DéMars, a Mauritius-based startup using blockchain protocol, will join the mobile money sub-Saharan market by 2021 as it angles for the US$20 billion pie.
The platform is currently under alpha stage, which includes running a trial on the network and testing remittances between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The open source technology has been developed by software firm March Hare and is freely available to be used ‘as is’ by all adopters. It is billed to offer easy, safe and ‘cheap’ cross border transactions.
“Through the blockchain, the platform can provide financial services to both the banked and the unbanked, lowering merchant processing charges and reducing the cost of remittances,” says its founder Shaun Burrow.
DéMars is expected reduce the up to 12 per cent fees charged in transaction costs for the traditional methods of transferring capital. These frictional costs have seen over 1.1 billion mobile money users lose US$45billion in savings.
“This is money being diverted from the poorest of the poor. The cost of payments to Sub-Saharan Africa and within Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, they range from 10 – 20 per cent of the money being sent home. It’s simply an unjust tax on ordinary, hardworking people,” said Mr Burrow.
Users will make transactions using DéMars Coin (DMC), a token that acts as the currency, at no costs. There is a growing interest in cryptocurrency across Africa despite scepticism from market regulators and economists.