Although Botswana citizens are finding it easier to transact Bitcoin with the establishment of Satoshicentre set up by Alakanani Itireleng, a foremost Bitcoin dealer, and a Bitcoin ATM set up in Gaborone, Botswana capital by Express Minds Ltd.
Botswana’s small population has several bitcoin enthusiasts; however, its citizens have to go through hard times to get their wallets funded for Bitcoin transactions chiefly because there are no local cryptocurrency exchanges where crypto enthusiasts can trade Pula (Botswana’s fiat currency) for Bitcoin.
Additionally, the lack of cryptocurrency regulation by the Botswana government and its unwillingness to adopt Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies makes Bitcoin trading in Botswana challenging.
Is Bitcoin Trading In Botswana Illegal?
Bitcoin is not outlawed in Botswana. However, there are no regulations for cryptocurrency dealings. Based on this, the governor of the Bank of Botswana was quoted as saying ‘…it is impossible to transfer Pula into Bitcoin…‘
The declarations of the Botswana Bank’s governor makes it impossible for cryptocurrency exchange platforms to set up a base in Botswana knowing that Banks in Botswana will not provide intermediary financial services for the Botswana populace and cryptocurrency exchanges.
Hence, if you have to transact using Bitcoin, you will have to source Bitcoin via P2P or other informal means.
Encouraging Bitcoin Adoption In Botswana
What if you can pay your medical bills in Botswana using Bitcoin? To encourage the adoption of Bitcoin in Botswana, Dr. Donald Ariisa of Shahdara Clinic, a private hospital in Botswana, has decided to accept payment in Bitcoin, making him the first medical practitioner to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment.
Dr. Donald Ariisa is quoted as saying, ‘Bitcoin and the blockchain technology is new and volatile; as an early adopter, I hope to convince the Botswana populace of its viability.’
An important catalyst for Bitcoin and the blockchain technology adoption in Botswana is the drive for diversification by Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana who was quoted as saying ‘…It is more imperative than ever for Botswana to expand her economy beyond exporting diamonds and metals…’ Thus opening Botswana officially to Bitcoin and blockchain adoption.
Bitcoin Startups In Botswana
The bitcoin price has increased in the last 24 hours by 11% on Amazon’s Crypto Hiring Plans and according to CryptoPredictions.com, the Bitcoin price is forecasted to increase even further to surpass the $100,000 mark by the end of this year. With the high adaptation rate of BTC across the globe, more and more Bitcoin startups are springing up in a drive to see the widespread adoption and possibly force Botswana’s Central Bank to regulate cryptocurrencies.
One such early startup is the Satoshicenter, a blockchain startup established by Alakanani Itireleng in 2014 to provide blockchain services to the Botswana populace.
An offshoot of Satoshicenter is Plaas which aims to help farmers and agric societies manage production, daily activities, and stock through blockchain adoption.
On the other hand, IndieStudio Africa launched Kogboko, a Blockchain financial services provider that aims to provide financial services to Botswana’s unbanked populace, provide funding for individuals and businesses, as well as spread awareness of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in Botswana.
Buying Bitcoin From Botswana’s First Bitcoin ATM
Bitcoin’s price remains unstabilized in Botswana largely due to the lack of cryptocurrency exchange platforms leading to high arbitrage. The installation of a Bitcoin ATM in Gaborone, Botswana, is a welcome development.
However, critics fault the 15% commission charged on bitcoin sales as being on the high side. This is a welcome relief compared with the long, arduous journey to neighboring South Africa or relying on families and friends outside of Botswana for Bitcoin purchases.
Hence, 15% is a relatively small price to pay compared to the cost and danger of traveling or the high handling fees charged for fiat monetary transactions.
Alternative To Buying Bitcoin In Botswana
An alternative way of sourcing for Bitcoin is patronizing crypto exchanges based in South Africa and paying online with a globally accepted credit/debit card not readily available to the Botswana populace.
However, the most popular means of transacting Bitcoin is via Peer-to-Peer mode on various WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms. However, this means of transaction is unregulated with no control of scam activities.
A Silver Lining In The Sky
Botswana populace can buy bitcoin with fiat currencies on several exchanges and P2P platforms like CEX.io, YellowCard, Binance, Coinmama, Kraken, Paxful, LocalBitcoins, OKcoin, and Changelly.
The advent of peer-to-peer and crypto exchange platforms has provided great relief to Botswana’s cryptocurrency enthusiasts and has also catalyzed the widespread adoption of Bitcoin in Botswana.
Will Botswana Ban Bitcoin?
The bank of Botswana is not interested in regulating cryptocurrencies and, it has no intention of banning cryptocurrencies in the country. The central bank governor is likely to follow the trend by providing regulations for cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges in the future. However, it cannot declare a ban on cryptocurrencies and related activities since it does not control the internet.
The Botswana populace continues to push for the widespread adoption and regulation of Bitcoin; this has yielded much dividend with the installation of Bitcoin ATM, the establishment of Satoshi center and other Bitcoin startups, and the proliferation of Bitcoin exchanges and P2P platforms.
Hopefully, Botswana will become one of Africa’s best cryptocurrency haven in the nearest future if it sustains its drive for widespread Bitcoin adoption.