Bitcoin transactions are getting popular in Kenya with various startups dealing in bitcoin to M-PESA international remittance services and others simply helping users use their bitcoins for local transactions.
This new year, a new startup dubbed Chama Dhahabu wants to take that value a notch higher by allowing members to pool together, buy gold coins and bars and bitcoins just as normal savings and credit cooperatives (SACCO) for a future rainy day. Chama Dhahabu Swahili for a Gold Club or Sacco is a product of ChamaPesa, an Andoid app designed to help users keep track of shares and transactions of chama members.
According to the Sacco, “each member of Chama Dhahabu has their own gold account with the SACCO. Your gold account is in grams of gold, and it is divisible down to milligrams. That means you can transfer as little as 0.001 grams of gold, which is worth about 4 shillings.”
“We want to make gold accessible to all Kenyans, so instead of a high monthly minimum contribution we will accept as little as 100 shillings a month for individual members, and 1000 shillings for group members (chamas, SACCOs and limited companies).” says the firm.
This allows users to save their money into gold a little at a time adds the Nairobi-based firm. The gold savings aims to help members accumulate their funds and as well enjoy asset appreciation and avoid high interest loans from banks which eat into borrower’s your profits.
TechMoran is yet to find out more details on howthe club technically works but users need to join the SACCO by filling out the membership application online attaching a copy of their national ID plus paying an annual registration fee of Ksh 300, and a minimum share capital purchase of the same amount. After registration, a user gets a share capital account and a gold or Bitcoin account depending on their saving preference.
“You can set up your accounts using the ChamaPesa app on Android, or you can just opt for a regular account and get SMS notifications,” the firm says.
The minimum monthly savings is 100 ksh and the chama sends monthly SMS reminders to members to save. Members who fail to save for the month will be fined 100 ksh against their savings account.
“Chama Dhahabu does not “invest” our member funds, we simply buy and hold the asset the members want to save into,” says the group. “The member decides when to buy and when to sell. If the price in KSH is higher when you sell than when you bought, then you will make a profit. If the price in KSH is lower when you sell than when you bought, you will take a loss. After three or four years of saving into gold, you may find that you have accumulated enough to buy that shamba you always wanted – without taking a loan, and without paying any interest.”
Chama Dhahabu says it has a gold bullion account with Gold.ae, a reputable gold dealer in Dubai and everytime members make their monthly savings contribution, Chama Dhahabu aggregates it together to Dubai where it buys gold with it.
Chama Dhahabu uses the ChamaPesa application for the accounting of its member accounts. Individual members may install ChamaPesa on their own Android phone or tablet. Members can as well liquidate their Chama Dhahabu gold accounts via their mobile phones to their MPESA accounts within two business days.
Chama Dhahabu also welcomes other groups, or chamas, SACCOs or limited companies to join and promote financial inclusion by enabling individuals, chamas and SACCOs to save into gold bullion with low minimum contributions using mobile money.