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Meet Africa’s Blockchain Startups: BitMari

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BitMari App

BitMari is a bitcoin wallet provider and remittance service that seeks to deploy bitcoin technology to drive financial inclusion in Zimbabwe through diaspora remittances. The company aims to assist individuals and businesses in utilising bitcoin for financial transactions and international money transfers.

Bitcoin-powered Remittance Service

BitMari LogoBitMari was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Sinclair Skinner and Christopher Mapondera. While doing business in Zimbabwe, the two were constantly faced with the challenge of sending money internationally. The process was time-consuming and costly. Drawing from their technical background, BitMari was conceived to bring more control to ordinary Zimbabweans when it came to sending money overseas and vice-versa.

“Our goal with BitMari is not to just ease the pain of financial dependence and economic uncertainty, we wish to bring an end to that pain by offering more monetary control to the people,” says Mapondera in an EBONY.com article.

By signing up for an account or using the BitMari app, you can send money in the form of bitcoin to a recipient in Zimbabwe. The money can be accessed through a mobile wallet or at any local financial institution that partners with BitMari. The app also acts as a bitcoin wallet that handles your transactions and currency conversion requirements. The company’s value proposition lies in its ability to have low remittance fees compared to other money transfer services.

According to COINFOX, the company plans to expand into regional markets in the future. Skinner said,

“Zimbabwe was selected because of its high literacy rate, high cell phone penetration, high mobile banking usage and most importantly willingness to adopt new economic systems… A 10-year-old child in Zimbabwe knows more about FOREX than most adults in Europe and U.S.”

Blockchain-based Accelerator Program for Women Farmers

In its bid to increase the popularity of bitcoin in the region, the startup partnered with the Zimbabwe Bank of Agriculture in carrying out a women farmers accelerator program. The program seeks to give women farmers a jumpstart in agriculture, by raising funds through its crowdfunding campaign to equip them with farming inputs and tools. The program will help a group of 100 farmers to develop their skills as well as utilise blockchain technology to improve farming processes and have access to financing.

The startup managed to raise $17,000 from its crowdfunding effort by November 2016 for the program. Successful farmers will be linked to international investors through smart contracts.  In addition to its philanthropic efforts in the farming sector, the company also aims to tap into agricultural remittances in the region and applied for a remittance license from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe earlier in the year.

With Diaspora remittances making the bulk of money transfers in the region, BitMari is zeroing in on a somewhat stable market. The challenge the company faces is cultivating trust for digital currencies, especially when competing against more traditional money transfer services like WorldRemit, which is popular in Zimbabwe.

BitMari is developing partnerships with local institutions to strengthen its remittance network. Also, having a bitcoin wallet that is secure and easy to navigate helps to gain users who are used to the convenience of mobile money platforms. For Zimbabweans living in a world of volatile exchange rate fluctuations and financial uncertainty, digital currency might just be the option they need.

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Can Bitcoin QR Codes Provide Artists With A New Revenue Stream?

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Bitcoin allows everyone in the world with an Internet connection to send and receive payments without the need for a financial institution as an intermediary. This also enables anyone to be rewarded for their product, service or even artwork by simply providing a bitcoin address for payments.

Pascal Boyart, a French street artist, is using quick response (QR) codes to help Kickstart his street art career with bitcoin donations. He recently gained the attention of the bitcoin community when one of his murals became a trending topic on the Bitcoin subreddit. Boyart has already received over 0.11 bitcoin, which translates to roughly $1,000.

A self-described cryptocurrency enthusiast, Boyart believes that there are many benefits for the creative industry from decentralisation. According to a report by The Next Web, rather than displaying art in galleries and going through dealers, the bitcoin QR code is part of a movement by artists who want to gain more independence. Boyart also explores the themes that relate to crypto and decentralisation in his work. The artwork that made Boyart popular on Reddit was a mural painting of Rembrandt, the famous Dutch painter.

Bitcoin QR Codes

Bitcoin QR CodesWhen using bitcoin to pay at point-of-sale or face-to-face, users generally scan QR codes to make the payment instead of typing in lengthy bitcoin wallet addresses. A QR code can easily represent the amount of data required in a machine-readable manner for a bitcoin payment to be processed.

Independent artists often struggle financially, which is why new forms of monetisation, such as Patreon or integrating cryptocurrency QR codes into their work, provide excellent alternatives that could lead to artists being able to live solely off their art.

Boyart managed to earn revenue from his murals without needing an exhibition in a gallery simply by attaching bitcoin QR codes to his work. This shows that as a decentralised peer-to-peer payment platform, bitcoin presents all creatives, whether they are authors, artists, musicians or photographers, with a new potential monetisation avenue as they can sell their work directly to fans worldwide.

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Gxbot24 Launches New Digital Asset Exchange in South Africa

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Gxbot24

Gxbot24 has launched a new digital asset exchange in South Africa which will enable customers to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG) at very competitive fees.

The exchange UI is designed in a simple way and it only takes a novice user a few minutes to register and start trading. Advanced charting tools like MACD, MA, EMA will be available which is over and above what other local exchanges offer.

Security of the exchange is critical, as pointed out by the founder Desmond Gurure who highlighted that the exchange uses multi-signature wallets, and keeps the majority of all coins in cold storage to keep wallets safe at any given time. Desmond has vast experience in architecture and software development and to name a few have worked for one of the biggest telecoms giant Ericsson.

Gxbot24 complies with KYC, AML and FICA regulations.

The fees for ZAR pairs are 0.5 percent while for BTC pairs are 0.25 percent.

You can find more about the exchange at www.gxbot24.com

 

*This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company, product or service. Bitcoin Africa Ltd. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, product or service mentioned in the press release.*

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How Much Profit Have South Africans Made Investing in Cryptocurrency?

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south africans investing in cryptocurrency

Trading in cryptocurrency is risky but has the potential to make investors “crypto rich” in a short period of time. South Africans are very aware of this, which has led to an increase in bitcoin trading volumes in the past few years.

In South Africa, cryptocurrency investors experienced their fair share of losses and gains as a new study reveals.

The MyBroadband 2018 Cryptocurrency Survey found that bitcoin was the cryptocurrency investment of choice among South Africans. Unfortunately, it was also the cryptocurrency with the biggest losses.

The survey, which was conducted this year in April, was conducted to record experiences in the cryptocurrency investment landscape and involved 1,244 respondents. Out of those questioned, 78 percent have had first-hand experience with cryptocurrency investing.

From the 970 respondents who had contact with cryptocurrency, 57 percent had made profits reaching a high of R50,000 (approximately, $3,980). For the respondents that made a loss, the majority did not lose more than R50,000.

Bitcoin was the most popular investment. However, out of those surveyed about 50 percent experienced gains while around 50 percent experienced losses. This suggests that many investors have only started to invest in bitcoin after its December 2017 all-time high.

In terms of investment gains, ether (ETH) came in second place at 17 percent, ripple (XRP) at six percent, with litecoin (LTC), NEO (NEO), and Cardano (ADA) at two percent, and Monero (XMR), EOS, IOTA, & Stellar (XLM) at one percent.

Cardano, Monero, and NEO were recorded as the cryptocurrencies in which traders made the lowest losses.

Crypto Asset Prices Year-to-Date

Since the start of the year, digital asset investors have had a difficult time. After bitcoin (BTC) peaked in mid-December 2017 at $20,000, its price dropped to a low in the $6,000s in February and March.

Many altcoins – such as ether (ETH) and NEO (NEO) – had their most recent all-time highs in January and are still struggling to break out towards again to move towards these highs.

However, market sentiment has started to turn around after a crushing first quarter. In fact, April has been one of the best months for crypto asset returns and many experts believe that the price of bitcoin will end the year higher than it did in 2017.

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