Over the past three years, Africa has seen a rapid increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies. A report by US data firm Chainalysis shows that Africa continues to see an increase in cryptocurrency adoption due to poor economic realities and the continent’s financial systems.
Cryptocurrencies are a way to make money or facilitate faster transactions, especially cross-border payments.
However, an African, Tadi Tendayi, thinks cryptocurrencies have more potential.
Tendayi, a Zimbabwean crypto enthusiast, is on a mission to redefine cryptocurrency by building blockchain infrastructure to improve the lives of many Zimbabweans.
“We are supporting ten vulnerable women through crypto every day with one dollar a day, and we are also supporting five children in school for the next two years. And it’s all about cryptography.
In a world where most people are wondering when to buy or sell crypto or even the fastest ways to facilitate cross-border payments, Tendayi wants to leverage the power of cryptocurrencies to help vulnerable people in African societies.
From founders of blockchain and crypto companies to expert crypto traders, the journey of crypto discovery has always revolved around the possibility of earning big bucks.
But Tendayi’s passion for crypto stems from his fascination with blockchain technology. Although he had no desire to make money from cryptocurrencies, he had to engage in crypto trading and other lucrative crypto practices to understand them better.
Tendayi’s sole interest was in understanding the workings and uses of cryptocurrencies. He didn’t think of creating anything with blockchain until he made a Tunisian friend.
“At the time, I wasn’t thinking about building my blockchain. We were working with the available blockchain, not considering layer one or two. Then I met a friend from Tunisia who was running a pilot in Rwanda who had to do with Celo. I asked him about it, then I started doing my research on Celo.
Celo is a Layer 1 blockchain network that works differently than many other blockchain networks.
A layer one blockchain network is a durable blockchain network that can process and complete transactions without the help of any other blockchain; Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are examples of layer 1 blockchains.
A layer two blockchain, on the other hand, helps a layer one blockchain work more efficiently, like a Chrome browser and its extensions. It is an additional layer of the main blockchain (layer one).
Tendayi did not know that all of these features came with the blockchain. He discovered during his research that it was a mobile blockchain, which means that a person’s mobile phone number or email address could be their cryptographic address; it could essentially create mobile money but for crypto.
Tendayi started coming up with ideas. He could see blockchain and crypto solving problems unique to Zimbabwe, so he built BitFlex as a layer two blockchain on top of Celo, and his blockchain journey began.
BitFlex is a fintech platform that bridges the gap between crypto and fiat, making crypto fairly easy to use, a solution that was important in Tendayi’s mission to build blockchain for vulnerable communities.
“Celo is a mobile blockchain, which means anyone with a mobile phone can access the blockchain, negating the need for a computer. So we started to study Celo’s speed; it’s faster than Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Litecoin, so we started thinking about how to use Celo for everyday use cases.
Blockchain as an alternative to other financial systems is essential, especially in Zimbabwe. Tendayi pointed out that the country was under sanctions and restrictions that made legacy economic systems unreliable.
“A country like Zimbabwe has sanctions imposed on it, which automatically prevents Zimbabweans from accessing the basic things that everyone should have. You may not be able to open a bank account or even register on an exchange like Coinbase with all these restrictions. But the blockchain does not have these restrictions; Bitcoin has no penalties.
Although Bitcoin has no penalties, there are still barriers to its use, one of the main ones being education. The big difference between cryptocurrencies and banking systems makes them complex to use.
These complexities have seen uninformed crypto users fall victim to crypto scams, which have been responsible for the loss of $1 billion since 2021.
This is where Tendayi’s BitFlex comes in. In December 2021, BitFlex partnered with GoodDollar, a project created to facilitate the financial revolution through crypto and promote universal basic income (UBI) in Africa.
“What we are doing with GoodDollar is using crypto to support vulnerable communities by leveraging decentralized finance (DeFi). The onboarding process is a 30 minute webinar. Beneficiaries follow a training program on downloading the application, transferring money and collecting in local currency.“
Create support with DeFi
How do people in vulnerable communities use DeFi? This is the question that came to mind when Tendayi spoke about it.
He explained that DeFi is a way to continuously generate funds when BitFlex or GooDollar receives a donation. BitFlex uses Celo’s Layer 1 technology, which means recipients can easily use phone numbers as crypto wallets.
“So if someone gives us like $10,000, there will always be $10,000 left. But we use the proceeds to fund and fund our beneficiaries and our communities.”
Smart contracts automate the process that ensures profits reach the beneficiaries. Smart contracts, like regular contracts, are an agreement between parties; however, they can execute the terms of an agreement without the help of the parties involved.
If a contract indicates that 20 beneficiaries will receive 2% of the DeFi proceeds, the smart contract automatically sends 2% to the beneficiaries.
Interestingly, even the creator of the platform or the contract cannot stop the process.
While generating more money from donations through DeFi could ensure a steady stream of returns, the crypto market is too volatile to ensure continuous returns every time. With crypto, losses will be made at some point.
“We actually use platforms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); these platforms have guaranteed insurance of $375 million.
Even with insurance and regulation, crypto risks are difficult to manage. A good example is a recent crash that saw major crypto companies laying off workers to stay afloat.
However, Tendayi’s solution has so far been able to provide one dollar a day to ten women every day and pay annual school fees for five Zimbabwean children.
But for Tendayi, this is just the beginning, and he will continue to innovate and create new ways for Africans to get the most out of cryptocurrencies.
#Tadii #Tendayi #builds #inclusive #blockchain
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