Digital currencies have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with around the world. However, despite the surge in adoption, Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of Bitcoin as peer-to-peer electronic cash is being continually sidelined. Digital currencies have been wrongly accepted as just a ‘safe’ hedge against fiat currency debasement. Speaking at the Africa Tech Festival, Centbee co-founder Lorien Gamaroff delved into how his company is changing this narrative in Africa and beyond.
Gamaroff talked about the Bitcoin basics, including how blocks are mined and how Bitcoin SV was born. Proponents of an ever-changing Bitcoin protocol have continually pointed out that technology must evolve or risk being phased out. However, as Gamaroff explained, the protocol must remain stable if Bitcoin is going to fulfill its role as P2P electronic cash.
“This [stability] is precisely what made the Internet so successful, useful and pervasive today. The Internet depends on a whole number of protocols which govern the rules around how information flows through the networks. These protocols form the foundation of the Internet.”
Gamaroff, whose Johannesburg-based Bitcoin SV wallet has become one of the most popular, went on to talk about how Centbee has made it easy for users to get into Bitcoin and then use it for payments.
The integration of Paymail has been a big factor in simplifying the Centbee wallet for non-tech-savvy users. Paymail allows the user to send and receive Bitcoin via a simple address, similar to email, rather than the complex traditional addresses.
Centbee has made it possible for users to purchase Bitcoin via bank transfers, Gamaroff stated. However, in a continent where close to half the population doesn’t have a bank account, this wasn’t enough. Centbee, through its voucher system, integrated thousands of retailers as onboarding merchants. Its users can now purchase Bitcoin at a local supermarket and receive it in their Centbee wallets.
“These features inside Centbee have made it possible for normal people to access and hold Bitcoin,” he stated.
Gamaroff believes that while accessing Bitcoin is paramount, being able to spend it is just as important.
“Having Bitcoin but not being able to use it defeats the purpose of its existence. Without being able to send or spend Bitcoin, it remains an interesting idea, but with no practical use case. Without being able to spend your cash, there’s no point in having it.”
Centbee has made it possible for its users to spend their Bitcoin on mobile data and airtime, electricity, Uber rides and Uber Eats, music subscriptions, Netflix, gaming services and more.
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