If you have been following the news about bitcoin closely enough, then you have probably heard about the BitcoinAfrica project. For those of you who haven’t – do not worry I will bring you to the point.
BitcoinAfrica is a trip throughout world’s second largest continent, sponsored by localbitcoins.com – web resource devoted to the exchange of bitcoins as well as to help you finding the nearest place where you can make a trade. The goal of this journey is to prove that even in the most distant places of our world it is not an impossible task to pay for services and goods or simply buy cash with bitcoins.
Not a trivial task I might add, because it requires a lot of planning and even more improvisation by the two bikers. And yes, you read it right, they are riding along the west coast of Africa from Casablanca Morocco to Cape Town in South Africa on their trusty iron horses.
Borja and Elvis (our brave motorcyclists) have already tasted the sweet and sour flavor of their long way. Endless punctured tires, fall from a motorcycle speeding 70 km/h, meeting local tribes - that’s only a small part of what they experienced on their way of spreading the bitcoin. Speaking of which, so far they managed to make five successful exchanges. Probably, it doesn’t sound that impressing having in mind that the whole trip is around fifteen thousands of kilometers and to this moment they have already covered three quarters of it, although you have to admit that usually it is hard to find someone ready to exchange money in the jungles of Togo.
First exchange happened somewhere in Morocco (place isn’t specified). The second trade came about between the bikers and their friend “Curro”, who had never heard about cryptocurrency before, but was eager enough to open a new account and receive payment with bitcoins. Next one was arranged during a dinner in Lomé where they stayed for a few days to fix their bikes and visit some local attractions, among which were Fetish Market and waterfalls in Kpalimé. After Lomé they proceeded to Cotonou in Benin and that’s from where their story starts this time.
Almost a month passed since they were able to find internet and because of that, their latest trip report was the longest one so far covering as many as six countries. They visited Royal Palaces of Abomey, “…slept in the back of a very important church, something like the Vatican of west Africa…”, which more or less suits the description of Cathédrale Saints Pierre et Paul in Parakou. Nigeria proved to be a much nicer country than the travelers were led to believe, though the driving conditions were much worse than before, the roads being described only as “non existing”. The capital of Nigeria, Abuja contrasted much with the rest of the country, so Borja and Elvis had nice opportunity to take a breath and find new tires for their motorcycles. Then they proceeded in the direction of Cameroon.
The travelers found their next place of trade in Douala:
"…Douala where we did our fourth bitcoin exchange :) Thanks to our bitcoin contact in Mali, he introduced us Dani who was interested in exchanging. Dani was kind and pay us the bitcoin in advance as we had some technical problems, we made a good friend and spend the weekend "resting".
Not being able to sit in one place for too long, bikers went on to Congo. As far as the journey goes it was the hardest part. Due to some misdirection from locals, our heroes were stranded without the ability to exchange bitcoins, out of gas and with nothing to fill their stomachs. Somehow, they managed to request some money from their Spanish friend and escape this nasty situation.
After such a stress a couple of day was dedicated to rest:
…But we managed to visit the Bonobos (Monkeys) in Congo, we spent 2 days with them, as the veterinary is our friend we had the opportunity to be very close and play with them, great 2 days!
The border crossing to RDC was insane, imagine corruption, a passenger boat where it was impossible to fit another person, no ramps for the bikes or even a wheel chair, last boat of the day and it was Friday. We managed and finished the day laughing about it :)
Angola greeted Elvis and Borja with Portuguese language and Portuguese food and finally, the last bitcoin exchange point so far:
Beautiful country and friendly people, no corruption so far and lots of ATM, everyone is very helpful as well. After 4 days in Luanda with some friends, we are on the road again, today we did 515 Km to Lobito where we met a contact to do our fifth exchange, this time to Angolan Kwanzas. Another successful transaction, the Internet is getting faster as we head south.
Here is where latest post ends. However, the journey goes on and bitcoin movement proceeds to spread. And we will be watching both.