According to an Amazon Prime Video documentary, Africa is the perfect place for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin arrived too late for Alakanani Itireleng’s son. He died before money could be raised to pay for his surgery in South Africa.
But it was in trying to save Paco that Alakanani had his first contact with Bitcoin. What she learned surprised her – and like many other people around the world, she became a digital currency evangelist.
Now known as Lady Bitcoin of Botswana, Itireleng founded the non-profit Satoshi Educational Center, where she teaches others about how to use and profit from it, and transform their lives. She is one of many inspiring Africans featured in the Amazon Prime documentary: “Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution”.
The documentary “Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution” will be released in conjunction with a supplementary research report
The documentary “Banking on Africa: The Bitcoin Revolution”, filmed by Tamarin Gerriety, by the award-winning South African production company Documinute, will be released on Amazon Prime this Friday (22). It will show how Bitcoin pioneers in South Africa are overcoming the widespread challenges on the continent – poor infrastructure, poorly managed economies, high remittance rates and widespread poverty – using cryptocurrencies.
A comprehensive report on the African Bitcoin ecosystem, conducted by the research agency Arcane Research, will be released along with the documentary.
“Africa is one of the regions, if not the most promising, for adopting cryptocurrencies,” says the report. Most of the continent is poorly served by traditional financial services, with 66% having no access to a traditional bank account. But much of Africa still requires significant investments in specific cryptocurrency infrastructure (such as exchanges), as well as its Internet and electricity networks, according to the report.
The focus is usually on investment, speculation and trading, but Africa, more than any other continent, needs the usefulness of cryptocurrencies, according to this report.
For example, cryptocurrencies can offer cheaper and faster remittance payments than current systems. Sending a payment of less than $ 200 to a sub-Saharan country costs an average of 9%, compared to the global average of 6.8%, while payments between countries are even more expensive.
Cryptocurrency projects were quick to recognize the opportunity that Africa offers, and the report highlights the most active in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Akoin, an ambitious project that will build a crypto city in Senegal.
What these projects have in common is that their successes in African markets have resulted from actions in the field, the report said. That spirit also came from the individuals featured in the documentary.
“Bitcoin has already shown how it managed to introduce a new and improved financial system in a region that desperately needed it,” said Marius Reitz, manager of exchange Luno in Africa. The exchange was established in 2013 and the majority of its 4 million customers are in Africa.
But, as the report highlights, Africa’s lack of infrastructure – 57% of the region’s population does not yet have access to electricity – this is not an easy obstacle for Bitcoin to overcome.
“You will not solve all the problems, certainly,” said the founder of the cryptocurrency Monero, the South African Riccardo Spagni in the documentary. “Even if it becomes just a reserve currency, the local currency becomes less important. People can switch trivially from any local currency to Bitcoin. Now, your confidence does not depend on the government to keep the economy stable, because you have a recovery, this is very powerful. “
There are technologies in which Africa can still steal the scene from the West – the so-called jumping phenomenon, which can lead to innovations being adopted more quickly, since traditional infrastructure is less likely. “We were on 3G before the United States and the rest of Europe,” said Spagni.
Perhaps the most inspiring story belongs to Lorien Gamaroff, founder of the blockchain-based social outreach platform, Uziso.
Gamaroff’s story was filmed in 2015, and shows the establishment of an energy payment platform to allow donors to pay electricity to schools in South Africa, where many rural communities are hampered by an expensive and complicated prepayment system . The system also relies on third parties to act as intermediaries between end users and energy companies – a problem that a smart blockchain-enabled meter would solve.
“It is not just a technology thing. It is not just a new invention. It is something that can really help real people, “he said at the beginning of the film”.
The documentary shows him setting up the first demonstration of the system and is excited as he waits with the school teachers for the funds to be transferred and the school lights to continue. Miraculously, everything worked as planned.