The Centbee app is a bitcoin wallet that makes it easy for anyone to send bitcoin to their friends and to pay for goods and services at stores using bitcoin.
Centbee is a payment company specialising in merchant payments, cross-border remittances and other cryptocurrency related services. Founded in late 2016 their stated goal is to "Bring bitcoin to Africa”. Centbee is partners with and funded by leading London-based blockchain R&D company, nChain, who are committed to accelerating the adoption of blockchain technology internationally.
Centbee is comprised of individuals who value honesty, commitment, respect and professionalism. They believe in the power of people to create an abundant future. The team is excited by the potential of bitcoin to enable payments and a sound currency, however are aware of the risks. Centbee strive to prevent abuse of their systems and processes for illegal ends.
They see the opportunity to leverage bitcoin to provide services to a global customer base by providing an intuitive bitcoin wallet. The wallet can be used to send and receive bitcoin easily to friends and family using mobile number send, and to pay real-world merchants. Currently, few merchants accept bitcoin, but Centbee can provide simple and reliable interfaces to allow any merchant to register and receive payment - settled into their bank account in fiat currency. This removes the risk of bitcoin price volatility and leverages the immutability of the blockchain network.
The remittance model uses bitcoin as the 'rails' to make cross-border payments to support family as easily and cheaply as possible. The social importance of this service cannot be overemphasized, and Centbee believes that through providing a commercial service, they are helping people to connect with and provide for their loved ones.
Centbee recognises the need to inform and educate regulators, merchants, media and customers about bitcoin and blockchain. Co-CEO, Lorien Gamaroff, is in high demand at international conferences and private events, where he is able to make anyone an expert in only an hour. The purpose of their educational efforts is to increase awareness of bitcoin, to reduce misconceptions, and to encourage adoption of bitcoin.
Centbee is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa and has a staff complement of 6.
As South Africa's foremost blockchain expert, Lorien has been invited around the world to speak on digital currencies and distributed ledgers and their benefits for emerging economies. He has addressed the IMF, World Bank, FBI and Commonwealth Secretariat, the South African Reserve Bank, TEDx and a host of banking professionals and attorney generals throughout the world. He offers insight and guidance to business executives and advises government on blockchain technologies and their implications.
Angus was the Founder, and later CEO of eBucks. He led the development of the internet banking platform, and later managed the entire business (Loyalty programme, eCommerce and Internet Banking). This business has made a real mark on the SA eCommerce, banking and loyalty landscape. He was the Head of Alliance Banking and Support Services at Mercantile Bank Limited and served as an executive of MMI Holdings and Blue Label Telecoms. With a long history in banking at the highest levels he brings experience and insight into innovative payment businesses like Centbee.
Kagiso is a multimedia designer with over 7 years experience in digital and print media. Having worked in the IT, telecoms and printing sectors, he has a range of diverse skills including web development. He has worked on several projects and assisted in the establishment of a number of brands. He enjoys cooking and is a volunteer for Soweto-based NGO's focusing on youth development.
Heidi is a marketing consultant specialising in traditional, digital and social media marketing. In addition to consulting to clients on marketing strategy, she is a speaker, board member, entrepreneur and investor who is passionate about technology that is changing the world and how consumers behave, including cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, fintech, virtual reality, drones and the Internet of Things.
Jimmy Nguyen joined nChain Group after a 21-year career as an intellectual property and digital technology lawyer. He is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional/U.S. Over the course of his private practice legal career, Jimmy was a partner at three major U.S. law firms – most recently Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. He represented multinational corporates and emerging companies in a wide range of sectors – including technology, entertainment & media, sports, financial services, consumer products, retail, and automotive.
Michael Stannard is the Managing Director of Paper Plane, an advisory and ventures firm specialising in rapidly advancing technologies, and a director at the Exponential Africa Institute. Michael is also a Google LaunchPad Mentor, assisting Google with mentorship and Sprints for new businesses. Michael has facilitated numerous programs aimed at bringing large African corporates into the age of exponential technology and disruptive innovation. He is also a leading expert on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings and has written and featured in various publications on the application and effect of exponentials.
Development of customer-facing applications using bitcoin
Understanding of the regulatory framework around payments, and design of solutions that are regulatory compliant and have low operational risk
Enablement of merchant payment services to accept bitcoin for payments
Oct 2016 - The two founders met whilst presenting at a conference and immediately saw how their skills complemented each other.
Dec 2016 - Work started on the prototype Centbee Bitcoin wallet
Jun 2017 - The first test payments using real Bitcoin were made to a pilot merchant and across international exchanges to test the remittance model.
Sep 2017 - The first public pitch took place at AlphaCode.
Jan 2018 - nChain invested in Centbee at which stage we hired our first employee - a young Java developer from Soweto.
Jun 2018 - Centbee wallet releases open alpha version on the Google Play Store
Oct 2018 - Centbee launches Beta version of the app and is available for download on Apple’s App Store
Nov 2018 - The Centbee app is available in multiple languages, truly embracing the essence of an international bitcoin cash wallet
Nov 2018 - Centbee’s registered users reach 5000 within 6 weeks of launch