Part 3: Using Bitcoin in Zimbabwe – Bitcoin in Africa: The Ubuntu Way


Topics

In the third part of the six-part series about Bitcoin in Africa you will hear from two early bitcoin adopters based in Harare. We speak about

  • the different use-cases for bitcoin,
  • how it can be exchanged to US Dollar and RTGS,
  • what the obstacles and pros are,
  • about regulation and
  • what the two online entrepreneurs want to tell people outside of Africa.

After the two interviews I will answer a listener’s question about the possibilities for rural communities to use bitcoin.

“Do you think that Bitcoin can help the communities in Zimbabwe?”
“Yes, it can, as an innovation, I think it helps the community. I think, if there is investment in Bitcoin knowledge, there is investment in awareness, there is investment in the like, free knowledge about it, then people can can really come through to invest in Bitcoin, they can come through to even use it. Bitcoin is a good thing, but there is need for us to preach the good about it.”

Full transcript on the episode page


This podcast special and my trip to Africa would not have been possible without my sponsors and supporters.
I want to thank my sponsors first: Thank you: LocalBitcoins.com a person-to-person bitcoin trading site, Peter McCormack and the whatbitcoindid podcast, Coinfinity and the Card Wallet, SHIFT Cryptosecurity, manufacturer of the hardware wallet BitBox02 and many thanks to several unknown private donors, who sent me Satoshis over the Lightning Network.

This special is edited by CoinDesk’s Podcasts Editor Adam B. Levine and published first on the CoinDesk Podcast Network. Thank you very much for supporting the Bitcoin in Africa series with your work.

Thanks goes also out to stakwork.com – stakwork is a great project that brings bitcoin into the world through earning. One can do microjobs on stakwork, earning Satoshis and cash them out without even having an understanding about the lightning network or bitcoin. I think we need more projects like that to spread the usage of bitcoin around the world.

Thank you also to GoTenna, for donating several GoTenna devices to set up a mesh network in Zimbabwe and to Team Satoshi, the decentralized sports team for supporting my work.

This special is also brought to you by the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network.

Sponsors

Supporters


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TRANSCRIPT

Hello again my dear listener, whether you are a regular subscriber of my show or a new listener, it does not matter, I am glad that you are here. If you are new, please take some seconds of your time to subscribe to the Bitcoin & Co. podcast on your podcast player now. If you are a fan already please consider writing a recommendation on Apple or Google podcast or wherever you’re listening to help other people to find my show.

In the first and second part of this six-part series you heard about the difficult living situation, the hyper-inflation and about the multi-currency world that Zimbabweans have to live with since many years. In this – the third part – you will hear from two early bitcoin adopters based in Harare. We speak about the different usecases for bitcoin, how it can be exchanged to US Dollar and RTGS, what the obstacles and pros are, about regulation and what the two online entrepreneurs want to tell people outside of Africa.

After the interviews I will answer a listener’s question about the possibilities for rural communities to use bitcoin. If you, too have a question, feel free to visit the episode page at https://bitcoinundco.com/en/africa3 – there you will find an audio recorder to record your question.

Internet Marketer and Trader
“I am an internet marketer. I’m also an online entrepreneur. So I do affiliate marketing, as well I do trade Bitcoin, as all trade other currencies. So I’m also formally employed but for now, I enjoy doing online business that is trading Bitcoin as well as other currencies.”

Anita Posch
“How did you start that business? I mean, have you been in school and studied that or did you learn everything by yourself?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“No, I learned everything by myself just from peers. I think back in 2015 when there were Bitcoin hypes mainly in Zimbabwe, currently in Zimbabwe at that time, we could trade using USD. So that’s when I got to know about Bitcoin, but it was not educational. It was not formally education. Yeah. “

Anita Posch
“Somebody told you about Bitcoin or did you research it by yourself and find it? ”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Actually, there was somebody who told me about it. Then I went on and research more about it. And how what is it, how it was started, the history of Bitcoin, the history of crypto currencies and so on.”

Anita Posch
“Yes. Okay. And when did you start trading with Bitcoin?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“I can say I started trading big in 2016/17. That’s when I started trading, like online trading.”

Anita Posch
“Do you have platforms here in Zimbabwe to do that? Or do you do this on other platforms?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“No, not in Zimbabwe? Yes, there was one company in Zimbabwe that whereby you can withdraw USD when you have Bitcoin, but it wasn’t supported. It’s not like there was support like government support or there was no support. So they come and closed because of other things. Mainly regulation.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah. But how do you do it then?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Okay. In Zimbabwe like we do have peers down in South Africa, in the UK in every in every way. So how it said Bitcoin is when you do have Bitcoin say in your BTC wallet you can then give somebody who wants to trade in Bitcoin we exchange like peer to peer you send to each other then the person can give you hard currency.”

Anita Posch
“Okay, so you know these people already or do you find them on platforms like LocalBitcoins.com or other platforms?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Mainly I started knowing those people through hypes if you know what I’m talking about, you know, those network marketing companies that said you can donate Bitcoin then you can receive Bitcoin so many people so so many things, but then we we met under bad circumstances with Bitcoin, where people can actually their Bitcoin can get stolen. After you you, you’re given promises that you’re going to get something if you donate, say $10 worth of Bitcoin you’re going to get $100 more so usually after something bad happens mostly in Zimbabwe that’s how people get to know about Bitcoin, ah this Bitcoin is bad this one this one, but no, then I started researching more about it, now we know people are genuine who said between genuinely only because there are no companies actually that’s really trade Bitcoin in Zimbabwe. Yes they was but they are not open enough to trade Bitcoin openly because there’s no regulation around that. That’s that cryptocurrency issue. So that’s how we know it in so many groups now on WhatsApp in Telegram also on Facebook. Yeah, Bitcoin groups, whereby people now know this is a bad company, this is a good company where you can join Bitcoin.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah. Okay and if people here would like to get Bitcoin how to the proceed? I mean, can they earn it in a way or do they buy it for RTGS? How is this working?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Okay, let me say in Zimbabwe when you want to trade Bitcoin into RTGS that’s actually we do it the longer way. As traders what we do is we I do have Bitcoin in my wallet besides the Peer-to-Peer I take the Bitcoin to my Skrill account. Then if you put into Skrill then you can take it to your FCA account, which is a USD funded account. So it’s actually a longer process for us to then access the RTGS, you understand? Yeah, so we prefer peer to peer. Here in Zimbabwe it is actually easier and no charges, because the longer route when you get your money into the bank, then the bank charges are exorbitant. Yeah. No one would like that and you get your Bitcoin also in RTGS, you will not withdraw in resistance. So there is so much regulation. Yes, there’s so much regulation and around that withdrawal of in Bitcoin Zimbabwe. So we prefer peer to peer.”

Anita Posch
“Which other use cases do you see for Bitcoin here in Zimbabwe besides trading?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“I think it’s easier because in Zimbabwe you know, we do have a currency issue. We are a multi currency economy. So I think if we introduce Bitcoin, the easier the easier for everyone because you can trade in a currency that in Bitcoin, which is a cryptocurrency that you know, it’s, it’s something solid. Yeah, so I think it’s through ease of doing business.”

Anita Posch
“Do you think that people know already that Bitcoin is more solid than maybe their own currency here?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“For some of us, we’ve really researched about it. We know even the volatility around Bitcoin. We have been there we know just like any other currency in the world, that Bitcoin can go up and go down. So we are not afraid. We’re not afraid to trade in Bitcoin you’re not afraid to actually buy in Bitcoin. There was another time that I was in South Africa, I actually used my you know, there was a company that I joined like a multi level marketing company IML, which teaches you how to trade, they will give you a card a bitcoin card, you apply for the card, actually, then you can actually swipe using the card. So, we can also do that in Zimbabwe. I think it will, the ease of doing business also it can solve the cash shortages, and the much needed foreign currency can come also to Zimbabwe. Yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Okay. And how do you see the future here in Zimbabwe for Bitcoin?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“What I think is Africa is the future. So, we are still a …land when it comes to innovations, new innovations like Bitcoin, we have to actually there is room for growth, there is room for growth. I would not lie because I would like to say maybe 75% of the adult population they don’t know about it. So if people get to know about it, get awareness about it. I think it’s actually a huge market.”

Anita Posch
“But I think not many people can afford the internet here. So that might be a problem or because I think having a phone or having a mobile plan is very expensive for the big part of the people here because they are unemployed and they live day by day.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yeah. Most people is just the economic situation. But there were times like back in 2014/15. Things were actually better. It’s actually a phase which we believe is in Zimbabwe, we believe things are going to be okay. It’s only an economic situation in Zimbabwe, that is, everything is actually expensive. Besides internet, food is expensive, everything is expensive at the moment, but we believe probably if the right decisions are made, then I believe Zimbabwe can go far. Yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Do you follow technical advancements in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, or are you a user mainly?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, I tried to follow but nowadays I’ve decided to stay, let me stay in one lane, because there were so many bitcoins coming. There were a lot even in Zimbabwe, there was Zimbocoin, if you have heard about it, there is this Zimbocoin. So there were so many cryptocurrencies I’ve been following people who brought so many other cryptocurrencies but I decided no, let me stay in one lane, because like I told you the bad how I got to know Bitcoin, most people in Zimbabwe they got to know through bad experiences. Well then people went to the newspaper and said I lost money in Bitcoin. So it was mostly bad publicity about Bitcoin but that’s why I said, I follow the news. Yes, this developing, it is going up, it is going down, also Litecoin there is many Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies that are coming. But let me say I decided to just follow one path.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah. So you’re interested in other cryptocurrencies but as I understand it, you have your trust more in Bitcoin BTC than in any other.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Also Litecoin and I also tried Zimbocoin you know, the local one.”

Anita Posch
“Okay and what happened with Zimbocoin?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“They are still crowdfunding.”

Anita Posch
“I mean I always see the problem with these new coins or tokens is that you have a leader then you have a company you have a group of people who is behind it. Yeah, you don’t have that with Bitcoin You know, it was like a genius, immaculate birth.You know, and nobody can get hold of anyone and use those coins. I mean, it can’t be seized, it can’t be frozen. I mean, the company can..”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“..close Yeah. Yeah, these traces, you can trace somebody, if you lose money you can trace it down to someone. But with Bitcoin that wasn’t we believed it was a belief that Satoshi brought a Bitcoin. But it’s one a belief we didn’t know. You know, we couldn’t even trace it back to him, you know? Yeah. So it was just a belief in everything yeah.”

Anita Posch
“And we all don’t know who the founder of Bitcoin is.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes. It’s a belief. Yeah, yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Do you think that if the bitcoin price is rising again, then the hype comes, that there will be another bunch of new people coming into bitcoin also in Zimbabwe?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“I think so. In Zimbabwe, oh, let me say we take risks. Yeah, we take a lot of risk. So we jump into anything especially the internet, the online entrapreneurs in Zimbabwe, I’ve been in so many groups of in online entrapreneurs they, they follow each and every hype especially if somebody says this is working and your mentor probably says this is working, you jump in and then if it fails, it fails. You know, because we have first a lot of losses, a lot of sad insurance losses so much that we take any risk now. Yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Talking of risks, I mean, everybody knows not your keys, not your coins. You should hold your own private keys for your Bitcoin. Do you have something like hardware wallets here in this country? Can you buy hardware wallets here?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Not that I know of. Hardware no. So somebody tried it here in Zimbabwe but I think it died a natural death, it wasn’t successful, we do not ..have you said hardware? Not in Zimbabwe. Not that I know of.”

Anita Posch
“So you basically use your computer or your smartphone for a while, actually.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yeah, exactly.”

Anita Posch
“You know, a lot of online entrepreneurs, internet entrepreneurs. Yes. And are there also a lot of developers here? People who are doing programming and stuff?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, yes, yes, there are. People that web development. Like languages, like programming languages? Yeah. There are a lot of them actually have universities and colleges that teach all of that.”

Anita Posch
“Do they work internationally like living here and work for companies abroad?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, most people usually relocate, but there are. They are online entrapreneurs that I know, say we do have a common website Afriblocks, if you have heard about it. It’s actually an innovation, whereby I think it’s solves a unemployment issue in Zimbabwe, whereby web developers, people with so many skills, web designers, graphic designers, also writers, they have so much skill here but these high unemployment rates, so it’s actually solving that issue. So I know a lot on that platform actually. Particularly on that platform. We do have a group of people who have done so many jobs outside internationally, but they are here in Zimbabwe.”

Anita Posch
“And do you know how they get paid? Do you think they use Bitcoin?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes. Actually, I did a job I think two twice or three times I was paid through Bitcoin. Yeah, it’s easier, there are no charges whatsoever. Just receive your Bitcoin. That’s it, and you withdraw using the methods that I told you like Peer to Peer.”

Anita Posch
“Sounds very easy, actually.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes. Actually easy. Very.”

Anita Posch
“Because I think many people have like a problem to touch it because they think it’s difficult or they cannot imagine that it’s only a virtual thing. You know, many people want to have a paper note.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Exactly they are used to the old times. Yeah, yeah. This 21st century we have drones now. So the old times the old times are gone.”

Anita Posch
“Do people ask you, how do you use Bitcoin? Can I do it too?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, my friends actually, my friends. This how exactly what is it, I don’t understand most of the times I send them information. I send them PDFs to read. They don’t read at their own risk. So when initially they ask me what is this Bitcoin and I send them information.”

Anita Posch
“Can you send them videos too? Or are the internet connections so bad that they can’t view YouTube videos for instance?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yeah, for YouTube. Most people they don’t use YouTube because of how expensive internet is. But fortunately for me, I do have access to cheap data, actually free data. So I get to do a lot of things I get to discover a lot of things.”

Anita Posch
“What would be better ways for people here to produce educational material for them? Because in, in Europe and in the US, everybody has YouTube, you know, because there’s no such thing as a problem with internet connection. Okay of the times. Okay, and what would be form of learning material for people here that would be easy consumable to because you’re just as if I understood you said you sent them PDFs but they don’t read them or do they?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Maybe they just do not one but maybe the easier form to send information in Zimbabwe usually most people use whatsapp and Facebook if you post a video on Facebook probably five minute video people they look into that so it should be short short videos first use Facebook or WhatsApp also yeah what’s up people they do use WhatsApp.”

Anita Posch
“Do people here also use Twitter?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, they do. But here in Twitter they say it’s for the nerds for like the upmarkets. Twitter they say, is not like for everyone. Not everyone is on Twitter.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah, I understand what you mean. It’s the same in Austria. Not everybody’s on Twitter. And what would you say? Should foreign people like me or companies do differently in Africa or what could we learn from you?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Okay. As Africa I think we as a developing continent, there are a lot of things that are in the developed countries that are not here. So I can say for Zimbabwe culturally people are willing to learn. Most people here they believe in. They believe in good things. They have hope. So I think in Africa and they are hardworking, so much that if you bring something innovating something good that can solve unemployment, youth problems, energy problems. I think in Africa you can learn the goodness of the heart of the people of Africa. That’s number one, that I guarantee them. Yes, the case there are instances that prove otherwise. But generally, people from Africa are hardworking, and they believe in innovations, the usually hope for the best things to happen here in Africa. So, I think if there are innovations that can solve money problems, because in Zimbabwe it has been about money. It has been about currency through the past decade, it has been about we do not have a Zimbabwean dollar. We’ve gone through so many currencies are the only nation that is used billions as a nation. So, cryptocurrencies coming to Zimbabwe, I think it’s an innovation that can really change a lot, but how you’re going to learn from us? Maybe you have just to see.”

Anita Posch
“Do you think that Bitcoin can help communities here?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, it can, it has the success of an innovation, I think it helps the community. I think if Bitcoin there is investment in knowledge, there is investment in awareness, there is investment in the like, free knowledge about it, then people can can really come come through to invest in Bitcoin they can come through to even use it. Bitcoin is a good thing but there is need for us to preach the good about it.”

Anita Posch
“What I hear is it would be great or it could be a possibility to support African nations, African people in education about cryptocurrencies.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Exactly, so like how to mine. We know there is mining but I do not know exactly”

Anita Posch
“Does anybody mine here?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“No. Electricity is expensive, we are not able to do that for now.”

Anita Posch
“I also always think that countries like Zimbabwe are a much better place for Bitcoin usage because you have that bad money.”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Yes, we do have a currency problem. It’s been more than a decade actually with the currency problem. So it’s a multi currency system, which we can as well introduce the Bitcoin.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah. But do you think that government will regulate that like forbid it or regulate it down? Like they did with with this one platform?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“I think the government it’s only let me say from my observation is the government only deal with reviews? If people come with complaints and if they are good reviews about it. You see, it’s helping us to do this is helping us to do that. I would like to think the government would have no obligation to stop it. If there are good reviews about it, if it’s actually helping the communities if it’s actually helping, probably university students is I think the government would have no obligation to stop such an innovation.”

Anita Posch
“Is there anything you want to say to us other people – like not from Africa people?”

Internet Marketer and Trader
“Let me say Africa is the future. That’s my go to points. But because what I can say is there is a lot that needs to be happening in Africa. There is a lot of development, whether in the health system, in the energy sector, in the money sector, the economic sector, there are a lot of things that are yet to happen. So what I can say is, if there are investors out there Africa is the place to be, if they are architects, Africa is the place to be right now, because if you have seen our roads, if you have seen our buildings, they still a lot that needs to be happen, still a lot that needs to happen here in Africa. So, we as Africans, we are looking into the European countries, but mainly to acquire the knowledge because we need to do that in Africa only we do not have the capacity to do that we do not have the money to do that. We do not have probably the most knowledge that we may need to to achieve certain things. Also is Africa I say I think the people here there is some willingness here that I’ve seen. I’ve been in other African countries, South Africa, Uganda, these Kenya, there are countries that are developing. But if there is more investment in Africa, I think Africa is would be a say to be a better place than it is now. Because there is room for improvement. There is a lot that can happen here. So, look, look, Africa it’s where the future is. Africa is the place to be!”

Anita Posch
“Yeah, thank you for this. That’s a nice ending. Thank you very much for your time and bye bye.”


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Anita Posch
“And how did you get into bitcoin or how did you find Bitcoin?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Well, you know, when I actually started, I started somewhere in 2011 and it all started with questions. You know, you just wonder how do people generate income online and then I’ve spent a lot of time doing a lot of research and a little failing as well. And a little bit of making money in the process and some was somehow I came across Bitcoin because one of the companies that I was actually doing affiliate marketing for, they wanted to send me my money through Bitcoin. So the other methods were not really working so that’s when I developed interest in using between that’s how I found about Bitcoin.”

Anita Posch
“Okay, so maybe you can explain when you earn in Bitcoin, do you use Bitcoin then here for daily stuff? Or do you have to exchange it into Zimbabwean dollar or US dollar? How do you do that?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay, so if I earn Bitcoin say I promote something on the internet, I get paid in Bitcoin, I cannot walk into a shop or any company to buy using bitcoins, because a few companies here actually accept Bitcoin – if none, maybe zero companies actually accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. So what I then do is I go to some websites, I look for someone who needs Bitcoin, and they send me the US dollars. That’s what I do.”

Anita Posch
“Okay, so these websites are exchanges then? Yes. Like, which ones are available here in Zimbabwe?”

Online Entrepreneur
“The ones that are available in Zimbabwe is LocalBitcoins. You can actually use that one to exchange Bitcoin for cash and there is another one which is called AirTM. I also go there and say, hey, I’ve got bitcoins, can you send me some money so this is like a marketplace for people when it’s between those people.”

Anita Posch
“It’s from people to people to peer.”

Online Entrepreneur
“Yes, peer to peer, peer to peer.”

Anita Posch
“And do you have the feeling that there are other like colleagues, a few other entrepreneurs who
do that the same way? ”

Online Entrepreneur
“Yes. So the thing is, I can safely say that I’m the one of the early adopters in terms of using Bitcoin in Zimbabwe. And since I started using between some few years back, comparing that to now, I realized that there is more and more people that are looking for information about Bitcoin in Zimbabwe, that are starting to use Bitcoin that are starting to appreciate Bitcoin so the numbers are actually growing and looking the years to come, the numbers actually going to expand. Yeah.”

Anita Posch
“What are the problems for people here when they want to use Bitcoin?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay, there’s quite a number of problems when it comes to using Bitcoin and I’ll just mention a few. One of them is awareness. Like are people well educated about what Bitcoin is and how it works, because the moment someone has Bitcoin and internet money, and then they put equals scam, okay? They think of losing money and stuff like that. That’s how most people relate between to, but Bitcoin is beyond that. So one thing that is I see people lack is awareness education, what is Bitcoin? How it works? Where did it come from, and stuff like that?”

Anita Posch
“And what’s the difference to other forms of cryptocurrencies or maybe to Facebook pay?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay. So, um, I would say that most African countries we are still developing in terms of understanding how the internet works and all that. So right now we’re actually living in an era whereby some of our African nations of some of our African people, they don’t even use the credit cards, they don’t even use Facebook pay, they don’t even use PayPal. Okay. Okay. And there is this thing again, that is called Bitcoin on top of what they don’t know, that they’re supposed to use. So there is a little bit of a gap in terms of knowledge. Some people use Visa cards, yes, for those that use Visa cards and Paypal mostly they understand they are quick to understand what Bitcoin is, is all about.”

Anita Posch
“What do you think are the use cases for Bitcoin here in Africa, or in Zimbabwe?”

Online Entrepreneur
“If I foresee, if I can walk into the future. I see a lot of people actually taking the Bitcoin method it’s because of number one, our inflation rate. Okay, so what I mean is normally human beings they are good at defense mechanism. Like if I take a knife and cut your hand, you’d want to grab a cloth and try and cover that so that you heal fast so if people get to a place whereby they are they’re not comfortable, they try and look for solutions, okay. So, with our inflation rate, some of the people can actually use Bitcoin as a method to save money like okay, if I have my hundred dollars, instead of keeping it in the bank, I’d rather keep it in the Bitcoin value. I see people doing that. I also see people using Bitcoin in terms of international, international easy money at freedom in terms of you know, the world is going digital. There’s sometimes where you do work and you want to get paid your money and maybe the easiest way would be Bitcoin. So I see a lot of people using Bitcoin in the future.”

Anita Posch
“Are there a lot of other cryptocurrencies around that are use here?”

Online Entrepreneur
“The most common one is Bitcoin…”

Anita Posch
“..and you mean BTC because we also have other bitcoins, we have Bitcoin cash we have Bitcoin SV, but you mean Bitcoin?”

Online Entrepreneur
“BTC Yes, BTC the other currencies, though people use them, but not that much. But it’s, it’s, it’s BTC? Yeah, yes. Yes.”

Anita Posch
“Okay. And today when we think of the usage todayI have heard that there was an exchange here, colleagues, and it has been shot Down by the government because of regulation, how is regulation here in Zimbabwe towards Bitcoin?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay, you know, the thing is my feeling about that I’m just going to share my, my personal feelings in terms of in terms of that case. Number one, I used to use Golix. Okay. And when government gave an announcement, I actually read their announcement in terms of what they’re, what they’re doing some work and so on both sides. And see. That’s my analysis. Golix was a good initiative. Okay. Golix was a good initiative initiative. But let’s look at the people that are using Bitcoin without the knowledge of how Bitcoin works. Okay. So during that time, there was a lot of activities, online scams that were happening in Zimbabwe. Okay, part of the people that used Bitcoin in Zimbabwe, they used them in online schemes, online investment programs. So some of the investment programs don’t end well. Okay. So on if you think he wants to invest in a certain business for some daily returns weekly returns or monthly returns, and the investment is asking for Bitcoin. And I searched on the internet and look for users between Zimbabwe I find out this Golix, I buy my Bitcoin I do my investment. And then I lose my money in Bitcoin, the next thing that I do is I go to the police and report my case that hey, I am actually I’ve actually lost my money and the police would question: How did that happen? And the police I would say that it happened through Bitcoin. And just because the Bitcoin transaction is – the true identity is not traceable. Now, getting into the shoes of the government handling those issues every day. Like a lot of people losing Bitcoin, that person loses Bitcoin, that person loses his Bitcoin at the end of the day, the government is there to protect his people. So only think of a lot of cases that are reported of people who lost money in Bitcoin and the government cannot protect you for the money that you have actually lost. So that’s when the government issued a statement that if you want to participate in Bitcoin, if my memory serves me, well, the statement says that if you want to participate in cryptocurrency, just know that you’re doing it at your own risk. If you lose money, then it’s up to you. So the government issued the statement, and then that actually affected the operations of, of Golix. That’s how I can actually comment on that case.”

Anita Posch
“So you don’t think that is It’s about government control that they don’t want people to send Bitcoin or money from here to other countries well, or into bitcoin.”

Online Entrepreneur
“Well, I wouldn’t no, because at the end of the day, if you look at the features of Bitcoin, no one can really stop anyone to use to use Bitcoin. Okay, so our, you know, their reason what was their motive? But in my case, like I’ve explained, at the same time, there are people in Zimbabwe that are losing Bitcoin through Bitcoin investments. So at times I cannot answer for the government. Yeah. What why they, they they made that decision, but my feeling is that Yeah, they can be a lot of cases to answer in terms of people that have been scammed through Bitcoin. Yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Yeah. Or through other people who used Bitcoin for this scam.”

Online Entrepreneur
“I created a Bitcoin course that explains the between basics for our people so that they understand in our own language.What I mean by that is okay. When you search for information on the internet, if you’re searching from Zimbabwe, you set out to use Bitcoin so you get a lot of results. Like you get someone who is in America explaining what Bitcoin is, and someone in Zimbabwe, explaining what Bitcoin is, just because someone is searching in Zimbabwe, they would prefer to hear the person who’s in Zimbabwe what they say about about Bitcoin. So when I’m seeing about in my language, I’m just saying getting people to understand Bitcoin from a Zimbabwean perspective.”

Anita Posch
“What’s the difference in the Zimbabwean perspective to our, or the Western world? What would you say? What is the cultural difference?”

Online Entrepreneur
“There is no cultural difference because the lessons are conducted in English so everyone will understand. Yeah, but there are some use cases that you learn from the Western world that don’t apply here.”

Anita Posch
“Okay, and which is which ones are that”

Online Entrepreneur
“If you want to buy bitcoin with a credit card, it’s almost impossible to do that in Zimbabwe. So you can listen to a western video saying, hey, if you wanna buy bitcoin, go to this website, use your PayPal account, use your credit card, use a Visa card, and stuff like that. But when you come to do that in Zimbabwe, it won’t work. It won’t work that way. So that’s what I mean. So I’ll be explaining what works in Zimbabwe other methods of doing stuff. Yes. Other methods of doing stuff in Zimbabwe. Yeah, that’s what I explained.”

Anita Posch
“So what’s the recommended way to get to have Bitcoin here in Zimbabwe?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Well people they have good different ways to get Bitcoin. I noticed to some certain extent, I just don’t know everything and I just don’t know what everyone is doing to get Bitcoin but there are people that are doing online forex trading. Those people they’ve got access to Bitcoin. There are people that are doing anything to do with online stuff. They can actually get paid their money in, in Bitcoin. And other people are investing are doing online investments and people do quite different things. Like in my case, I do some sort of work online my affiliate marketing that I do I just prefer to get paid in Bitcoin. That’s what I do is that it’s it It may be different from someone else. Myself, I do affiliate marketing others, I really don’t know what they do to get Bitcoins. Yeah, yeah.”

Anita Posch
“Other any things that are missing here that we we and I mean, the Western world in that way could support you like that more people might use Bitcoin, maybe you are more people are educated, or what do you think is needed, that people not only feel the pain, but maybe also proactively realize, okay, there’s something I can use it.”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay. So, what I’ve seen, what I’ve seen the Western world doing, I’ve seen the western world expanding their businesses into other countries into different countries using Bitcoin because in countries where there are cash restrictions, they can actually expand they’ve been expanding their business and accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. So what it simply means is, let’s say I need this service from another country, I can pay that service with Bitcoin. The point is a business can actually be set up and accept Bitcoin as a form of payment..”

Anita Posch
“Is there anything that you would like to tell people in other parts of the world about Bitcoin or about anything? Yeah. What do you want to tell people?”

Online Entrepreneur
“Okay, basically, I have good two messages maybe to our people in African nations, but Bitcoin comes with great rewards and it comes with a huge risk at the same time and you should understand them and be prepared for them. Okay? What I mean is, someone can actually buy bitcoin to hold and they’re just hoping for it to keep on increasing, but one of these days it loses value and that’s a risk that you have actually taken. And you can buy bitcoin today and tomorrow, the value goes up. That’s a reward that you’ve actually gotten. So you should be ready for both the risk in the reward and you should actually understand them. And another thing that I would say is before you use Bitcoin make sure you educate yourself with the basic knowledge of how Bitcoin works before you start doing anything with regards to the Bitcoin. And then to the Western world: My message is, well, people need awareness and understanding of what Bitcoin is, so that they start appreciating it. I would say that’s it.”

Anita Posch
“Okay, great. Thank you very much.”


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So now you have heard from two bitcoin pioneers in Zimbabwe – I am going to answer a question from a listener of my podcast:

“Hello Anita, I wanted to ask a very basic question. I’ve only just stumbled upon your visit to Bitcoin, your Bitcoin experience in Zimbabwe, in Harare, and Botswana. Now, I just wondered if you could please just help me to understand how this can be applied in a very basic, basic fashion in a rural area where there is difficulty getting commodities, but there are a lot of industrious people in the sense of farming. How can this Bitcoin be of a unifying monetary system for everyday use. Please can you respond to that? Thank you.”

Anita Posch
“Hello, thanks for your thoughtful question. Yes, I can see some use cases of bitcoin for communities in rural places, too.

For instance you can use it as a store of value
Although I understand that it might be difficult to save, when people need all the income they have for food and basic things, the community could save money for the longer term with it. You do not have to buy a whole bitcoin to save it, you can start with a fraction of a bitcoin. If your local currency is more volatile than bitcoin or is in inflationary mode, then this could be an idea to save your money in the long-term.

Another use case is sending money inside and outside of the country – to buy machines or for remittances. Bitcoin is a global money, there are no borders or restrictions for sending or receiving it. If the community needs new machines or a borehole, then it is possible to pay for that abroad with bitcoin. If the community wants to sell it’s products, it can receive bitcoin, too. There is no bank approval needed, you’ll have less transaction costs and the payment is settled much faster than in the traditional banking system.

You could use bitcoin inside the community as a medium of exchange. Or you change it to USD, or to airtime for your phone with a service like Bitrefill or you exchange directly to local currency with another person over a platform called LocalBitcoins.com. As I assume that people in rural communities currently exchange money like USD, Rand or Pula to local currencies, too I am sure people will find a way to exchange bitcoin as well.

The basic things you need for a start:

  • An internet connection to install the wallet and for the moment in which you want to send bitcoin and for a short moment to see if you have received bitcoin.
  • Install a bitcoin wallet like the Blockstream green wallet on a mobile phone. https://blockstream.com/green/
  • Write down the password for the wallet on a piece of paper. It’s 12 or 24 english words (called “seed” or “backup”, you’ll get that inside the wallet software).
  • Write down the words in the given order
  • Store this paper safely! Do not cut it in pieces and store the pieces in separate places. You then have more places to look after and to secure.
  • The person who knows the seed can access the funds. That is why it is so important to store it safely and with a person in the community that you fully trust.
  • There are ways to secure funds to be administered for more than one person at the same time, called multisignature. But I would recommend that for experienced users only.

You are ready to go. For receiving your first bitcoin you’ll send someone your bitcoin address. You can find that inside your bitcoin wallet. The other person uses it to send bitcoin to you. That’s it. It works the same way round. If you have funds in your bitcoin wallet, you only need the bitcoin address of the receiver and can send the money.”

I hope my answer is helpful for you. You can ask me anything you want on the episode page at https://bitcoinundco.com/en/africa3 and I will answer in the next episodes.

In the next episode you will hear the complete interview I did with the teacher from Harare. You have heard her already in part 1 and 2. We will talk about how bitcoin could be adopted in Zimbabwe and what else is needed to make Zimbabwe rise and shine again.

If you like my show please subscribe to it in your podcast player and share the episode on social media.

If you are a german speaker and want to start using bitcoin, then I recommend my book to you – it gives you a comprehensive jump start into becoming a bitcoin user, with recommendations and safety tips. You can buy it on Amazon or if you prefer to pay with bitcoin and lightning drop me a message at hello (at) anitaposch.com.

I am currently looking for new sponsors, so pls feel free to send me a message, too.

For new updates and education regarding the use of bitcoin please follow me on Twitter @anitaposch and subscribe to my newsletter.

Thanks for listening.

Credits:
Idea, content and production: Anita Posch
Edited by CoinDesk’s Podcasts Editor: Adam B. Levine
Music: “Start with yes” by Delicate beats

Other relevant episodes

Part 1 Zimbabwe: Ideal Conditions for Bitcoin?
Part 2 Zimbabwe: Living in a Multi-Currency World
Part 3 Using Bitcoin in Zimbabwe
Part 4 If Bitcoin Works in Zimbabwe, It Works Everywhere
Part 5 Afriblocks a Pan-African Network for Remote Jobs & Answering Questions

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