For the longest time I have been pretty skeptical about Bitcoins and the Blockchain. I heard about it and felt it was a machination for advanced economies! In much the same way, Zimbabweans skeptically view any new policies introduced by our Reserve Bank, ever since the defunct monetary policies that led to the extinction of the Zimbabwean Dollar back in 2009.
When Bond coins were introduced to try and alleviate change shortages, the majority of the population got infuriated. At the time, you could hardly get change in shops, in cents, after a purchase as the Rand coins we used were not easy to come by and US$ coins were so rare, a lot of people did not even know what they looked like. I remember a time when you would end up receiving your cents change’s worth in sweets, matches, pens or even razors, where you would have preferred the money itself. Despite all this, the nation was against the bond coins! It was so bad initially that commuter bus operators and vendors at first would neither accept, nor acknowledge them yet merely 6 months down the line, the bond coin had settled comfortably as if we had been using it for generations.
The recent news of the introduction of Bond notes sparked some outrage as expected, but for open minded people, it was an opportunity to analyze how Zimbabweans are always untrusting at first, yet eventually adopt that which they were initially unsure of. It is no secret that the use of Bitcoin in Zimbabwe could prove to be the vice that creates a stable trading environment. One only needs to read up on Bitcoin and its advantages to realize this is what Zimbabwe needs.
Bitcoins are to Zimbabwe what Penicillin was to the world in 1942, the medicine for its economic infection. I mean if you critically analyze it, it is a no brainer really. The most widely recognized currency is the United States Dollar and Zimbabwe officially adopted it for use a little more than half a decade ago. The US$ has only one source and that is the United States of America, a country which, as I quite recently heard, had more sanctions against Zimbabwe than it did against North Korea up until March this year! How then can we expect this country’s currency to help solve all our problems for I’m pretty sure if currency were edible, America would have poisoned it for us, which ironically they did and I will explain that:
Zimbabwe is currently a net importer, whatever exports we have are so negligible they are not worth the trouble of mentioning. In essence, Zimbabwe is on a daily basis bleeding out the currency we are so desperately trying to cling on to. Imagine a dam that is receiving 10litres of water from its tributaries per day yet is syphoning out 1000litres a day. In time, there will be no water left at all, and that is how our economy is currently short of the US currency. We urgently need influx of this currency through Foreign Direct Investments but because of the sanctions, even willing Americans are not able to invest in Zimbabwe, their banks will not enable it.
This is exactly where Bitcoins come in. The technology behind Bitcoin is decentralized meaning it is not controlled by any one person or government or even one financial body. In fact, the main engine that drives this spectacular virtual currently is available on the internet for anyone who opts to learn how it works. If you learn its intricacies, even YOU can be able to check out its cylinders, pistons, plugs and all other components as they turn the world toward a revolutionary Techno age. I have heard people say that the Bitcoin is the best technological innovation that has happened to the world since the Internet! However, the Bitcoin technology itself as a driving force cannot steer the world to the bespoke revolution. That, is accomplished by functional entities which give it purpose, direction and one such for Zimbabwe is BitMari. BitMari initially will be offering a way for people in the diaspora community to directly send money to Zimbabwe and all other African countries as Bitcoin, which eliminates the dependence we have on the US$. This essentially means that the American investor who initially could not directly invest in Zimbabwe because of restrictions by financial institutions now can. Some would argue he could have gone to Western Union but I will ask you this, when was the last time you tried US$250 million through Western Union?
Through revolutionary remittance companies leveraging the Blockchain, like BitMari, such international transactions not only become possible, but they are also faster, cheaper and overall more transparent. This is just one use of Bitcoin but there are many other use cases for Zimbabwe if Bitcoin is officially recognized, as one would merely store the Bitcoins in their phone wallet instead of this elusive cash and simply use their phone to make purchases. One could quite literally survive without ever handling cash if this technology is widely adopted by Zimbabweans as much as they have embraced the bond coins they were initially against. You could wake up and get in a kombi to town, transfer the XBT 0.0011 (equivalent to US$0.50) from your wallet to the Hwindi’s wallet (conductor in commuter omnibus) and when you get off, decide you wish to buy a fruit, approach a vendor and transfer Bitcoin to their wallet in like manner. The vendor would also use the same concept to procure their wares from distributors who in turn acquire their stock from farmers through Bitcoin. When farmers have access to Bitcoin, it becomes simpler and more economical for them not only to procure inputs, but to also export their surplus.
With the little experience I have gained working in the Bitcoin space, through BitMari, I have come to observe that Zimbabweans are skeptical of this technology for one reason, that is, they do not understand it, how it works or how it stands to collectively benefit them. Upon learning of Bitcoin, each one starts to ask how this will put money into their pocket, individually and that is how many got mislaid by pyramid schemes and other unscrupulous Bitcoin leveraging crooks. The question in this case should be; how will this technology revamp Zimbabwe’s Trading space, the economy collectively and, by extension yourself? Make no mistake, the performance of your economy is directly proportional to your very own standard of living. The better your economy performs, the better off YOU are.
If you know absolutely nothing about Bitcoin, I suggest you visit Google immediately, search “What is Bitcoin” and get with the program. Bitcoin isn’t coming, its already here!