Blog Series

Digital Currencies and Financial Inclusion: Revisiting Risks

In early 2014, CGAP published a brief, "Bitcoin versus Electronic Money," which concluded: “The current realities of Bitcoin mean it is still a long way off from reaching the unbanked.” It seemed that digital currencies such as Bitcoin were primarily the domain of consumers in developed countries who were tech-savvy and enjoyed playing around with the latest hot item. But this space is changing rapidly, and factors that previously appeared too risky for emerging markets now seem more manageable.

After recently working with a startup called BitPesa, which uses Bitcoin to provide inexpensive remittance services to Kenya, CGAP took another look at the ways Bitcoin and other digital currencies might be applied successfully in emerging markets.