March 08, 2007

WebMoney Annual Report: competition with Belarus Government

WebMoney has writes Dani Nagy just posted its annual report. Here's the short summary in English:

WebMoney Transfer is summarizing its 2006 financial year results.

Number of registrations during the past year has exceeded 1.1 million for January 1, 2007 there were 3.145 registrations in the System. Total turnover equivalent to USD, has reached 1.46 billion and has exceeded 2005 results: WMZ grew 2 times bigger, WMR- three times bigger, WMU 4 times bigger. Number of transactions is more than 15 million.

Our geography: In 2006 70% of our Customers were coming from Russia, 15% from Ukraine, 4% - from Byelorussia. Other customers were originating from Baltic states, Kazakhstan, USA, Israel and Germany.

The System has launched a new currency WMB equivalent to Byelorussian Rubles. The Number of merchants, connected to the System has grown too.
During 2007 we plan to introduce more WM-Currencies and launch new project with various local and foreign project and service providers as well as cooperate with financial services and payment solutions.

One of the more interesting details is the success in Byelorussia [I follow WM's spelling here; the country is better known as Belarus in English-language publications], considering repeated attempts by the government to crowd out WM - launching a government-backed competitor (which ended up being just another vehicle for turning your cash into WebMoney [*]), arresting a few exchange agents and general harrassment of WebMoney-related people and businesses. The most important servers serving Byelorussian WM customers are still conveniently located in Switzerland.

WM-penetration in Russia and in Byelorussia are roughly equal (it is only slightly higher in Russia) and substantially higher than in the Ukraine.

Considering that WM has just published all their protocols and APIs, it might be worth considering writing open-source libraries for our own payment systems or even making them general enough for, well, general use.

[*] I think that this story merits more analysis, because it teaches some important lessons. was set up with government backing (it has some government-friendly features, too, like no anonymous or pseudonymous accounts) and it also enjoys some support from the banking sector. There are many easy ways to turn Easypay balance into cash and vice versa. Yet, the most popular use of easypay is buying and cashing WebMoney. And this is despite the fact that WM charges 0.8% per transaction, whereas EasyPay is free. Why do people value their privacy in some cases and not in others?

Posted by iang at March 8, 2007 09:54 AM | TrackBack
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