ZimboCash looking into USSD, mobile app & eCommerce API

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
ZimboCash API, App ZASH

Last night, ZimboCash (ZASH) Head of Communications Philip Haslem held a Twitter Space to touch base and answer questions from those in attendance. The Space covered a number of points spanning from ZimboCash’s return, its relationship with the regulators, digital KYC to an API for eCommerce.

So let’s break down all of what was said, starting off with ZimboCash’s return. As I am sure you are already aware, the alternative currency pulled a Houdini last year after some of its users found a way around its KYC (Know Your Customer) verification system.

This led to ZimboCash’s near 13-month hiatus as it tried to find a way to better secure sign-ups and databases. As we reported early last month ZimboCash returned and it was looking to redeem itself.

ZimboCash incentives

After missing out on a year and some change of transacting ZimboCash came back with a couple of things to sweeten the deal for its users.

1. Selling on the exchange:  Ten users who make the most transactions can transfer their ZASH to the exchange. 

2. First Payment Reward: If you pay people and its their first time to receive ZASH, you get a reward of 100 ZASH.

Zimbocash via email

This offer seemed to have garnered some traction because the top 10 for the most transactions totalled 577 with the highest having paid 93 unique users. The full amount of transactions was not disclosed in the email the ZimboCash team sent out. But I imagine it fell short of the 13,000 transactions claimed in its first 48hrs last year.

Though those figures may be far smaller than other services, although if they are accurate, it shows that there are still diehards out there who want to see ZimboCash work.

Relationship with the regulators

On this front, it looks like nothing has changed. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) doesn’t yet know how to regulate ZimboCash. From what was said during the Twitter Space it looks like the RBZ doesn’t have an issue with the alternative currency.

And at this point, some of you may be wondering how they managed to skirt the RBZ’s ire. Well, it looks like ZimboCash or the company behind it is on good terms with the regulator. They have been forthcoming about how they want to operate and the total allocation of ZASH has a portion of it going to the government.

For any of you who might think that this is “buying favours”, I would say I doubt it. This isn’t something that ZimboCash has hidden, we had a live stream with Philip Haslem last year and he said it openly. So I guess as long as the govt is getting a cut, all is well… (which really should be the case but that’s not what we are here for today)

ZimboCash’s connectivity issue

The one thing holding back ZimboCash’s is the service’s reliance on the internet. As I am sure you are all aware the blockchain or anything based on it needs the world wide web. It looks like the folks over at ZimboCash are taking the approach that most others have and are exploring a USSD option.

Well, I say exploring but in truth, and according to Philip Haslem, they are in the process of applying for USSD codes from the mobile network operators. The team at ZimboCash is also toying with the idea of physically issued prepaid tokens to bridge the gap between them and those without internet services.

ZimboCash app and API

ZimboCash has plans to launch an API so that eCommerce stores in Zimbabwe can accept ZASH as a payment method. How far this project is to fruition is not yet clear. When I asked Philip Haslem about the API, he said it would be coming this later year or early next year. However, if you are familiar with software development you would take this with a grain of salt. Rarely does anything go to plan or on any sort of timeline.

As for physical stores, it looks like ZimboCash is still some ways away from that. There are still some kinks to work out in the system before we see “ZASH Accepted Here” alongside a ZimSwitch logo. You can still trade but this is reserved on ZASH marketplaces or individuals who accept ZASH.

Lastly on the issue of the mobile app. It looks like not much has changed since last year. There is still no ZimboCash app, one would have thought that on its long break the company would have rustled one up for a proper assault on the market.

It looks like it’s still a game of wait and see with ZASH. Hopefully, there are more developments afoot in the near future.

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  1. Emanuel

    Seems like a one-sided article. I was on the call and there was a lot of good that was shared which you haven’t detailed.

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Some of these reasons given for failure to expand, like Internet connectivity, sound a bit lousy. Why would you sign-up to use a digital currency without internet connectivity, I posit that those that joined the network are well aware of this requirement. A mobile app is also an obvious need, how were they expecting people to trade in stores/shops that accept ZimboCash.

    It once looked like a promising project, but is beginning to seem like there is some poor planning somewhere along the lines.


    Zimbabwe needs Tech savvy people analysing new technologies on behalf of the public and give an unbiased review. Techzim should have registered into ZimboCash and start showing us proof from within. How viable, scalable, usable, effective the product is and give hands-on tech analysis not a grumpy grandpa diary story.