Through traditional Money Transfer Operators such as MoneyGram and Western Union, friends and relatives in the diaspora sent home $429 billion as remittance in 2016 alone. A chunk of these monies was of the intent to fund specific local purchases or to cover basic and utility needs such as food, clothing, medicine or bill payments. Users of these services usually have to bear punitively high charges upwards of 7.5% of the remitted value.
SureRemit entered the industry with the aim to provide a solution to this gnawing problem. The Nigerian-based startup has rolled out a crypto token with a specific purpose; allowing immigrants a quick, safe means to send non-cash value to their family and friends, at zero transaction cost.
Its remittance crypto token (RMT) was launched via an ongoing Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on the SureRemit website. The token will be issued on the Stellar decentralized platform – a quicker, more cost-effective and reliable alternative to Ethereum – which was specifically designed with remittance use cases in mind. Other companies to have partnered with Stellar include SatoshiPay, Bext360, Mobius, IBM and KlickEx.
What sets SureRemit aside from the scores of other cryptocurrencies available in today’s market is that its tokens exist solely for the purposes of bill payments at online and physical retail markets, and, can only be used at vendors who accept the cryptocurrency token or the voucher.
The company has already proven market demand for cashless consumer payment and merchant programs through its sister company, SureGifts which is a retail aggregator operating with close to 500 merchants in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda. SureGifts will facilitate the redemption end of the vouchers and at the same time, reduce market volatility by creating a consistent demand for the RMT token. Among Suregift’s prominent redemption partners are Jumia, Spar, Game, and DealDey, all major online/physical stores that offer a great variety in inventory.
According to Samuel-Biyi, Director of Remittances and co-founder at SureRemit,
“Diaspora remittances are an important income source for individuals and families across Africa and other major remittance corridors. Nearly half of these funds are sent home to support basic needs like food, clothing, education, medicine and utility bills. The earning power of a significant portion of the population in the developing world is relatively low, so, many people rely on international remittances for their basic needs. The volume of funds will continue to rise as migrants prosper abroad.”