How Botswana’s BitcoinLady empowers its community through crypto and blockchain education
Stop the press! Bitcoin fell below $ 30,000 today, heading for a new low of the year. While some long-time crypto traders insist on knowing when to profit, new adopters in developing economies are taking the opportunity to break into the market. In Africa, the home of the world’s youngest and fastest growing population, where many people lack access to formalized financial services, cryptocurrency and blockchain are making everyday life better.
In Botswana, Africa, Alakanani Itireleng, affectionately referred to by her community as BitcoinLady, teaches people how to make money from bitcoin and alt coins, as well as how to build blockchain apps at the Satoshicenter, a hub that she started from her home in Gaborone. Self-funded and supported by donations, the centre’s small team plans to create an incubator, where startups can connect with mentors and sponsors.
“I felt there was something unique about bitcoin, different from normal fiat money,” Itireleng explains. “I always call it a love coin.”
Born of love
And that’s how his crypto journey began in 2012, for love. While working as a teacher, Itireleng’s son fell ill. She needed to generate some funds to take him to the hospital, so she started to learn about bitcoin. Tragically, his son passed away, as did his passion for crypto for a while. But in 2013, she couldn’t escape the feeling that crypto education could help her friends and ignite an ecosystem.
“I called 10 of my friends, then those friends called 10 of their friends, and eventually we became a community of bitcoiners,” Itireleng shares. “Growing the community has not been easy because people are afraid of change. “If it’s something they can’t see, the fear gets huge. I had to stay true to my mission. I’m not hijacking. I do not allow Ponzi schemes. I tell people who are just starting out to save just $ 1 a month and invest it in bitcoin.
At the Satoshicentre, Itireleng teaches people skills according to their needs, and their needs are diverse. For example, some participants want to earn money. Itireleng and his team therefore teach them coins, how to put their money on Ethereum or ADA, and then how to transfer their money to bitcoin. Other people are interested in building blockchain solutions, and some want to know how to use bitcoin as a way to send money to people outside the country.
Meet people where they are
So far, no one in the Satoshicentre community has created a startup yet, as Botswana doesn’t have a lot of blockchain developers. Concrete example: a blockchain-based agrotech solution that Itireleng is working on is being built by developers in Kenya. Scheduled for launch in August, the goal of the project is to show the people of Botswana that there is a future in crypto and blockchain.
As part of his mission, Itereleng visited the Bank of Botswana to urge the institution to have bitcoin accepted as a regulated currency. It is also developing a local Botswana wallet that connects to ATMs.
In “Bitcoin in Botswana – Education”, a short film directed by Sergio Ruestes which is part of the documentary series, BitcoinFilm, Itireleng said, “I believe in my heart that bitcoin is going to change the lives of a lot of people. It will change the way we do things. It gave us a lot of opportunities that we didn’t have in the past.
One of the most important lessons from Itireleng’s teachings is that if you want to empower people through crypto and blockchain, you have to show them simple ways that technology can improve their lives.
On that note, Itereleng said, “Imagine a situation where you can check your records on your cows, find out where all your food is coming from, find out how a plant was planted, what fertilizers were used … think about wanting to send. your child at university in another country. You can do this without waiting for the bank to open. Bitcoin can make a difference in your everyday life.
To support Satoshicentre in Botswana, go here. To donate to BitcoinFilm, check out their site here.