Would you like to know what makes cryptocurrency(crypto) so attractive? It is because it is an entirely new asset class! And even more so, its decentralisation is a welcomed truth in the emerging world. Viva crypto viva!
The man named Paul.
Approximately three years ago, I went to buy concrete slabs for my small enterprise when I met Paul. Like many people in the informal trade sector, Paul is an immigrant. He is a native of Mozambique and has been living here for just over five years at the time.
Like many, he lives in a squatter-camp nearby and survives solely on the sales of these slabs. As with many, he is a hard labourer and an avid smiler despite facing meagre prospects on any given day. Life is tough for him, Nuff said!
He asked me to drive him to the bank to open a bank account.
His goal was always to own a bank account. It was the first hurdle towards his more grandiose dream, business financing. But banks had shown disinterest twice before, and it seemed to weigh on him a bit, despite his finesse. But he was willing! And he was visiting a new bank.
I agreed and drove him.
He looked scrambled but confident, basic shirt here, plain shoes there. And no handbag to carry his documents.
He giggled a bit and left the car. I believe he was thrilled at the possibilities of a new bank. That sort of ‘keep trying’ attitude works. It seems like the same attitude that allows crypto to stay afloat despite acts of sabotage.
Peculiarly, I invested in his story. And strangely, I hoped he’d grant me slabs because of my sudden interest and for my petrol. We say nothing for mahala, meaning nothing for free. But out of goodness, I let it be. Suffice it to say; that he came out of the bank defeated. And we left shortly!
My crypto temptation
En route, I felt tempted to raise the subject of cryptocurrency with him. Maybe even introduce the concept of blockchain. I felt he needed to suck it to their faces a bit, them and their collateral mindsets. I was rejected for a business loan once, so trust me, I know his predicament. These days some of my savings are with crypto, and any business loan will come from there. Needless to say, I needed no paperwork to open an account there.
As I drove, I faced an enormous dilemma. One was my excitement about crypto but also my lack of soft skills. It was how I would convey all this to a man in his position. I once raised this conversation in certain circles and got a ‘mxm’ in the end. Defeated, I vowed never to talk of it again. I hoped it would only come up through American media somehow. We love American media here, and we trust it too. I was waiting in vain for an issue of Time magazine with bitcoin on the cover. That would have made my point!
My eventual explosion!
But that could’ve been the last time I met the man. And I could not sustain the innard tension and ultimately spoke. I started citing how crypto is decentralised and without mini-police people guarding his money. I mentioned how hassle-free it was to create an account and get up and running in minutes. I told how money could magically grow, unlike banks’ fixed interest rates. I also warned him of sharks called ‘hackers’ who may try to steal his money. In the end, I got an ‘Ahh’, and that was the end of it.
I swore I would create a special token on the blockchain designed just for these traders—#SlabsCoin.
They would make me rich, and in turn, they’d have more fulfilling lives. But how I’d go about teaching about this matter eluded me; clearly, they’re disinterested. Then it hit me; I would go to America, learn about the technicalities of this new venture, and come back here and preach. I would also need to convey it in alignment with their religions or worldviews. Now that I think of it, I would have to do so many things; I’d die of exhaustion alone. Best to let them be!
The broke won’t be listened to.
I have learned that cryptocurrency is a new currency, and in it is the power to merge people and worlds. But only if there is unison. In the interim, my world(South Africa) is only emerging, and only a handful of people know of this technology, let alone pioneer it. And it is my conviction that America needs to educate us here because we don’t trust each other that much.
Pssh! A broke man is trying to teach another about crypto; yeah, whatever. Let the Kandasamys do it!
Jokes aside, crypto is incredible for emerging markets because access to mainstream banking opportunities is a hassle. Also because emerging markets would most benefit from bull runs. And because now is a perfect time, before they decide to regulate it. Once regulated, it will be as detached from Africa as the UN is. And it will be a tad late to say ‘I told you so’.
It’s all in the culture!
That said, culture drives innovation, and in South Africa, we haven’t rooted ourselves in tech culture yet. That is a negative spiral because, in the end, there is hardly any momentum to maintain excitement about tech. Crypto is cool and all, but we can’t feel its applications yet. Once something is not established in a society, then it’s not urgent. Once all are on board, then and only then is there a shimmer of hope.
If Paul could see how cryptocurrencies would work for his business, from the point of purchase to investment, there would be something. If the demand were there for his company to accept more Bitcoin, then his motivation would have changed. But alas, neither case is true. Our crypto culture is non-existent. It is all about culture!
All that man had in mind was how he was to convey the bad news to his associates. And call it a day.
Sometimes I feel that we are not ready for certain things. And it does not directly imply that we are elementary but that our economy has evolved its unique symmetry.
But as it goes, we keep talking about crypto to those that will listen; that is purpose.
Thanks for reading.
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