Crypto company Honeycoin has integrated the MoneyGram Access cash-to-crypto solution. The integration, powered by the Stellar blockchain technology, allows users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana to withdraw their USD Coin (USDC) holdings as cash at any supported MoneyGram location.
- Both Stellar and Honeycoin made the announcements via their social media handles.
- The integration is possible thanks to a 2022 partnership between MoneyGram and the Stellar Development Foundation to facilitate cash-to-crypto transactions using USDC, the stablecoin issued by Circle.
FYI: The USDC is a stablecoin whose value is pegged to the U.S. dollar one-to-one (i.e., one USDC gives you one U.S. dollar). Stablecoins were designed to be an antidote to the high volatility seen with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum.
- As Mariblock has reported, the past one year has seen an increasing number of developments seeking to make crypto more usable for remittances.
- Recently, Bitmama’s fintech application Changera also integrated the MoneyGram Access solution. Unlike Honeycoin, though, Changera users can convert cash directly into crypto at MoneyGram locations in Canada, Senegal, Uganda and Kenya.
- Changera supports cash-out globally, CEO Ruth Iselema told Mariblock.
- Other developments in the crypto-based remittance space include Yellow Card’s partnership with Jack Dorsey’s Block, Bitnob’s link-up with United States-based Srike and Europe-based CoinCorner.
- The common theme with these partnerships is the emerging push to abstract the often-complex cryptocurrency user experience away from the users. In essence, the companies deal with the complexities so that the user experience remains as similar as possible to what they’re used to.
Why it matters
- Cross-border transactions to Africa are expensive. The World Bank’s first quarter report on global remittance prices once again had Sub-Saharan Africa as the most expensive place to send money.
- The average fee was 8.35%, compared to a global average of 6.24%. The average price for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was just below the global average at 6.08%.
- Crypto-based remittances have been tipped as a tool for reducing the high fees. The moves from African crypto companies seek to bring those predictions to reality at scale.