I arrived on Friday evening. Zambia is in the north of Zimbabwe, it’s just a short flight from Harare to Lusaka. I thought about going by car, but I was told that the road on the Zimbabwean side is in very bad shape and dangerous. On Saturday morning I was one of three speakers at an event at the University of Zambia. You can find the slides of my talk on the BFF website. I recorded my (L)earn Bitcoin talk too, it will be published on YouTube. But first I need to get to Europe again, I can’t upload the files from here. Today is Sunday and it’s my first day without appointments since I landed in Africa last Sunday. At least I thought so. At noon I was visited by Dominic Kapalu, he is the Chairperson for United African Blockchain Association (UABA) here in Zambia. Like me, he attended the free MOOC about Digital Currencies at the University of Nicosia, where Andreas M. Antonopoulos is one of the teachers. I love the fact how open online courses and especially Andreas’ work is reaching so many people all over the world.
A few learnings so far:
- Blockchain and Crypto are big in Zambia and Zimbabwe: the differences between Bitcoin and Altcoins are widely not understood. Altcoins and their marketing departments have done a great job in letting people believe that they are the better Bitcoin, telling them it’s slow, not scalable and is “wasting” electricity. Even the people who are organizing events and sharing crypto knowledge haven’t heard of the Lightning Network, or sidechains like Rootstock and Liquid yet.
- I demonstrated a lightning donation of 1 USD via my BTCpayserver today, explaining that this all is done non-custodial, can’t be censored and was settled in 2 seconds. An eye opener!
- There are hundreds of free guides, tutorials and videos about Bitcoin, but where to start? There are no Bitcoin only meetups here. 5 out of 50 people are interested in Bitcoin only, but they are so far away from where the experienced users and developers are, it’s hard to catch up. They can’t attend Lightning Hackdays or other Bitcoin focused conferences, which are mostly in the US or Europe.
- We have to bring more boots on the ground and share knowledge and tools. Nobody I met is using a hardware wallet. They are very expensive for the average person and hard to get. I gifted a BitBox02 to a friend in Zimbabwe 2 years ago. He told me, he didn’t set it up yet. I’m going to do a workshop with him and others next week. I’m gifting a few Coldcards in Zambia.
- we need to support local communities setting up Bitcoin full nodes and Lightning nodes, that’s possible online too. But first we need to build trust in person.
- I told people they should focus on Bitcoin, there are enough things to learn and do. Altcoins are a distraction. After answering their questions about Bitcoin, they seemed to understand. I highlighted the possibilities in the South to mine Bitcoin via solar power and how a reserve of bitcoin could help them and their countries to become more independent from the US, Russia or China.