By Grace Caffyn
Tunisia’s post office, La Poste Tunisienne, today revealed it is testing a cryptocurrency-powered payments app for 600,000 of its customers.
In partnership with startups Monetas and DigitUs, the hybrid service provider – which runs eDinar, Tunisia’s official mobile money – will launch a multi-purpose app for the growing number of smartphone users in the North African nation.
CEO M Moez Chakchouk said in a statement:
“La Poste is a very important and trusted institution and is at the heart of financial inclusion efforts in Tunisia. At La Poste we are on a transformation journey to modernize our services with innovative technologies and power the digital economy. Digital, Mobile and Internet, are all key components in this transformation.”
The app, which runs on Monetas’ crypto-transaction platform, will launch as a pilot for “friends and family”, the startup said. Once the integration is complete, it will be rolled out to 600,000 eDinar users.
Once live, La Poste customers will be able to action instant money transfers, remittances and purchases in-store and online via QR codes. It will also give them the ability to pay bills and even manage their government ID documents.
Transaction fees will be negligible – with the maximum amounting to under one third of a Dinar (11p). To prevent illegal use, issuance and circulation will be controlled by La Poste, Monetas said.
The app is the first public release from the Swiss software firm, which CMO Vitus Ammann claims has raised over $6m from angel investors to date.
Monetas calls its platform a “cryptographically secured digital notary” that records but never touches value. Monetas effectively offers white-label solutions to its partners, who will run it day-to-day to ensure they comply with AML and KYC standards in their market. In this case, this partner is DigitUs.
The firm is also looking to expand further into Africa over the next year, followed by Latin America and Asia – where smartphone penetration is surging but access to financial services remains poor.
Ammann told CoinDesk:
“Monetas wants to focus on where we can have the greatest impact. Although Monetas software is intended to change the entire world, we believe the best place to start is where transaction costs are highest and access to banking is very low.”
“We believe that mobile financial services is rapidly growing in the region, and Monetas software means individuals will prosper with a transaction platform that is magnitudes cheaper than any alternative, and able to operate across mobile networks and access new financial tools.”