Neema: Taking care of the virtual currencies [Geektime Conference]
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Photo Credit: Neema

Thanks to the Bitcoin, Neema can help users who don’t have or want a traditional bank account.

Photo Credit: Neema

Photo Credit: Neema

As of today there are over 2.5 billion users who do not have a bank account. This is due to the global phenomenon of foreign workers crossing borders around the world, people living in economically underdeveloped areas or simply because there are those who just don’t trust the banking system and vice versa.

In order to allow these users to manage their money in a little bit more organized fashion than just hiding it in their mattress, the Israeli startup Neema allows these users to open bank accounts based on virtual currency.

Next Generation Banking

Neema helps these users to open a Dollars account, using a simple application which keeps their money in secure digital form. Using the Neema service, users can pay online, get a credit card attached to the account, and of course, send money to other users with ease. The company is able to offer this option in a cost effective way given that it relies on a technology infrastructure based on Bitcoin. Analysts speculate that this is the next big thing in banking, despite still having difficulties and challenges since its rate is very volatile against the dollar.

As long as the Bitcoin remains unstable, the protocol is almost unusable. To this point the company has developed a financial model, attaching dollar values to ​​Bitcoin balances. Thus, they offer accounts of regular dollars over a Bitcoin network that runs in the background and is not veiwable to the user who’s only aware of the dollars to dollars transaction.

According to the company, as of today there are 192 million migrant workers, each making 2,600 dollars a year on average and sending 2300 dollars a year to family abroad. Such accounts are not profitable for the banks, which prefer not to give a proper solution to those people, in addition to the high commissions for foreign workers, who prefer to avoid using it.

But if you do the math, these figures add up to an industry worth 500 billion dollars a year, and Neema plans to grab on to it with both hands.

From collapsing banks in Cyprus to a prosperous system

Neema was founded in July 2013 by Barack Ben-Ezer, Eyal Mayer and Erez Robinson. The idea for it was born while the founders were exposed to the Bitcoin currency and the collapse of the banking system in Cyprus. They realized that virtual currency is a real alternative to traditional banks, causing them to begin exploring the subject.

They realized that the technology can change the way people use money, and will ultimately change the global financial system significantly. They decided they want to be a part of this change, but at the same time they wished to solve a real problem of ordinary users – not just to market the Bitcoin as an interesting financial investment. So, they decided to found Neema.

Unlike their competition, who use money transfers that offer cash on one side and cash on the other side, Neema provides a solution to those foreign workers who want to save money in a savings account, just like a regular bank account. The company’s solution is a full financial solution. Besides for a credit card account there’s also the possibility of sending money in a digital way, with the receiving side getting cash, without having to go to the bank or to collect large sums of money as they do today.

The company clarifies that it plans to offer its service for free, while using some referral ads. In the future, the company plans to offer a range of other services, which will include the option to take loans, open retirement savings accounts and even offer health insurance according to the requirements of the users.

The company has already completed a financing pre-seed round of about a quarter of a million dollars from Kima Ventures and another unnamed Angel Investor, and is now seeking to further develop and expand its products.

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Henn Idan

About Henn Idan


Lover of gadgets, apps and technology in general. Somehow among her many activities, which include, destroying cellular devices for the sake of science and an obsessive preoccupation with social networking, Idann finds time to write an article or two for Geektime on new applications, promising startups and product reviews for pretty much every new gadget that has ever hit the market - ever.

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