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The 2018 Year of Cryptocurrency Challenge – Week 7

At the beginning of 2018, I wrote an article outlining a New Year’s resolution that I thought could help boost cryptocurrency adoption and awareness in 2018, as long as enough people were doing it. Last week was the sixth installment of my year of cryptocurrency challenge. With the crypto markets recovering slightly and the industry’s fair share of drama, I was able to have some pretty good conversations.


The cryptocurrency markets began recovering (though they’re still bearish) these past couple of weeks, and panic selling seemed to slow down. However, in most of the interactions I had, I tried to steer the conversation away from price and toward technology and community. Here are some of the highlights.

  1. A friend of mine in the armed forces recently asked me about Bitcoin. A service buddy of his had told him to purchase a little bit of it, and he was impressed by the volatility. However, he wanted to know more about the technology that underpinned the coin itself. I was happy to help explain how mining and blocks worked to him. He picked it up right away, and after I explained what a consensus algo was (proof of work), he started asking all the right questions, like “Are there other consensus algos if it takes so much energy to mine a block on the Bitcoin network?” It was seriously the quickest I’ve ever seen anyone pick up this concept. Maybe he was trolling me and already knew, ah well.
  2. A friend from undergrad heard that I was involved in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space and reached out to me recently. He actually was the first person to introduce me to the concept in passing, but he wasn’t all too impressed in 2011 with the idea or community. However, our recent conversation revolved around cryptocurrencies and their role as the locus of distributed dingpolitik communities. It was fascinating to explore the topic of how communities have built themselves around digital material culture and economics while being (mostly) remote.


I’ve never really cared who Satoshi Nakamoto was. I think that their exodus from the space was the best thing for it. Instead of actually having Satoshi tell us what (s)he would do, we’ve had to speculate. That speculation isn’t really productive or fruitful, so most of us have moved on from even trying. That is a good thing, as it means we get to define the space.

That said, I listened to a podcast recently on which the host and the guest did talk briefly about who they thought Satoshi was. They referenced a Gizmodo article that they had found convincing, and I read it as well. What was wild to me about this was that Dave Kleinman (Gizmodo’s alleged Satoshi) makes a lot of sense, particularly because of the Satoshi fortune having never been sold even when Bitcoin hit $20,000; Kleinman is dead. It will always remain a mystery, I think, and nothing more than a passing thought in my mind.


This week I was actually the recipient of some coins. I’m not sure if this qualifies as satisfying my end of the challenge (though I did tip some users on /r/dogecoin), but it does for my friend who is also participating in this challenge. She tipped me some Dogecoin for helping her figure out what was going on in a Slack workspace. I helped her troubleshoot it and she was generous enough to send me 50 Doge for my efforts.

Have you been participating in the challenge as well? How’s it going? Tell us in the comments or tweet at us.

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SBI Remit is Using the Blockchain to Make Money Transfers Between Japan and Africa

SBI Remit, a Japanese money transfer company, is teaming up with a venture-backed firm to use its new treasury management service that uses the blockchain for increased transparency and liquidity to small and medium-sized businesses operating between Japan and Africa. SBI Remit and BitPesa The service is provided by BitPesa, which has raised $10 million to turn the Bitcoin blockchain into an enterprise payment rail. Normally, consumers moving money from Japan to Africa have to rely on banks and other middlemen to make their transactions, first exchanging yen into U.S. dollars or euros, then into African currencies. BitPesa, on the other hand, uses a combination of the Bitcoin blockchain and other services to create new currency pairs which greatly simplify the process. The partnership follows a path already laid out by BitPesa, and specifically targets cosmetics companies, electronics companies, and the lucrative used car market between Japan and Africa. It enables direct currency pairs between Japanese yen and the fiat currencies of Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Forbes. Generally speaking, by embracing the decentralized nature of the blockchain BitPesa illustrates how useful Bitcoin is for real world applications. Not only does this system permit remittances to be completed in less than an hour — thanks to the blockchain’s fast settlement times — it will also help jump start African commerce with Japan on a larger scale by adding a much-needed layer of trust and transparency, according to Nobuo Ando, SBI Remit director. “Many companies are doing trade with African countries and they are suffering from the high cost and the slow speed and not very precise administration,” said Ando. “So this is the market that we would like to go in, together with Bitpesa.” Moving Funds from Asia to Africa Historically, individuals and businesses conducting trade between Japan and the countries BitPesa serves had to move Japanese yen through multiple correspondent banks. As noted, along the way the yen was frequently converted to more liquid intermediary currencies like the U.S. dollar or the euro, which added lofty fees each step of the way. According to World Bank estimates, the average remittance fees for this process can reach 7%, but the real cost is often much higher. It can also take several days to complete. By removing these correspondent banks and secondary currency exchanges from the process, BitPesa is able to provide similar services almost instantly for less than 3% of the total transaction. To avoid fluctuations in the price of both fiat currency and Bitcoin, Elizabeth Rossiello, BitPesa founder, said her company’s treasury services are designed to insulate their customers from risk on either side: “If it makes sense for us to settle using cryptocurrency or fiat currencies then we do,” Rossiello said. “And in this case, we’re happy that SBI feels the same way, so we’re open to using digital or fiat currencies to settle between us.” Looking ahead, the remittances market in sub-Saharan Africa it is expected to grow 7% this year to $41 billion. Although this number is just a fraction of the worldwide remittance market as a whole, with relatively little competition for African business Rossiello is confident her company can use the lower costs of the Bitcoin blockchain to help catalyze commerce between Africa and the rest of the world. Rossiello, who is among the earliest founders of a Bitcoin company established BitPesa in 2013 when the cryptocurrency was trading between around $100 and $1,000. As of today, Bitcoin is trading at over $6,600. Featured image from Shutterstock. The post SBI Remit is Using the Blockchain to Make Money Transfers Between Japan and Africa appeared first on NewsBTC.

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