SatoshiCentre in Botswana has been a Bitcoin educator and FinTech incubator since 2014, and is driving innovation in one of Africa’s most prospering crypto country.
Bitcoin Awareness In Botswana
SatoshiCentre was the brainchild of ‘Bitcoin Lady’, Alakanani Itireleng, a tireless champion of Bitcoin and regular keynote speaker. Her initial intent was to create a platform to increase awareness of Bitcoin and blockchain technology in Botswana and Africa. This was at a time when cryptocurrency was still very much a tiny niche counterculture in more developed nations.
Since then, it has expanded to provide services as an incubator for startups and entrepreneurs who want to use blockchain to address Africa’s diverse challenges. Through mentorships, training and meet-ups, the centre aims to “build a community of adopters, users, thinkers and coders in Botswana.”
In June 2018, SatoshiCentre was one of the founding members of the Botswana Blockchain Association, which is itself part of the Africa Blockchain Alliance.
Africa Is A Perfect Fit For Bitcoin
Africa would seem well placed to take advantage of the benefits that Bitcoin has to offer. One of the big reasons for this is the accepted practice of transferring money via smartphone apps. While western cultures must adapt from traditional methods of bank transfer, African nations are already comfortable with such systems.
This is, in part, due to the traditional banking structure in many African nations, which leaves many unbanked. As SatoshiCentre say:
Bitcoin is permissionless, so, unlike the legacy financial and monetary systems, all of Botswana [and Africa] is free to join.
Bitcoin also enables better remittance payment systems, and could help to reduce criminal activity and corruption, which is rife in some African nations.
Botswana is a Safe Haven for Innovation
Fortunately, corruption is not a big problem in Botswana as it is one of Africa’s most stable nations. It boasts the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy, and has a good human-rights record.
Without the concerns of many of its neighbours, the startups here can focus on innovation in entirely new areas, and SatoshiCentre provides a forum to encourage this. They are also not hampered by onerous regulations; the central bank has stated that it currently has no intention of regulating or studying cryptocurrencies.
One thing that Botswana doesn’t have is its own cryptocurrency exchange. Locals tend to use WhatsApp or Facebook groups, or have to use South African exchanges.
Whilst Botswana mat not have the sizeable Bitcoin communities of Kenya, Nigeria, or South Africa, it has a growing scene working on local solutions and spreading awareness.
Will Botswana become the African hub of blockchain innovation? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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