Robert Steinadler, 2 months ago

Block Inc. and Strike driving Bitcoin adoption in Africa

Africa is one of the places where many blockchain related projects promise to change things for the better. Cardano has entered partnerships in Ethiopia and Tanzania to educate developers and offer blockchain-based solutions in several fields. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is open-source and not driven by a single company unlike Cardano, but there are still players which expect that Bitcoin will make a positive impact on the continent.

What is Gridless and how is Strike trying to improve digital payments in Africa?

Bitcoin mining in Africa

Gridless is a project that is trying to support small communities who are cut off from affordable and reliable electricity. Especially villages in rural areas are fighting multiple problems. Their issues can be solved by running local mini-grids that generate green energy. However, it is still hard to make these mini-grids sustainable. The initial costs for the equipment are high and the demand for electricity is lower since prices are also higher.

This is where Gridless steps in and sustains mini-grids with Bitcoin mining. Green sustainable energy that is only available locally is used to refinance the costs of starting the grid and subsidizing prices for local buyers.

The company is focusing its operations on East Africa and announced yesterday a $2 million investment led by Block Inc and Stillmark. Block is the company run by Twitters Ex-CEO Jack Dorsey who left the social media giant to focus on Bitcoin adoption and spread the use of the world's first internet currency that cannot be controlled by a single entity.

Banking the unbanked

There is a brief discussion going on whether Bitcoin is about banking the unbanked or unbanking those who have access to a bank account. It appears that Strike is positioning itself with the former and has a clear vision to improve the situation in Africa.

In many African countries citizens don’t have access to financial services such as a bank account and that further complicates transactions as well as making them expensive. It was yesterday when the company announced its new “Send Globally” feature that allows Strike users in the U.S. to send money to Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.

Strikes payment platform is built on top of Bitcoin Lightning Network. The second layer technology allows almost instant transactions and is believed to be the best solution to shape Bitcoin into the world's largest monetary network. The idea behind “Send Globally” is that U.S. based users can support their families in their respective home countries without paying high fees or waiting days until everything is settled. It was also yesterday, when Nigeria capped ATM cash withdrawals to a daily limit of $45. Citizens are limited in their options purposefully to push digital payments. Critics believe that Bitcoin is precisely the answer that is needed to such an intrusive decision that hands government the full control over its citizens money and economic lives.

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