Bitmama’s fintech app Changera integrates MoneyGram Access

With the MoneyGram integration, Changera introduces a new on-ramping and off-ramping experience by allowing users to convert cash to crypto and vice versa.

Bitmama’s fintech app  Changera integrates MoneyGram Access
Design by Ifeoluwa Awowoye for Mariblock. 

In a move poised to bring more clarity to the usefulness of crypto, Changera, the traditional fintech arm of the crypto company Bitmama, has integrated the MoneyGram Access solution. Now, the startup can offer cash-to-crypto deposits and withdrawals globally.

Key quote

“Changera will now allow both cash-in services in Canada, Senegal, Uganda and Kenya and cash-out services using Circle’s stablecoin, USDC, via the Stellar blockchain network, at participating MoneyGram locations across 180+ countries,” a press release shared with Mariblock reads.

Be informed: MoneyGram Access results from a 2022 partnership between the Stellar Foundation (SDF), the non-profit that promotes the adoption of the open-source Stellar blockchain and the USDC stablecoin issuer Circle.

Delve further

Despite crypto’s potential for enhancing remittance experiences in emerging markets, particularly Africa, progress has been limited due to high volatility and user experience shortcomings.

  • However, the past year has seen African crypto companies moving to eliminate those shortcomings to make crypto’s benefits more accessible.
  • Earlier this year, pan-African exchange Yellow Card tapped Jack Dorsey’s Block (Cash App’s parent company) to offer cross-border payments between 16 African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
  • Last year, Bitnob partnered with fellow Bitcoin companies Strike and CoinCorner to facilitate Lightning Network-powered remittances directly to recipients’ bank accounts in Africa from the United States and the European Union.

With the MoneyGram integration, Changera introduces a new on-ramping and off-ramping experience by allowing users to convert cash to crypto and vice versa.

“There’s a percentage of users that deal with cash, and I don’t want to use the word unbanked. But they earn in cash, and they send money to their families using cash,” CEO Ruth Iselema told Mariblock. “So this will enable people to cash into their Changera wallet directly and be able to send money to their loved ones across Africa.”

Why it matters

Although remittances via digital channels are growing in popularity, “cash has remained the prevailing payment instrument for most remittance transfers,” according to the non-partisan think tank Migration Policy Institute.

  • Therefore, by making a cash-to-crypto ramp possible, Moneygram is potentially giving crypto the much-desired distribution needed to scale the remittance play.
  • Following the announcement of the partnership with Stellar and MoneyGram last year, SDF CEO Denelle Dixon said:
“Today, almost 2 billion people rely on cash for their livelihood, with no options to access the digital economy. At the same time, a persistent pain point for crypto-native users is off-ramping cryptocurrency quickly and reliably. The groundbreaking nature of this service is how it solves problems for a range of users with varying needs around the world.”

The big picture

For Changera, it’s all about expanding its reach. Last week, Honeycoin, another African crypto company, announced the integration of the Moneygram Access solution. In its case, however, only the cash-out option is available.

  • Changera currently supports cash-in transactions in Canada, Senegal, Uganda and Kenya.
  • The company has also secured a license to operate as a money service business in Canada, where it plans to engage the African Diaspora and help ease their remittance experience.
“This [integration] has helped us to go ahead with our launch plans for the African Diaspora in Canada. We’re looking to do more with it in [the] U.S. [and] in the U.K.,” said Iselema. “It also opens us to a lot of users that would perform cash transactions, not just digital transactions. So it opens Changera to a new segment of the market that we didn’t have before.”