Financial services are important because they help us start businesses, create economic flow, and bring communities together by facilitating transactions with those around us.

More meaningfully, they allow us to invest in a better future for ourselves and our families. Right now, there are over two billion people who do not have access to financial services. Their opportunities are limited in every way. BitMinutes is changing that by providing a widely accessible financial platform to over four billion mobile phones.

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Why Are Universal Prepaid Minutes Groundbreaking?

BitMinutes (BMT’s) break down barriers between telecommunications ecosystems. These universal prepaid minutes can be exchanged between friends and family and used to top off mobile phones worldwide, regardless of carrier. By unifying all mobile phone users in areas serviced by BitMinutes and allowing them to conveniently engage in buying, selling, and trading BTM (And, consequently, Akoin), BitMinutes ensures consistent community adoption.

Prepaid minutes are rapidly becoming an informal currency of exchange between people and organizations in developing countries like Nigeria and the Philippines. People use the minutes to make calls, but they also settle small debts or pay utility bills in places where utilities accept bill payment via mobile phone.

A mobile phone operator’s prepaid minutes are only good for use within their ecosystem. In places like Kenya where one mobile operator dominates, that is less of an issue. However, in most countries, the mobile phone market is fragmented. Having a universal prepaid minute, like the BMT, massively upgrades the value and usefulness of prepaid minutes as an “informal” currency of exchange.

In Nigeria, BMTs have an additional value that will soon be available in more countries: BMTs may be converted back into cash to be deposited into a bank account. No other prepaid minute has that ability! That immediate convertible value means there is less risk for BMT purchasers to buy and save BMTs in their mobile wallet for future use.

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Holding BMTs for Future Use Earns Rewards Via Mobile Mining

As an additional incentive, BMT purchasers who hold their tokens in their wallet or account also earn extra BMTs as rewards whenever they use their BitMinutes app or their online account. Each day, when a BMT holder opens his or her account, they will receive a bonus which could add up to 1% of their current account balance each month (over 12% annually.)

This mobile mining activity rewards loyalty and is designed to encourage BMT ownership because maintaining a BMT balance will serve as collateral for microloans, a service that BitMinutes and Akon are building to encourage grassroots entrepreneurship in developing economies. BMT ownership and management will also play a key role as one element of a dedicated credit scoring algorithm for residents of under-served economic communities.

Facilitating more economic activity and opening up more avenues for economic entrepreneurship in developing economies is the key to breaking barter-based cycles of poverty that keep these communities from acquiring wealth. “People with aspirations cannot access capital they need to launch local businesses or build on a promising start-up opportunity. Even small amounts of funding are crucial.

What BitMinutes Means for the Akoin Platform

At Akoin, we’re excited to integrate BitMinutes’ new mobile mining feature and incredibly eager to facilitate exchange between prepaid cell phone minutes (a commodity our communities are already comfortable trading) and the Akoin currency. BitMinutes’ stability and convertibility into cash  will create immense value for Akoin users.