Guardian - Remittances Around The World
The photo above accompanies a Guardian article featuring an interactive map that shows the remittance flows for the particular nation selected.
The ability to explore the map on a nation-by-nation basis (as shown above for Peru) is available only after clicking the “Leave Tour” button from the application.
Bitcoin, as a decentralized digital currency with no authorative source is beginning to gain some traction as a remittance payment method. Bitcoins are becoming fairly easy to acquire inexpensively in many areas (e.g., U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe) which correspond to areas where much of the remittance flows originate.
Since most remittance recipients use the funds for paying expenses and shopping, bitcoins aren’t (yet) quite useful to them and there are still just few methods to cash out bitcoins with a local exchanger. These methods are improving with independent exchange agents listed on LocalBitcoins.com now providing cash-out service in over 700 cities worldwide and the upcoming launch of BitcoinWireless which will let bitcoins be used to pay for mobiile phone service in more than 100 countries.
Bitcoin may have an even bigger impact for those who currently send remittances by enabling investment capital to flow quickly and cheaply to where the opportunities lie. If there is more work near a worker’s home then there is less need for that worker to live away from the family in order to provide for them. Knowledge workers are already the first to be able to work for a foreign employer without having to live abroad. And since bitcoin payments have no concept of borders, the employer can sent bitcoins to the employee at a lesser cost to both employer and employee. Increasingly these knowledge workers with foreign employers are requesting that their compensation be paid in bitcoins, and employers are increasingly willing to oblige.