WestAsian startup Umbrellab, which has been working and building products and services around the bitcoin infrastructure for everyday payments such as utilities, has now been successful with its Piiko prepaid mobile service.
Piiko, which the company launched April this year, is the Dubai-based Umbrellab’s first product.
Piiko is a service for topping-up prepaid mobile sim cards under particular data plans in more than 100 countries.
Pikko differs from hundreds of other company’s offering similar services on one key feature, it allows top-ups to be made via bitcoin.
According to co-founders Tarik Kaddoumi and Sergey Yusupov, “We started with mobile recharge as there was already a necessity, and the market was ripe in terms of the bitcoin community spending on various services and products worldwide.”
The founders stated that their plan is to move to offering bitcoin payment services for many other lifestyle necessities and utilities such as TV, Internet and bill payments in bitcoins. Piiko allows users to use bitcoins over fiat currency, even where the provider does not accept bitcoins.
As with most technology service products, Piiko too has recently relaunched following further updates to the services and time-out after the earlier launch.
The brief pause was due to the phasing-out of a liaison third party on behalf of cellular service provides which were increasing the overall operational costs. Now that Piiko is back, with Umbrellab being the direct party, the costs are pared and service remains the top-line goal.
The reasons for Umbrellab being directly involved in the transactions, is explained thus by the duo: “We will keep it that way in order to offer users the same rates in bitcoin as they would pay directly. In some countries our prices are not the best in the market, but we’re trying to improve this all the time and will announce every change as we go.”