Africa needs Bitcoin SV, and here’s why

Bitcoin SV (BSV) has established itself as the leading blockchain project and continues to impact the lives of millions across the world. And as the blockchain world pivots its eyes to Seoul, South Korea where the CoinGeek conference recently wrapped up, one theme that has become clear is how much Africa needs BSV. Just recently, this need for peer-to-peer electronic money was amplified after the central bank of Zimbabwe banned mobile money, a very popular payment method in the country, leaving the citizens with fewer payment options.

Africans aren’t new to crypto. African crypto exchanges have been flourishing in recent years as the number of traders continues to increase. However, cryptos have to be more than just a speculative asset for the continent.

In some of the cases where cryptos have been used as a payment method, the users have relied on inferior cryptos whose charges are high and speed is low. However, with Bitcoin SV, this all changes as the extremely low charges enable microtransactions in a way no other crypto can.

For most Africans, cash payments are their default payment method. This method can be unsafe, but since the options are limited, the citizens end up having to rely on it. There are some countries that have experienced great success with mobile money such as Mpesa in Kenya. However, the vast number of citizens in the continent still has to rely on cash payment.

Africans who’ve tried their hand in crypto have had to contend with the slow speed of most of the popular cryptos, ranging from Ethereum whose transactions take about five minutes, to BTC whose transactions take over half an hour. This speed is unrealistic when it comes to every-day payments. The only crypto that can fulfill this role is the real Bitcoin, Bitcoin SV.

When it comes to Africa, the remittance issue can’t go unnoticed. The continent receives billions of dollars from Africans working abroad, but unfortunately, a big portion of the money sent goes to transactions charges. This challenge has been well documented, with the World Bank finding that Africa’s remittance charges are the highest in the world, almost twice as high as that of its closest rival.

The time has come for Africa to embrace Bitcoin SV and get to enjoy all the advantages that it offers its users.

OKEx hosts events in Lagos, Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi and Osogbo amid major push into Africa

Cape Town — SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 — OKEx, the world’s largest spot and futures digital asset exchange, today announced its entry into the African market to provide professional, secure, and convenient digital asset trading to cryptocurrency users and newcomers. OKEx is dedicated to providing resources that will facilitate blockchain adoption in emerging markets, including those in Africa. Company leaders are hosting a series of meetups this month in African cities, including Lagos, Cape Town, and Accra, with upcoming events in Nairobi, Kenya and Osogbo, Nigeria. 

In recent years, unstable political environments and the depreciation of fiat currencies in Africa have prompted citizens to move their assets to crypto or alternative investment opportunities. South Africa, for example, has the fifth highest cryptocurrency adoption rate in the world. Yet despite widespread interest in cryptocurrencies, many people have encountered challenges in safely and securely buying, trading, and managing their digital assets. Research shows that many people give up on cryptocurrencies because they are too impractical, and that 19 percent of people who use cryptocurrencies have been hacked on an exchange. 

“Cryptocurrency exchanges have a responsibility to their customers to provide a safe, secure, and user-friendly experience,” said Andy Cheung, OKEx’s Head of Operations, who grew up in South Africa. “Our goal at OKEx is to usher in a new era of cryptocurrency adoption in Africa, and we’ll do this by providing a level of approachability and professionalism that thus far has not been delivered in this ecosystem.”

Along with Andy Cheung, OKEx recently brought on blockchain solutions architect and fintech business developer Khaya Maloney to oversee this new market. OKEx’s next meetups in Africa will be held on September 21 in Nairobi, Kenya and September 28 in Osogbo, Nigeria. For more information, please click here

ABOUT OKEx

OKEx is a world-leading digital asset exchange headquartered in Malta, offering comprehensive digital asset trading services including fiat-to-token trading, spot trading, and derivatives trading to traders globally with blockchain technology. Currently, the exchange offers over 400 token and futures trading pairs enabling users to optimize their strategies.

Lorien Gamaroff: How Bitcoin can help fix things in Africa

“We think of ourselves as an ecosystem company,” says Lorien Gamaroff, founder and CEO of Centbee, the Johannesburg-based Bitcoin wallet business. “We’ve decided to think holistically and try to tackle the end to end journey of a user where they would actually be able to acquire Bitcoin very easily and then hold it, and then, most importantly, use it.”

Centbee’s first, and most visible product, was its wallet. Then it produced a voucher system which lets people buy Bitcoin from a network of 50,000 retail outlets across South Africa. That also allows Centbee users to issue invoices and be paid by customers who visit any of those outlets — as demonstrated in a case study they filmed. Coming next will be a cross-border remittance solution, to let people send money from one country to another faster and more cheaply than with conventional methods.

Lorien says that Centbee isn’t focused on existing Bitcoin enthusiasts, especially currency speculators, but instead, “We are very interested in trying to get the world to adopt Bitcoin.” And he predicts that more and more people will recognise the efficiency of using Bitcoin — especially its speed of transaction.

“I always feel very lucky [being born in Africa] and having this wonderful opportunity to take this novel new technology and to fix the way things are.” Lorien thinks that the success of Bitcoin in Africa will act as an example to the rest of the world, which will “take note.” In Africa “I have unique opportunity,” says Lorien, “That’s why I’m so excited about Bitcoin, and always have been.”

Being brought up in Zimbabwe, with its hyper-inflation, was “what got me thinking about money in general,” Lorien says, “where it comes from and what gives it value.” And then “this idea of Bitcoin just landed in front of me, and it seemed like such a wonderful solution for a country like Zimbabwe — the idea of a sound digital money.” In comparison to the volatility of the Zimbabwe dollar, Bitcoin’s occasional ten per cent up or down in a day is nothing, Lorien jokes.

The development of Bitcoin reminds Lorien of the early days of the Internet, when he was a computer science student. Now with Bitcoin, “We have another technology; it’s in its infancy; it’s confusing to most …if it unfolds in the same way as the Internet, then there must be the possibility that it will change the world.” In relation to Africa in particular, “I don’t know how anyone can not see the opportunity there to help a huge number of people with Bitcoin.”

Although Lorien sees opportunities for Bitcoin in situations where the local currency is unstable or untrusted, it’s not the case that Bitcoin would take an anti-government or anti-state role: for one thing, its ability to integrate taxation offers capabilities that traditional currencies can’t offer. “Taxation on Bitcoin is extremely easy. If you think about a smart contract that could pay a tax, collected directly on the transaction for that good, as a sales tax, that’s a very efficient mechanism of tax collecting.” Maybe one day, tax authorities will actually require businesses and individuals to pay tax using smart contracts, Lorien suggests.

It’s Lorien’s perspective as an African entrepreneur that gives Centbee its distinctive culture, with ambitions to build from its current staff of ten to becoming a big player in the future, combined with an awareness of a bigger social mission:

“In Africa, poverty is everywhere, it’s all around you. It’s impossible to ignore it. It makes you a lot more grateful for what you have.” Lorien hopes that Centbee will, in its own way, both change Africa and change ideas about Bitcoin: “I don’t want people to look at this as something that is only for speculating on or money-laundering. I want people to see how good it is — and that’s what’s driven me for years.”

Hear the full interview with Lorien Gamaroff on this week’s CoinGeek Conversations podcast:

You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.

Please subscribe to CoinGeek Conversations – this is episode 28 of a weekly podcast series. Just search for “CoinGeek Conversations” wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe on iTunes, listen on Spotify or visit the CoinGeek Conversations website.

Yet another Pan-African crypto launches—do we need them all?

In a continent that has one billion people, Africa has over 54 sovereign currencies. Some of these, such as the Seychellois rupee and the Gambian Dalasi are used by less than 100,000 people. The existence of the many currencies has been one of, if not the biggest, hindrance to free trade in the continent.

Then came cryptocurrencies and it looked like the people of Africa were about to solve the multi-currency challenge. With crypto, Africans could convert their fiat to digital currencies which they could then use to transact amongst themselves, whether in the local setup or for international trade.

However, even with cryptos, the same challenge has popped up again. A countless number of crypto startups have sprung up in the continent, with each promising to have better features than the rest. While this is evidence of the growing crypto momentum in the continent, it’s slowly taking the people back to the same conundrum they were in with fiat; small groups of people who all use different currencies.

Just recently, SAFCOIN, a South African cryptocurrency, launched. The crypto hails itself as a crypto by Africans, for Africa. This isn’t the first crypto startup to launch a digital currency that seeks to dominate the continent. Afri Union Coin, yet another South African crypto, launched towards the end of 2018. Kenya had NuruCoin, although it met an untimely end, scamming unsuspecting investors.

All these cryptos promised advanced features that they claimed set them apart. Some of these include fast transaction times and low transaction fees. However, these solutions already exist in the market.

Bitcoin SV offers extremely low transaction fees and settles transactions in seconds, faster than the new cryptocurrencies ever will. Most of the new pan-African cryptos also lack the ability to scale to meet the needs of their users, unlike BSV.

Granted, the crypto environment in Africa is far from ideal. However, the emergence of hundreds of cryptos isn’t the solution. It’s the crypto infrastructure that needs to be developed. The use of cryptos needs to be made simple, enabling even those living in rural areas to access and transact in cryptos.

One company that has been working on that mission is Centbee, a South African-based crypto wallet. Realizing the widespread popularity of the voucher system in the country, Centbee developed a system in which its users can purchase cryptos from all the leading retailers in the country, even in the rural areas. Many South Africans have praised this system as it has brought crypto closer to them.