A successful Coinfest event took place on March 20 in Kumasi, Ghana attracting crypto enthusiasts from all over the world. Similar events are also scheduled to be held in Tanzania and Botswana on March 27, with the latter expecting to receive Africa’s second Bitcoin ATM.

Coinfest 2015 was supposed to welcome the participation of several African countries on the weekend of February 20 and 22. However, the Coinfest’s African counterparts have been pushed to March with one event already held in Kumasi on March 20 with others scheduled for March 27 in Gaborone, Botswana and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

In hindsight, this year saw the highest number of cities hosting Coinfest events ever. Close to two dozen cities around the globe would have participated whereas only three cities held the event in 2014.

Coinfest logo

Broken tradition

The schedule on the African continent could not take off with the rest of the world due to logistical issues such as delays in customs clearances and challenges of bringing exhibition products and merchandise to the venues. Thus, the three venue cities of Kumasi in Ghana, Gaborone in Botswana and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania had to move the events to March from February.

Aside from Coinfest being free to participate in as it is hosted in venues that accept bitcoin, the other guideline is that all events around the world should be held on the same weekend.

Africa has been the exception to the latter rule this year perhaps because it is the first time where the local Bitcoin communities have made an attempt to take part.

Finally, Kumasi did hold its Coinfest event on March 20, a weekend earlier than those set to take place in Gaborone and Dar es Salaam.

According to Philip Agyei Asare, Founder of the Dream Bitcoin Foundation, which organized the event, about 50 people did attend. He added:

“It was a successful event taking everything into consideration. Local and foreign enthusiasts were able to share ideas as well as demonstrate new software and hardware, as well as fill information gaps on cryptocurrencies."

In East Africa, those taking part in the Dar es Salaam event on Friday the March 27 are in store to for a special program. For instance, organizers are translating a few Bitcoin videos into Swahili so as to make the local community understand the technology better. In addition, local startups and entrepreneurs will exhibit their services.

Photo from CoinFest-Ghana Event

Photo from CoinFest-Ghana Event

Gaborone unveils BTM

But perhaps the most talked about of the three African events is the one taking place in Gaborone on the same day, March 27. Botswana Bitcoin evangelist, Alakanani Itireleng, popularly known as MotherPK, who is also one of the organizers, said:

“Information will be disseminated about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This event will feature tremendous speakers and panels on a wide range of ideas and the actions necessary to implement them here.”

During this event, the second Bitcoin ATM on the African continent will be unveiled following the one placed in South Africa. It is an open-source Skyhook that Co-op director Yuri Yerofeyev, who is also the founder and CEO of Taurus Crypto Services, donated as part of his support for Coinfest 2015.

Although, it is a one-way machine and its long processing time could not withstand competition in the Canadian market, it should nevertheless make it easier for members of the Gaborone community to acquire bitcoins. The machine will be stationed at the Satoshi Center in Gaborone, a crypto currency incubator that is also set to be unveiled. Initially, it will accept only South Africa Rand before the Botswana Pula is added.

Despite these events not being in sync with the Coinfest’s regular schedule, they are an opportunity that many on the continent believe should not be missed. Additionally, it should serve as good preparation as there are only a few weeks remaining until the first Bitcoin conference ever is held on the continent.

In East Africa, there is a common saying - ‘Kawia ufike' - a proverb that translates to ‘better be late and be there at last.' And while Coinfest in Africa arrived later than expected, it has so far been a great success whose momentum will hopefully carry over to next month’s much-anticipated conference in Cape Town.

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