The Singapore-based startup uses blockchain technology to simplify enterprise fund transfers, and eschews extra costs such as Forex charges
The remittance sector, especially in Asia, is a lucrative market. A large proportion of workers, an estimated 200 million people, coming from emerging markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam depends on remittance services to send money home to their families.
Naturally, these opportunities have lead to the emergence of Southeast Asia-based startups such as Toast, Rebit.ph, and Ayannah. Besides handling remittance between consumers, many of these startups also focus on enabling transactions between merchants, and between merchants and consumers.
But there’s one remaining, largely untapped market—remittance solutions for large-scale enterprises, and Singapore-based startup CoinPip, also a graduate of early startup funds cum accelerator 500 Startups, wants to tackle this nascent space.
Instead of focussing on the consumer market, it has poised itself to serve the needs of enterprises delivering payments to vendors, contractors and employees.
Cost-effective enterprise remittance solutions
According to CoinPip’s Co-founder and CEO Anson Zeall, most remittance startups go for the consumer market because it is the lowest hanging fruit.
“But we see the bigger picture, and bigger piece of the pie in the B2B space. Payments need to be settled for companies, and using banks would be too expensive,” says Zeall in an interview with e27.
How CoinPip keeps costs low is by leveraging on blockchain technology – a method by which bitcoins are transacted using a secure database.
On its website, CoinPip claims that it can complete inter-bank transactions within 48 hours and at a third of the cost. Zeall also states that there are no extra costs such as Forex charges on top its two per cent flat fee charges. There is also no minimum transaction amount, so you can even transact as low as US$10.
Zeall says that he and his Co-founders’ combined experience as ex-hedge managers have given them an advantage over many other fintech startups, which are comprised of mostly computer engineers and scientists. And many of them have trouble keeping costs low because of currency fluctuations.
“They know the bitcoin and blockchain technology, but are missing the financial component that is really driving this sector,” says Zeall. “I was managing a family office, and my Co-founder was working with currencies. So we all have internal knowledge of how banks manage Forex.”
Thus, this led to the development of an engine that can purportedly handle the mis-pricing and varying pricing of digital assets, not only for bitcoin, but also for other assets in the blockchain.
In its client database is Japan-based travel startup Voyagin, which uses CoinPip to send money to its hotels, contractors and vendors in Indonesia and Hong Kong.
For now, CoinPip is focussed only on the enterprise space, but is considering consumer remittance in the future. It also does not serve the unbanked.
However, one plus point is that users on the receiving end do not need to register with the platform to receive payments. As long as the senders provide the relevant bank details, the recipient will receive the money in their account in his desired currency.
Another limitation, Zeall says, is that transactions in the billions of dollars are not possible, given that the current Bitcoin market cap is currently at US$6 billion.
CoinPip secured its first round of seed funding of US$100,000 in 2014 from 500 Startups and is looking to close the round soon soon. The company is also in talks on expansion into other markets such as Thailand and Malaysia.
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