June 9, 2017
MEDICI now! Startup Stories highlights the companies that are shaping the new Financial Technology industry. Keep an eye out each week for new stories! If you or someone you know should be highlighted, send us a note. Without further ado…
Company Name: Cashaa
Name/Title: Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO
Industry Segment: Money transfer
Target: Markets: UK, India, Nigeria
Kumar Gaurav: I am a serial entrepreneur and have been in the blockchain space for the past few years. In 2014, I founded Auxesis Group of which I am the Chairman now, India's first blockchain innovation company based at IIT Bombay. In 2016, I founded Cashaa, a p2p platform for money transfer, based in Level39. Both companies are today ranked among the Top 100 Most Influential Blockchain Companies.
I am also on the editorial board of CoinIdol and CoinTelegraph, and a frequent international speaker at related events and conferences.
Before moving to London last year to build Cashaa, I lived in Italy where I co-founded Darwinsurance, the first Italian P2P insurance company based in Milan. Before I got involved in the world of financial technology, I worked for luxury automobile brands like BMW and Ferrari.
KG: Cashaa is a P2P marketplace for money transfer which enables users to send money for the flat fee of 1£ and for the best exchange rate. We bring together senders and receivers with bitcoin traders who sell and buy bitcoin internationally for which they pay and get paid locally. We launched it in February 2017 after successful testing, starting with transfers from the UK to India and Nigeria, two of the largest recipient countries. So far, we enable cash-to-cash and cash-to-bank transfers.
KG: We are solving the problem of the high fees of up to 20%, which cash senders pay to traditional services. Another problem is that previous attempts of using bitcoin for remittance had to go through exchanges twice and were dependent on one liquidity provider, which made cashing out in local currency difficult. We solve that problem by being P2P – we rely on numerous local traders (of whom we have 11000+ on our platform) who so far use bitcoin trading for speculation. We give them a new purpose in having them enable international money transfers. Additionally, we work with several existing exchanges and ATM providers.
KG: We are a marketplace bringing two user groups together: Our cash senders are individuals who send small, regular amounts, on average $250, to their family back home. With us, they get a 1£ fee only – the same good exchange rate as they find in Google or better, and if they use Cashaa directly, they get the convenience of meeting a local trader in any public place they like. So far, cash senders according to the World Bank lose an average of 15-30 $ for each $250 they send.
Otherwise, as we are also working with the local Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria shops who add our service, senders can continue going to the local shop they trust and get a cheaper fee than before. In this case, the shop agents get the advantage of not having to give any fee to us, unlike when working with traditional companies where they have to give half.
Our other customer group are the cryptocurrency traders who, with us, get international opportunities to trade – a huge liquidity increase and higher arbitrage of up to 12% (of which we take part, which enables the 1£ fee for the cash sender).
KG: Cashaa was founded because I saw the opportunity of combining the $600bn/year remittance industry with the $100bn/year cryptocurrency trading industry. We started with serving the cash segment as that was still left out by new technology enabling low-cost transfers. We serve both the banked and unbanked masses and give the poorest the opportunity to equally benefit from the advantages that bitcoin brings, without them having to know about what it is.
KG: There will be more companies like Cashaa focused on including cash transfers – we frequently get approached by people asking us to launch our product in their country or build a similar version of Cashaa for them. So far, they are not our competition as there are so many opportunities worldwide that it leaves room for 20 copies of us.
There have been predictions that cash use will decline to half in the next years in places like the UK, but it is not predicted that it is going to disappear, and there are countries still almost completely using cash.
KG: We are now working on also including bank-to-bank transfers, which we plan to launch in May.
KG: We are always looking for bitcoin traders in the UK, India, and Nigeria, and people who are well-connected in their local communities in London where there are cash senders and local shops providing money transfer services. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traders can sign up here: https://crypto.cashaa.com/.
KG: An important thing to understand is that we are not an app to just transfer money from one smartphone to another. What we are doing has not been done before, we bridge the gap between cryptocurrency, the most advanced form of currency, with the least – physical cash. For anything in between, there are plenty of mobile money services already, so for us, that wasn't the most interesting. With us, neither side needs to have a bank account or smartphone, and the recipient does not need to even have an internet connection. Therefore, we are highly flexible and can reach everyone.
LTP: Thank you, Kumar!
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