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Why Bitcoin Demand is Soaring in Zimbabwe

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bitcoin demand in Zimbabwe

The price of bitcoin is currently retailing at over $7,700 across international exchange platforms. However, this is not the case in Zimbabwe.

The price of bitcoin in the African country has skyrocketed to about $14,000 as reported by Golix, the Zimbabwe-based bitcoin exchange. The increased demand for the cryptocurrency in the southern Africa country has highlighted the volatile nature of bitcoin as well as the current economic crisis Zimbabwe is facing.

In an interview with CNN, Yeukai Kusangaya, Golix’s trade coordinator said, “The price has been high for some time and it keeps going up.” She believes that the increased demand will continue to drive the price to higher levels.

Bitcoin has for a while now been used in Zimbabwe by car dealers and other import/export businesses who need to conduct high-value transactions in a country where there is a severe cash shortage.

Worthless Zimbabwean Bond Notes

As it stands, Zimbabwe is undergoing a fresh currency distress. However, this is not the first time that the nation is finding itself in such murky waters.

After the 2008 hyperinflation, President Robert Mugabe’s government was forced to adopt the US dollar as its own currency. Now, years later, the southern Africa nation finds itself in the same place it was in nine years ago. This has led to rationed withdrawals from the banks which are now facing a severe shortage of the US dollars.

In a bid to salvage the situation, the government began issuing “bond notes” that were said to have the same value as the US dollar in late 2016. However, the value of the quasi-currency dropped drastically on black market exchanges which led to increased prices in stores and that they are not accepted by foreign suppliers.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported a few weeks ago that the, “debilitating liquidity crunch and an acute cash shortage has severely crippled companies which need to import critical inputs for operations.”

International trade has also been affected leaving importers to turn to digital currencies as a way out for them.

Since the increased demand for bitcoin in Zimbabwe, several newspapers have gone ahead to write about it with The National newspaper from the Middle East summing it up the other day as, “This time (in Zimbabwe) the issue is not too much money — it is that there is too little. Because the reserve bank cannot print U.S. dollars itself — the U.S. alone can do that — it must rely on imported cash.”

Bitcoin as a Haven

Bitcoin, which is considered as a speculative investment and a volatile digital currency by investors, has now become a haven for most Zimbabweans offering a degree of financial security against hyperinflation.

“Bitcoin isn’t subject to the central bank measures so it has become an alternative that importers are willing to pay a premium for,” said Nigel Gambanga, a Zimbabwean technology analyst, citing increased businesses that are accepting the currency as payment.

Director of research at news site CoinDesk, Nolan Bauerle, said, “When confidence in national currencies wavers because of monetary policy or political uncertainty, bitcoin often behaves as a safe haven because the price is totally based on market discovery.”

“Some people find bitcoin useful because it is immune from the bright ideas of centralised authorities and their unintended consequences,” he went on to add.

Favorable Conditions for the Adoption of Bitcoin

The growing adoption of bitcoin in Zimbabwe has been an interesting phenomenon among African countries due to the country’s financial history. It is, therefore, not surprising that bitcoin has now emerged as a viable alternative form of currency for its citizens leading to an aggressive surge in demand for the cryptocurrency.

Although Zimbabwe’s case is unique, cryptocurrency experts believe its use in the country can be a good test for bitcoin’s feasibility on a national level.

“The underlying takeaway is that cryptocurrencies are here to stay and have a place in the world where monetary policy and fiat currencies cannot be trusted,” said Kay Van-Petersen, Saxo Bank analyst.

“It’s only a matter of time before an emerging or frontier market government decides to adopt a cryptocurrency as a foundation for credibility, transparency, accountability, and attraction of foreign capital.”

Will Bitcoin Survive?

Digital currency experts believe that the market could come under pressure should the price of bitcoin continue to increase. The price surge also comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe and his family have been put under house arrest as the Zimbabwean military has taken over power.

“I wouldn’t expect any tolerance from a country with a fragile financial system trying to maintain capital controls,” said Hileman, hinting that the government of Zimbabwe might ban bitcoin exchanges like China did.

The key question by Hileman is on whether the southern Africa nation has the capability to impose such a ban, which could potentially have negative effects on its economic future.

On the other hand, there is the thought that the government could embrace the use of bitcoin and maximise it.

“If trade in bitcoin intensifies with no resolution to the country’s currency woes, we could witness the central bank and government revise its position by taking on a more active role in cryptocurrency trading. At the very least, (by) recognizing cryptocurrencies through some form of regulation,” Gambanga stated.

According to Gambanga, bitcoin has the potential of becoming the official currency in Zimbabwe. “The state has already taken extreme measures like banning the importation of fruits. So, adding bitcoin to the country’s multi-currency basket might not be so absurd.”

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Paxful’s #BuiltwithBitcoin Initiative to Fund Rwanda Water Project and Afghan Scholarships

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Paxful Fund Rwanda Water Project

Peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange Paxful has announced a new development in its #BuiltWithBitcoin charitable initiative. The company is launching a Rwandan water tank project that will be spearheaded by AnthemGold, their new initiative member; additional classroom resources for the Rwandan nursery school that was built as the first #BuiltwithBitcoin project, and award more than $15,000 scholarships for female Afghan refugees to pursue their careers in the United States.

Paxful’s scholarship beneficiaries include Susan Naseri who is interested in non-profit work and law; Dunia Azizi, who will pursue a mathematics degree; and Farzana Nawabi, who is working towards a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The beneficiaries were chosen by Zam Zam – a non-profit organization partner for the program – based on the personal essays they wrote describing the hardships encountered while getting an education, migrating to the U.S. and blending into the American society while pursuing their careers and raising families.

Susan Naseri, one of the beneficiaries, said: “As a recipient of the Zam Zam Water scholarship, I’d like to express endless gratitude and appreciation to Paxful and everyone involved in the donation process. Receiving this scholarship is not only an immense honor and privilege; it also eases my financial stress significantly. I’m beyond humbled and thankful for this scholarship; thank you eternally for helping me expand my education and fulfill my dreams.”

Paxful Expansion and Partnership

Paxful Fund Rwanda Water ProjectFor the initial scholarship, winners were given $5,000 paid in two installments each of $2,500. Zam Zam Water will continue running the scholarship as an annual program. In addition, both Paxful and Zam Zam welcomed AnthemGold to the #BuiltwithBitcoin initiative after the virtual currency provider contributed enough bitcoin to construct a 35,000-liter water tank as well as fund the cultivation of more than 80 sustainable community gardens and 30 goats for two villages in Rwanda.

Speaking of the initiative, AnthemGold’s CEO, Anthem Hayek Blanchard said: “I am grateful to participate in a project that builds sustainable and essential projects for communities in need. We hope to use Zam Zam’s knowledge to provide people with the building blocks needed to foster and grow.”

Paxful’s announcement comes after its May announcement regarding its investment expansion in Africa by electing a new African Regional Director and building an incubation hub for blockchain technology in Lagos, Nigeria. The hub is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018 and will be a co-working space that will provide services such as mentorship, advice on ICOs, and individual and corporate blockchain training. Paxful will also be sponsoring various crypto-focused events in Nigeria and plans to hold talks with similar events in Kenya, Ghana, and Cameroon.

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Crypto-Finance Platform Nebeus Enters the Africa Market

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Nebeus
Image by Nebeus

Cryptocurrency users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana now have full access to the suite of Nebeus services. The “crypto bank” Nebeus enables users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, enjoy remittance services, and access crypto-collateral loans, among many other services related to crypto-finance.

Opening access to Crypto-Finance services in Africa

Nebeus is a London-based fintech startup that runs a P2P exchange platform, offers crypto-collateral loans and incorporates a user-friendly bitcoin wallet. Nebeus was founded in 2014 with the aim of delivering a cheap, convenient and highly efficient service that catered to the demands and challenges of the evolving cryptocurrency landscape.

The crypto-finance platform will take advantage of local telcos and mobile money to penetrate these new markets, according to a company press release. Mobile banking has enabled African countries to leapfrog many developed nations by tapping into a previously unbanked segment of the population. The success of mobile money platforms, such as MPESA in Kenya, has attracted a number of fintech and blockchain companies to the African market.

The pay-in and pay-out corridors for the trading service include MPESA in Kenya, Airtel mobile money in Uganda, mobile money (Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo) for Tanzania, mobile money (MTN) Cameroon, Mobile Money (MTN) for Nigeria and MasterCard, Verve (Cards) and online banking for Nigeria. The established network of local payment partners will provide access to crypto-services for a population of over 400 million people.

Nebeus also aims to play a greater role in serving the African remittance market, which is estimated to receive billions of dollars annually. The company’s objective is to become the focal provider for this section of the African economy.

Alex Lempka, Nebeus’ Director of Communications, said: “Cryptocurrencies have a potential to make a significant impact on developing countries in many ways by providing a bridge into the global economy. Nebeus is looking forward to playing a major role in that by providing necessary infrastructure for all participants”.

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Golix Relaunches ICO and Expands Into Kenya, Uganda and South Africa

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Golix Launches ICO

Zimbabwe’s digital currency exchange, Golix is relaunching its token sale, which was planned for mid-May but abandoned after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued a cryptocurrency ban which was later overturned by the Harare High Court.

The exchange, which has been operational for three years, has also announced that it has launched its services in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda as from Friday 1 June 2018.

“As part of our strategy starting from Friday 1 June, people in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda will be able to start trading from Golix. This is one of our plans to be the leading exchange in Africa, which inspired by the vision to provide financial autonomy in the continent, ” said Golix’s Head of Growth, Panashe Tapera.

Out of 54 countries in Africa, only three have local cryptocurrency exchanges while the rest are still to realise the potential held by the blockchain technology.

Golix has set its target to avail its services across the entire African continent to address the cryptocurrency infrastructure shortage which has slowed down the adoption of digital currencies.

Golix Lead of Special Projects, William Chui, stated that the token sale was an initiative they set afoot to enable instant remittances and international payments through cryptocurrencies.

The Token Sale

“Since from onset our main agenda is to provide financial autonomy in Africa. The GLX token is going to be used to facilitate and realise this agenda. People from respective different countries will be able to buy the GLX token from the exchange using their fiat currencies. The GLX token will be used to buy other Altcoins in the exchange, all this will be done at zero transactions fee.

“The GLX token will also be used to facilitate remittances and international payments at lesser fees, compared to current banking methods. This cascade immensely towards contribution of GDP growth in African countries,” said Chui.

The GLX token, an Ethereum ERC20 token, will be available for purchase from Friday 1 June 2018 10 AM UTM/GMT on the Golix token sale website, tokensale.golix.com.

Potential buyers can use bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) to buy the GLX token, which has been priced at $0.05612.

1,274,240, 097 tokens will be availed but only 637,120,049 are going to be sold during the token sale and the public will only be able to buy half of the tokens.

*Disclaimer: This post is informational only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company, product or service. BitcoinAfrica.io 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 this article.*

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