western Europe this figure is 100%.
These figures include the Middle East. According to ITU data, we will see a penetration rate of 63% of mobile cellular networks in the entire African continent this year.
Even phones without a data plan can still be used to send mobile cash, thanks to SMS-based services (such services are already in operation in North America). However, BitX does not intend to support this market and is unlikely to do so in the short term, Swanepoel said.
“BitX operates as it does now, although it will allow our clients to enter the mobile field at some stage,” he concluded.