BitMari is a payment platform that significantly lowers the cost and increases the speed of remittance payments throughout the African Diaspora using Bitcoin. Founded in 2015 by Sinclair Skinner and Christopher Mapondera, BitMari is the only Blockchain startup to receive an international license to use Bitcoin for remittances from a Central Bank.
BitMari was launched in June 2015 with headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe and office operations in Washington, DC. In January 2016 the company entered its beta phase and expanded beyond Africa to U.S., Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic and China.
Mission and Services
BitMari uses Blockchain technology and Bitcoin to offer quick and low-cost payment transfers as an alternative to traditional remittance platforms and their exorbitant fees. The average cost of remittances in Africa is the highest in the world, with fees as high as 20% per transfer.
In October 2016, Ebony Magazine reported that BitMari intends to be a catalyst for financial empowerment in the global Black community. In that same interview, Co -Founder Sinclair Skinner stated, “We think technology is a better method of solving problems than politics and a lot of these other things that we’re trying.”
In June 2017 BitMari announced a partnership with the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe to integrate Bitcoin and blockchain technology into their consumer offerings. This marked the first time an African commercial bank officially agreed to partner with a Bitcoin company.
BitMari Bitcoin Mobile Wallet
BitMari developed a free Pan- African Bitcoin mobile wallet. The BitMari Bitcoin Wallet is available for free download on iOS and Android. In an effort to accelerate the understanding and adoption of Bitcoin, Bitmari has implemented an African indigenous languages feature that allows users to communicate in languages such as Shona, Ndebele, Wolof, Swahili among others.
BitMari Agritech Accelerator
In August 2016 BitMari announced that it was working to bring direct investment into Zimbabwe's agricultural sector, and to provide training and markets to sell crops across borders. This prompted them to create the Zimbabwe Women Farmers Accelerator in partnership with Agribank and The Women Farmers Land and Agriculture Trust. The accelerator successfully crowdfunded $23,541 for 100 women farmers so that they could access the resources/tools needed for business success. This was the first ever Bitcoin accelerator for women farmers in Africa.