Alan"s Money Blog

Jun 23, 2007

OmniPay temporarily suspends exchange to transition to OmniPay Africa

Update: June 21, 2007 OmniPay Africa had planned to become operational, conducting both in and outexchanges by June 18th. It now appears this service will be delayed several weeks. Establishment of OmniPay Africa has been on-going, designed to facilitate a remote and sophisticated payment capability to the majority of mankind underserved or excluded from traditional banking and constituting it properly is imperative. The complexities of making OmniPay Africa fully operational in an accelerated manner have been greater than originally anticipated causing this delay. We assure you we are working diligently to bring OmniPay Africa online.

Notice May 24, 2007: Effective immediately, G&SR will be leasing the OmniPay business to OmniPay Africa. All OmniPay exchanges will now involve e-gold transfers and money payments into/out of OmniPay Africa's e-gold and bank accounts respectively. G&SR has contracted to serve as the Operator of OmniPay but will not be a party to actual exchanges.

In terms of immediate impacts:

  • The OmniPay exchange service will suspend operation pending provisioning of a suitable bank account for OmniPay Africa. It is anticipated this service interruption will start May 24, 2007 with service resuming on or about June 18, 2007.
  • With resumption, all bank wires from customers must be directed to
    the new bank coordinates which will be posted on the website.

The original plan was for OmniPay Africa to organize as a licensee of G&SR, the US company that owns OmniPay. A substantial development effort was underway to support the additional requirements for over-the-counter exchange operations such as biometric validation. However, recent actions of the US government, originating from a long-standing and misguided animus on the part of the US Secret Service, necessitate immediate action. Specifically, SEB Bank in Estonia has notified G&SR it is closing its bank account at close of business May 25, 2007 explicitly because of the Press Release from the US DOJ.

We regret the temporary interruption of OmniPay services. Just as the US government's recent actions in seizing e-gold accounts of e-gold Ltd., G&SR, The Bullion Exchange, AnyGoldNow, IceGold, GitGold, The Denver Gold Exchange, GoldPouch Express and 1MDC (and forcing G&SR to liquidate the seized assets!) have severely damaged not only these exchange businesses but also their innumerable customers, their forcing this complex transition to be performed on an emergency basis is simply shameful.

We do not however regret the transfer of OmniPay responsibilities to OmniPay Africa. As will become abundantly clear in coming months, the OmniPay Africa team is highly qualified to guide OmniPay to a higher level, a genuinely global service that will foster a beneficial surge in e-gold's emergence while bringing significant advantages to emerging economies.

Strategic Background

A major strategic emphasis for e-gold is to provide sophisticated remote payments capabilities to the majority of mankind underserved by or excluded by the banking system. An important focus is international remittances - payments from migrant workers living in advanced economies sending a portion of their earnings to their home country. For many developing economies, migrant remittances constitute a significant portion of foreign exchange income and even GDP. Traditional remittance mechanisms, however, are expensive and inflexible. It is estimated that lowering the net cost of remittances by a few percentage points could measurably enhance economic development. There is also increasing awareness that non-traditional banking such as micro-credit facilities can also aid in bootstrapping lesser developed economies.

OmniPay Africa, an entirely non-US company, majority owned by prominent business leaders from the Francophone countries of West Africa, was therefore organized to extend the usefulness of e-gold by providing support for over-the-counter exchange and by fostering the integration of e-gold into micro-credit lending institutions. The combination of e-gold (settling the international transfer of value with no need for a financial intermediary) and OmniPay (offering standardized, reliable, low cost exchange to/from local currency) will serve as a flexible low cost alternative to the traditional systems.

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