YellowPay, a Bitcoin payments company in the Middle East, just launched a voucher service in Egypt through Egyptian ticketing platform Eventtus .
Through this service, customers are allowed to buy Bitcoin vouchers as “tickets” on the site with credit cards, PayFort, or Vodafone point-of-sale machines. YellowPay, which is now going by just "Yellow," is the first company in the MENA region to offer the purchase of Bitcoins in Egypt with the Egyptian pound.
According to cointelegraph.com, Cairo-based AMECO, the largest disposable syringe and hypodermic needle manufacturer in the Middle East, is currently the only business in Egypt that accepts Bitcoin. Yellow wants to change this, as it aims to facilitate the acceptance of Bitcoin for businesses.
In an interview with Wamda last March, Yellow’s founder David El Achkar defined Bitcoin as “a new digital currency and a payment system that is available to anyone who has access to Internet anywhere in the world.”
“The currency is quick to use and free, as if you were sending an email. It’s also a decentralized currency, which means it’s not owned or managed by any organization or central bank,” Achkar said.
Bitcoin, the payment system that Bill Gates called “a technological tour de force,” is increasingly gaining momentum across the Middle East.
Recently, more and more startups, such as BitOasis in Dubai and CashBasha, are taking advantage of what they see as a great opportunity to rival traditional payment solutions in the Middle East which Yellow views as “costly and inconvenient” due to “high cash-on-delivery rates, low credit card acceptance, and high merchant fees.”
This is especially true in Egypt, where according to Wamda, only 10 percent of the country’s population holds bank accounts and less than 2 percent of the population has credit cards. The report also stated that Egypt is “a tough market, due to high computer illiteracy, a poor telecoms infrastructure, and weakened economic conditions.”
These conditions and the fact that the ecommerce business is growing in Egypt and the Middle East in general, give Bitcoin companies and startups like Yellow the opportunity to change the online financial transaction landscape in the Middle East, as Yellow believes it can “revolutionize payments in the region.”
Achkar, who previously worked in management consulting at McKinsey and Company in Toronto, told Wamda in March that “currently, if you have money and you want to send it or receive it, your options are limited, costly, ineffective, and might need several days. But as soon as you start using Bitcoin, you’ll realize that it’s powerful and very simple to use. With just an app on your mobile phone, you can send 1 cent or 10,000 USD in one single click to anywhere in the world free of charge.”
Achkar also told Wamda that he expected Bitcoin to become used daily within one to two years. So will this new technology be the next big thing in (MENA)? Only time will tell.