The most innovative idea to fight the greatest healthcare challenges is built around Bitcoin.
BitSoko is one of the 52 projects that received Phase 1 grants as part of the Grand Challenges Explorations program. The Grand Challenges Explorations program is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative started in 2003 which is a family of grant programs directed at developing tools to help overcome various issues plaguing the healthcare domain in the developing world. The Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million grant program started in 2009 by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Taking part in Round 14 of Grand Challenges Explorations, BitSoko has received about $100,000 in Phase 1 grants. The project titled “Enable Universal Acceptance of Mobile Money Payments” is undertaken by Daniel Bloch of BitSoko. BitSoko is a Nairobi, Kenya based mobile wallet start up built on Blockchain technology. By using Blockchain technology, the platform enables people to send money to each other at low transaction costs and provides the underprivileged with access to payment and financial services.
Mobile money like M-pesa is already being widely used by the people in Kenya. With BitSoko, Daniel intends to integrate bitcoin option to these mobile money platforms. By integrating bitcoin into mobile money services, users will be able to send and receive funds across Africa as bitcoins, which will be converted to mobile money and added to the wallet. Users can transfer fund from one wallet to another by either using BitSoko username, phone number or bitcoin wallet address. This feature will come in handy as people in many African nations are familiar with mobile money services and use them regularly.
The beta version of BitSoko is already available in Nairobi, Kenya and it will soon be available in rest of Kenya and other African nations. BitSoko intends to use the grant money for its expansion into Ghana, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone by 2016.
While there are other bitcoin players in African market focusing on remittances, BitSoko is working on a local level solving the needs of Africans by enabling peer to peer money transfer and point of sale systems.