Balancing Innovation and Regulation – With BitPesa’s Charlene Chen

We do what normally takes over 3 days, in less than 1 hour, when it comes to cross border payments for frontier economies

Charlene Chen

Regulation is often seen as a restriction to innovation. And in some cases, it certainly is, but in other cases, not so much. Perhaps what defines the difference is your attitude towards building innovation within the context of regulations.

Charlene Chen, BitPesa’s COO, talks us through the challenge between innovation and regulation, and how you balance the conflicting energies and the management of different stakeholders.


BitPesa is most famous for doing the bitcoin remittance. To do this, they have to engage with the regulators. The problem that they are solving is cross-border payment without the US dollar. Their attitude is focused on how they solve this problem while reducing friction and cost.

Charlene shares how they go about doing this while balancing innovation with regulation?

Charlene also shares how they have adapted as they have grown, the pivot challenge and being early in the market. They have made some pivots, but they were well thought out rather than blind hope. It was based on real insights and understanding the customers, and matching this to your product market fit.


A Bit More About Charlene Chen

Charlene is the co-founder of BitePesa and is currently the Chief Operating Officer. She is originally from the Southern parts of the US but has made East Africa her second home, where she has spent the better part of the last 10 years working.

You can find Charlene on the following social media platforms:


A Bit More About BitPesa

BitPesa’s vision is to showcase how frontier markets can use technology to leapfrog traditional infrastructure and grow at an accelerated pace.

BitPesa does this by accepting money from your bank account and moving it directly to your destination account. It cuts out all the middlemen, saves on conversion and transfer fees, and can be done in just a few clicks. You can connect with BitPesa on:


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Michael Cowen

Michael Cowen

Michael Cowen is the CEO of WTF and co-host on the ThinkWTF Podcast. I focus on helping business build systems to respond to exponential change and thrive. You can book my keynotes on WTF Keynotes

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