An application to facilitate online payments, a virtual bank, a cryptocurrency … Everything was almost ready to launch KodePay in Algeria. But the state is stiffening in front of virtual currencies, it is in Nairobi that the start-up will finally start its activities.
With his start-up KodePay, Nassym Louradi was preparing to launch from Algeria his virtual bank and cryptocurrency. That was without counting the Algerian Finance Law 2018 and the prohibition of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
But more was needed to discourage the young entrepreneur, who felt the wind turn in his country. “I wanted to start my business at home in Algeria, but the law was so hard that I had to look elsewhere. In Kenya, we were open, “he says.
Direction Nairobi, therefore, for the 24-year-old developer from Bouhira, who interrupted his studies in computer science and mathematics at the university of his hometown to launch his start-up in 2015. “I had already communicated around my virtual bank and cryptocurrency project, especially via our website, and thanks to the Seedstars Algeria contest, which ranked us in its top 10 in 2016. We were therefore contacted by online trading platforms in Kenya, which offered us to go home, “he says.
His “us” refers to his associate, Nesrine Aissani, a thirty-something Algerian, specializing in business development, who joined the adventure in 2016, after creating Payvite, the Orange Award of Social Entrepreneur 2017, which offers Banks a simple way to accept any type of payment through an application and a card reader with secure client authentication.
Nassym Louradi is currently finalizing the mobile application to be launched at the end of January in Kenya, accompanied by a promotional campaign on social networks. “It was thought in Algerian dinars, so it takes some modifications to adapt to the Kenyan shilling,” he says.
With this application, users will be able to credit their account with network merchants, including tobacconists. They will thus obtain prepaid tickets which they can use to pay their purchases on the partner sites.
KodePay will therefore work in a conventional currency. During the first quarter of 2018, a prepaid bank card will be launched, in partnership with Mastercard, which will be able to replace the tickets at the beginning. “If all goes well, we will be able to export our model to other African countries,” explains Nassym. Louradi, citing Tunisia, Nigeria and South Africa as priority markets.
A virtual currency fundraiser
In parallel with these payment systems in Kenyan shillings, the founders of the start-up are working on a virtual bank project, the Kdbox, which will be associated with cryptocurrency that will create the company, the KDX. Nassym Louradi believes that this new currency will allow remittances between the diaspora and the continent for a cost that promises “less than that of existing funds transfer platforms.”
This is the first “Initial Coin Offering (ICO)” of the company, in February, which will devote the birth of this new currency. “This is actually a fundraiser, but via a cryptocurrency. Investors will give us bitcoins, and in exchange we will give them our currency, the KDX, “says Nassym Louradi, who hopes to put on the market 300 million KDX, representing about 10 million dollars.
Then, “like all virtual currencies, and more generally all stock products, the KDX will be subject to the law of supply and demand, and its value will evolve,” says its founder.