Title: New York’s Restrictive Stance on Bitcoin Contrasts with Africa’s Rising Adoption
As a resident of New York City, known as the “land of the free,” I find it ironic that our state has one of the most restrictive environments for Bitcoin. New York State (NYS) requires companies in the virtual currency marketplace to obtain a difficult and expensive “BitLicense” since 2015. This restriction prevents reputable exchanges like River, Swan, and Kraken from serving NYS residents. To make matters worse, NYS’s current governor, Kathy Hochul, has recently passed a law banning Bitcoin mining companies that don’t use 100% renewable resources. Contrastingly, in Africa, passionate youth are driving Bitcoin adoption, undeterred by government resistance. In this article, I will share insights and discussions with African Bitcoin enthusiasts who are working tirelessly to promote financial freedom and self-sovereignty across the continent.
Namibia’s Push for Bitcoin Adoption:
In Namibia, Nikolai “OKIN” Tjongarero, the founder of EasySats, is at the forefront of convincing the governing powers about the value of Bitcoin. Even members of Namibia’s central bank have been influenced by his efforts. OKIN recalls a meeting with 15 central bankers who were genuinely interested in learning how to use Bitcoin for everyday transactions. He taught them about the difference between custodial and non-custodial wallets and guided them in making purchases with Bitcoin. This interaction led to these bankers consulting OKIN for their research on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). OKIN highlighted the risks associated with centralized control by pointing out the failure of Nigeria’s eNaira compared to the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in Nigeria.
South Africa’s Bitcoin Success Stories:
In South Africa, Luthando Ndabambi, a leader in the Bitcoin Ekasi community, has firsthand experience of how Bitcoin has transformed lives in impoverished areas. Having grown up in a shack during apartheid, Ndabambi explains how Bitcoin enabled him to move into a proper house and make positive changes in his life. The ability to save and invest in Bitcoin changed his perspective on spending, focusing on securing a better future for his family rather than indulging in excess. This transformation reflects the hope that Bitcoin offers, especially for Black South Africans who have historically faced systemic oppression and limited opportunities. Hermann Vivier, founder of Bitcoin Ekasi, emphasizes how apartheid aimed to break spirits and instill hopelessness, making Ndabambi a model for others in his community.
While New York State continues to hinder Bitcoin adoption with its burdensome regulations and recent bans, Africa is witnessing a surge in Bitcoin enthusiasts determined to achieve financial independence and empowerment. The experiences in Namibia and South Africa exemplify the resilience and dedication of African Bitcoiners who strive to bring about positive change despite government resistance. As a Bitcoin enthusiast living in New York, I cannot help but feel inspired and hopeful for the future as Africa paves the way for greater Bitcoin adoption and the dismantling of traditional financial barriers.
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