Keza, the mobile app that allows any Bitcoin holder worldwide to invest in stocks and bonds, is to be resurrected after its acquisition by Philippines company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI).
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‘Revolutionary Product’ Targets Philippines
The move will see Keza developed closer physically to its initial key target market: amateur investors in emerging economies. According to its website, a relaunch is imminent and interested parties are invited to sign up for notification when it’s available.
SCI CEO John Bailon told Bitcoin.com he had been a user of the original app, and had been “blown away” by the initial concept. At the time, SCI was even mulling something similar for its own ecosystem. He said:
We thought it was the best execution of the idea, from design to how simple it has made the experience of investing for new users […] It was a no-brainer for us when the opportunity to take over the project was presented to us.
Bailon said he assumed the original developers had places like the Philippines in mind when creating the app, as the country presented the “best fit for such a revolutionary product”.
Praise, Then Abrupt Closure
Keza earned much praise in its initial development and beta period earlier this year, raising over $350,000 in seed funding including that of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG) and angel investor Jason Calacanis.
Its innovative concept appeared to demonstrate what Bitcoin was fundamentally all about – opening up financial and investment opportunities to those who wanted to participate, but were stymied by barriers in the existing financial system.
It was available to anyone in the world except US residents.
Keza signed up 2,000 iOS users for a beta test, but then in April announced abruptly that it was closing down for unspecified reasons, and returned all testers’ funds (including any profits earned).
Much Interest in Keza
Bailon added that Filipinos in particular would be excited to be able to finally participate in a global investment arena.
We’re very in tune with technology and international news, and being able to take part in it has brought a lot of interest into Keza. I think I’ve never had so many inquiries for a product we haven’t launched.
Original co-founder Simon Burns had said Keza’s mission was “to expand access of financial services to every corner of the globe”, allowing any budding investor from Lagos, Istanbul or Toronto to invest in a global portfolio of stocks and bonds.
The simple app allowed investors to choose one of three portfolios depending on risk level: Conservative, Moderate or Aggressive. A tracking chart then showed how each user’s investment was performing.
The original Keza had “investment partners” who acted as custodians for the Bitcoin and placed the investments, though all investments remained denominated in Bitcoin (and were thus subject to price fluctuations).
Satoshi Citadel Industries is one of the oldest and largest Bitcoin companies in the Philippines, and has become known for its range of products which test key use cases for Bitcoin – particularly in developing/emerging economies.
It operates Bitcoin remittance service Rebit.ph, exchange BuyBitcoin.ph, payment processor Bitmarket.ph and the upcoming wallet/social media app bitbit.
If you’re not a US resident, will you be signing up for the relaunched Keza? Does the Bitcoin world need more services like this?
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, techinasia.com, Keza