How an African startup built a bitcoin network while crypto’s reputation crumbled

When jobs in banking dried up after the global economic crash in 2008, Elizabeth Rossiello went to work in Africa at several microfinance operations, where she saw firsthand how Kenya’s recently launched M-Pesa mobile money service was transforming payments.

Then, Rossiello heard that cryptocurrencies would be the next big thing. In 2013 she founded BitPesa, a digital foreign exchange and payments platform based in Nairobi. And while she benefited from the initial craze around bitcoin and blockchain, her company also shares bitcoin’s reputational wounds as the cryptocurrency faces more regulatory backlash and pricing volatility.

Elizabeth Rossiello, founder of BitPesa

“It can be frustrating, because this technology is new and the media is riding the…

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