Japanese insurance company Sompo has partnered with pan-African digital payment platform BTC Africa, also known as BitPesa, according to a press release published Nov. 11 by Asia-focused English-language publication Nikkei Asian Review.
Sompo Holdings Inc. reportedly invested 570 million yen ($5 million) Nov. 8 to acquire a 10 percent stake in BitPesa. BitPesa is anAfrican Bitcoin (BTC) startup that was founded in 2013, with an initial focus on crypto-enabled fiat remittances between the U.K. and Kenya.
In a statement accompanying the investment, Sompo outlined that the partnership is focused on the “digitalization of global remittance services,” and that:
“Using BitPesa’s technology, developed through various experiments in remittances and settlements, we will extend our presence in the international remittance service market and consider the application of this technology to the insurance field.”
The release explicitly states that Sompo plans to use the crypto-enabled fiat remittance services deployed by BitPesa to lower the costs and time taken for the global transfer of value, outlining that Sompo’s existing work can be extended to reach a wider customer base via BitPesa’s international remittance services that target developing countries.
The release also contextualizes the increasing role of global remittances to economically facilitate the accelerated circulation of people, goods, data, and services worldwide.
As previously reported, BitPesa has sealed venture capital financing from the likes of major crypto industry VC firms such as Draper VC, Digital Currency Group, and Pantera Capital. The service has used the funding to develop a global remittance network with Bitcoin as a base currency in order to improve financial infrastructure between the developing world, Europe, and the U.K.
Crypto’s role in enabling ease of access to funds and greater efficiency of transactions has been in the spotlight when it comes to addressing wealth generation and investment in Africa, with analysts emphasizing the importance of improving financial inclusion and remittance infrastructure for the continent.
In the global insurance sector, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, blockchain, is increasingly being considered as a solution to innovate the industry, with insurance firm Marsh this year partnering with IBM on its first commercial blockchain solution for proof of insurance.