Abra, the bitcoin remittance app, has made its way to the U.S. — via the iPhone and Android app options.
What that means is that Abra customers in the U.S. or the Philippines can send money to each other using the app’s digital wallet that works with their bank accounts. The company noted in its release that this is the first move in helping it expand globally.
Abra is a digital wallet that enables consumers to store digital money, or bitcoin, on their smartphones using the app. That currency can then be sent to anyone else who uses the app; all the sender needs is the recipient’s phone number. The money can then be moved into bank accounts or be taken to a bank to get physical cash.
“Our vision at Abra is to make it possible for the first time to send money across any two smartphones regardless of location, currency or mobile phone operator, just like WhatsApp does for messaging,” Abra wrote in a news release.
With the cross-border remittances market now clocking in at $500 billion per year, it’s generating more than $25 billion in fees, according to the company’s report. Because there’s so much money being transferred from the developed to the developing world, there still aren’t enough options to serve those who need it most, the company says. That’s where Abra is coming in to address the unbanked problems in the developing world
“To realize our vision of a free peer-to-peer money transfer network, we’ve been building a global ecosystem for person-to-person payments that works on any smartphone in any country in the world. While traditional remittance providers look at the world in terms of ‘corridors,’ we see the world as one big connected global network. Our blockchain-based platform helps us realize that vision,” the company said.
Once the company is able to get more people “banked,” the goal is to launch in several countries beyond the U.S. and the Philippines.