A bitcoin gold mine is emerging and it's in one of S. Africa's biggest townships

28 Aug, 2018
by Richard Allen
A bitcoin gold mine is emerging and it's in one of S. Africa's biggest townships

Sending money to friends and family in many African countries can be challenging. The lack of financial inclusion and poor infrastructure can mean that money can sometimes take weeks to clear. CNBC’s documentary titled “Bitcoin: Boom or Bust” explores how the technology is making a difference in underbanked communities, Blokt reports.

Khayelitsha, located just outside of Cape Town is one of the largest and poorest townships in the country. However, it's proving to be one of the most important use cases for bitcoin.

While its temperament has led many institutional investors to criticize the currency, bitcoin is making life much easier for those living in Khayelitsha. The documentary follows Kuda Kwashe, a Zimbabwean Uber driver living in Cape Town.

Kwashe describes three options he has for sending money back to Zimbabwe. The first being a bank transfer which can take weeks. “Sometimes the banks didn’t have the money,” he said. The second is to use a wiring service, but this often proves too expensive. His final option is to give the money to a bus driver going to Zimbabwe and hope the money makes it to his family.

Bitcoin offers the unbanked an opportunity to transfer money quickly and cheaply. CNBC Africa host Ran NeuNer said:

“My view is that this is where the blockchain should start. In the US or in sophisticated countries … blockchain is kind of like a fun thing. It’s a movement against centralization, and it’s a fun technology game that everyone is playing. But it’s not a necessity. You certainly don’t need it. In Africa, you actually need it.”

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