How can bitcoins realistically filter into Africa?


1. If you have an e-commerce store, you can integrate bitcoin payments into your store, like I did for the Minku online store. It seems to be particularly successful for stores that sell electronics.

2. If you are in the hospitality industry, chances are, up to 1% of the international guests walking through your hotel or restaurant door would be able to pay using bitcoin, if you indicated that your business accepts it (there is a bitcoin payment mobile app to facilitate this). They would feel a part of a cool club (one of few that have actually spent their bitcoins in Africa) and if your service is good, they will more likely be repeat customers than clients who pay with conventional means.

3. If you are designing a good app and are scared to monetize, you can ask for bitcoin payments or donations instead. It is a viable alternative to the ‘download app for free’ propositions.

4. If you are a musician that performs internationally, you can make bitcoin payment an option for ticket sales on your web site. You can also work with your record company to sell downloads of your music directly on your web site, in exchange for bitcoins. There are many people eager to discover good, new African music besides Fela, and they would be even more excited to try your music if they can pay for it with bitcoins.

5. If you offer digital or SaaS services like web hosting, online photo editing, web theme libraries, image libraries and so on (and more and more international companies need Africa-centered stock content for their PR and marketing), Bitcoin was originally created with people like you in mind, and you can integrate it as one of your payment options.

You DO need to declare all your bitcoin income and pay taxes on it like any other income.

Kunmi is the founder of Minku, a fine leather goods company that has been listed in Forbes.


4 thoughts on “How can bitcoins realistically filter into Africa?

  1. Hmmmm…interesting read…i like your idealogy, but bitcoin can’t become mainstream in Nigeria any time soon….especially with all the recent drama with Mt Gox. The closest thing to bitcoin in Nigeria was liberty reserve and that was tied to a particular industry -fx trading.
    Even the cashless policy by CBN is taking forever to be accepted in Lagos, Portharcourt and Abuja (I wonder what must be happening in less commercial areas like say, Borno or Jigawa, or Ondo etc). Until internet and electricity become cheap and available in Nigeria, any form of e-based currency will remain stifled. But like I said, your alternative currency idealogy is sound. The execution…well…

  2. I believe the opportunity is bigger than this. The potential market outside the segments that have and use computers is huge. Global/ established businesses like PayPal have no incentives to rethink their models to address this huge market – we can forget about them. That means the opportunity is there for the nimble innovator to disrupt and walk away with the big price – tomorrow’s biggest market.

    As it happens with Movercado ( we have been experimenting with a poor man’s bitcoin – virtual transactions that are free within the eco-system. This includes two-way payments, product purchase across entire value chains, exchanges of vouchers and so on. As a bonus, by allowing BOP entrepreneurs to use virtual money to purchase certain products, we make it easier for them to stock slower-moving products, which increases penetration of health products.

    Here is more on the topic:

    Been at it for a few years in Mozambique and have some fascinating insights already.

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