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Zimbabwean Digital Currency Startup BitFinance Changes Name to Golix

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Zimbabwe’s leading bitcoin startup, BitFinance, has changed its name to Golix. The Harare-based startup was launched in 2014 to offer Zimbabwe’s economy a better currency solution than its current one.

BitFinance’s founders, Verengai Mabika, Tawanda Kembo and Tawanda Maguze, saw bitcoin as a game-changer in the money-transfer industry and a potential alternative currency that would salvage the monetary challenges that the country has been going through.

New Name To Suit Move From Bitcoin to Digital Currency Company

In an email to its users, Golix shared the news saying: “We’re thrilled to have you as an integral part of our vision and today we’re excited to let you know that we’re moving into the future and changing our brand from BitFinance to Golix.”

They went on to state, “We started BitFinance in December 2014 to make it super easy for Zimbabweans to use bitcoin. For a country that had so many ‘monetary problems’, we strongly believed that bitcoin was going to make our people’s lives significantly better because it gave them financial autonomy. We were right and we chose our brand names (BitFinance and BitcoinFundi) to position ourselves as a bitcoin company.

It became clear to us that in the future, bitcoin will not be the only digital currency that succeeds. A few months ago, we started investing in other digital currencies and have seen that it works, so we are doubling down.

Today is a remarkable day for us, and most importantly you, our customers. It marks the completion of our transition from being ‘just a bitcoin company’ to being ‘a digital currency company’. And so, from today onwards, we shall be known as Golix.”

BitFinance Overcame Funding Challenges to Build Established Digital Exchange

Earlier on in their venture, BitFinance were unable to scale up their business due to lack of investors. Investors were scared to invest due to Zimbabwe’s weak economy. Although they made several applications to various investors globally, they were always turned down.

Luck was on their side when in 2015 they received funding from Savannah Fund, a Nairobi-based seed fund. They used the investment to establish the first and only local bitcoin exchange in Zimbabwe, BitFundi.

BitFundi has continued to experience strong growth with an increasing number of transactions since its launch. The exchange can now be found on Golix.io under the company’s new name.

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Bitcoin is Growing in Zimbabwe

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The bitcoin community in Zimbabwe is growing fast. Although the cryptocurrency is still little known in the country, local users are slowly succeeding at actively evangelising bitcoin.

Experienced Zimbabwean bitcoin users are holding weekly public seminars in the country’s capital Harare to promote bitcoin and its benefits. Many locals who show up are confident about becoming part of the bitcoin community and are curious about the new alternative currency. This has been a significant boost to the growth of bitcoin in the South African country.

Speaking to the Standard Business Newspaper after a weekend seminar in May, Silver Kusedyo was happy to have finally found an impressive way to invest. After learning about bitcoin mining from a friend, the exporter and professional accountant decided to attend the seminar.

I have been studying bitcoin for two months and was fascinated by how it kept on rising. Then I decided to come and learn more about it,” he said.

Although Kusedyo has always used currency converter sites during his exporting experience, it was not until during the seminar that he learned that bitcoin, too, was on the charts. He now looks forward to investing in bitcoin. 

Bitcoin is useful for trade

Sekai Svinurai, a bitcoin user from Mutare, explains how Zimbabweans can use the digital currency. She says bitcoin can be used to conduct trade on the internet. “One can get a debit card for transactions, sell them on websites and get cash through different services.

When explaining to newbies, she explains that it is simple to understand, and only requires some attention. “It is just like having your bank and your pin code,” she adds.

Bitcoin better than the capsizing Zimbabwean Bond Notes

Zimbabwe’s new currency, the bond note, which is meant to replace the existing US dollars in the country’s financial system, is causing fears of renewed hyperinflation. Since the demise of the Zimbabwean dollar, the country has relied primarily on the US dollar next to other currencies such as the British pound, the South African rand and even the Japanese yen for its economy to function. 

Somewhat unsurprisingly, therefore, many bitcoin enthusiasts have now urged the government to embrace digital currency so as to beat the inflation. The country’s Central Bank governor John Mangudya, however, admits he fears sudden globalisation of the economy and possible cybercrime if the state officially adopted cryptocurrency.

Meanwhile, bitcoin platforms are already operating in Zimbabwe. BitcoinFundi and BitMari are the country’s two leading bitcoin operations spearheading the local bitcoin community. 

Zimbabwe will be an interesting case study for the use of bitcoin in an economically challenged region that is in dire need of a new monetary system that actually works.

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