Entrepreneur, Sinclair Skinner, believes bitcoin can be used to empower people who are from and residing in the African diaspora to take control of their finances. The former engineer started BitMari, a Zimbabwean startup innovating the process of sending money to other countries through blockchain technology and is among the most successful bitcoin companies in Africa.
“I’m a Pan-Africanist, so our thought process was to help people decolonize their life,” said Skinner who co-founded the company in 2015 with Christopher Mapondera. “We really think that with this tech people can control their money.”
BitMari is the largest Pan-African remittance platform available solving the problems Zimbabweans face when transmitting money.
Though his startup originated in Zimbabwe, Skinner hopes to create financial freedom for Black people worldwide.
“If we’re going to undo the system, our thought is to give the people of African descent that control,” Skinner said. “Collectively we are all still facing the same issues whether it be in Chicago, Lagos, or Jamaica.”
BitMari became the first tech-oriented business to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe collaborating on the effort to lower the cost of transmittance fees. That is just the beginning, Skinner said.
“We are a remittance-based platform using that as the beginning of a global black marketplace,” he said. “We don’t need someone else to come save us, we can save ourselves.”
The bitcoin startup was founded on the idea of economic empowerment dedicated to offering financial services to users across the African diaspora. The platform offers a mobile app through which users can access the remittance service. The founders have a vision of building and supporting Black people to create a quality long-lasting ecosystem in the community.
Skinner, who has a background in leading movements for the politically disenfranchised, leverages BitMari to engage the local community around technology and entrepreneurship. He not only set out to disrupt the banking industry but also to expose young people to new cryptocurrency technology.
“We are asking the question: How can we use this technology to empower people?” Skinner said.
The founder also led the efforts to launch the first ever blockchain based accelerator for women farmers in Africa allowing Zimbabwean women to use bitcoin to connect with investors.
His efforts to strategically leverage bitcoin across the African diaspora extend to the launch of the first-ever bitcoin and blockchain tour. During the tour, he visited over 20 colleges and universities speaking about fintech hackathons and job recruitment.
Bitmari also facilitates global investments support development efforts in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa.
“Instead of waiting for politicians to change our communities, we think we can use the technology to create that change and build wealth within the global Black community,” said Skinner.
Bitmari has expanded to eight other African nations, the U.S., Japan, Canada, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, and China.
Sinclair Skinner will be participating in the AfroTech Cup Pitch Competition. Check out the live stream starting at 2 o’clock to see him and other founders pitch their ideas.