Nov. 22-25, the first ever Blockchain Summer School will be opened in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The event intends to educate and explore the benefits of Bitcoin as well as stimulating discussions on the challenges that inhibit cryptocurrency adoption in Africa.
The event is organized by Bitfinance, a Zimbabwe-based Bitcoin exchange and infrastructure developer firm in collaboration with the Blockchain Academy. The target audience are local businesses that have been hit hardest by the current financial crisis in Zimbabwe.
Tawanda Kembo, growth hacker at Bitfinance, says:
“Zimbabwe is the hardest country in the world to do international transfers, online payments or get access to credit in real terms and many people are looking towards Bitcoin as a solution. We decided to run this event because we saw a significant and growing number of requests from people who wanted to use Bitcoin but they didn’t know how to get started or how it works.”
According to Tawanda, Zimbabwe presently does not have its own currency, but rather nine currencies as legal tender, with the US dollar being the most popular one. Banks are cash-strapped and have reduced their withdrawal limits to $100 a day.
Pushing for Adoption
“Later this month, the Zimbabwean government is going to create a hard fork of the US dollar. They are calling them bond notes. Most banks have blocked their VISA/MasterCard services, and the few that still offer those have monthly limits that are as low as $1000,” Tawanda added.
Tawanda thinks that the hindrance to adoption in Africa is unique and non-existing anywhere else in the world. “The biggest impediment is that there is just not enough cryptocurrency liquidity. Because of this, the price of Bitcoin is often twice what it is on Coinbase for instance. We have no one mining or creating new cryptocurrencies from the continent, to solve local problems - this is probably why liquidity on local exchanges has remained an issue for a long time. All these problems can be solved through education and events such as these are one way to educate locals.”
Speakers at the school will include well-known local and international speakers. The organizers intend to make the program an annual affair.